Injured at close range, Valentine lost an eye but is doing well

By Helin Jung
Updated February 24, 2010 08:30 PM

Valentine was shot at close range. Someone intentionally fired a 5-in. pronged dart through her left eye – and shockingly, the 2-year-old cat survived.

The stray had been walking around her southern New Jersey neighborhood for at least a week before a resident noticed her sitting on a wood pile and called animal control. Dr. Jessica Morrissey was on-call that January Saturday when she first saw Valentine. “It completely shocked me,” Morrissey tells “I actually had to step back for a second and take a deep breath because it was horrible.”

Under New Jersey law, Valentine should have been put down, but she was “too bright, too alert and she was purring.” Morrissey couldn’t put her to sleep.

She took the dart out of Valentine’s eye, which was lost, and did reconstructive surgery two weeks later.

“Valentine let us handle her, she didn’t fight us one bit,” Morrissey says. “She’s doing great. She definitely had a will to live.”

The orange-and-white beauty is feisty and affectionate, though she is still adjusting to her new life. She gets startled easily on the left side due to her vision loss, and “she does have a little bit of an attitude, like a typical female cat.”

Animal rescue group Joa’s Arc has sponsored Valentine, and founder Joyce Moyer is fostering the cat while she recuperates. Though she isn’t yet available for adoption, Gloucester County Animal Services has already received several applications.

“She’s learning to trust people again,” Moyer says. “She needs a special home that’s going to let her come around on her own. Let her be her.”

Moyer is in disbelief that anyone could have shot Valentine on purpose, and the New Jersey SPCA is offering a $500 reward for any information leading to the arrest of the perpetrator.

“Somebody did this, and they know they did this, and they got away with it,” Moyer says. “I want this person to know that we’re looking for them, I want them to know they can’t do it again.”