By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Stevie the cat vies for new award, faces health issues

Image:’s Stevie the cat is in the running for “Best Snuggler” in Willamette Week’s 2024 Pet Pageant.
Image:’s Stevie the cat is in the running for “Best Snuggler” in Willamette Week’s 2024 Pet Pageant.

Stevie Ray, the blind McMinnville cat that missed by a whisker being voted America’s Favorite Pet in 2023, is facing two new challenges this year.

First, the friendly orange tabby is in the running for the Best Snuggler award in Willamette Week’s 2024 Portland Pet Pageant, sponsored by the DoveLewis Veterinary Emergency and Speciality Hospital. Supporters can vote for him by going to

Second, Stevie and his owner, Amber Blankenship, are on a journey to improve the cat’s quality of life by repairing injuries he suffered by an abusive person when he was a kitten.

“He’s my baby. I’ll do anything to help him,” she said.

Before Blankenship met Stevie, he had suffered grievous injuries. Blankenship is a foster caregiver for kittens from Homeward Bound Pets and Hazel House,
When he arrived at Homeward Bound, his head and eyes had been damaged by someone who kicked and hit him, she said. His eyes had to be removed.

The injuries also left him with permanent damage to his nose and sinuses, so he cannot breathe normally. His nasal passages are too narrow, leading to constant congestion and dripping mucus.

Still, Blankenship said, the 2-year-old is one of the most loving cats she’s ever met, both to people and to kittens. He gets around the house easily and plays with toys, which he follows using his acute hearing.

He is very calm, as well, she said. She often takes him downtown or to the Brookdale senior living center in his stroller. He purrs happily when he meets new friends.

Blankenship has taken the cat to veterinary specialists, who say he needs specialized surgery to correct his breathing problems.

She is raising money for additional testing and, eventually, surgery to help Stevie. Blood tests, for instance, can cost $850 or more, she said. CT scans — in this case, literal “cat” scans — can run into the thousands.

“I have amazing followers all over who have donated to Stevie’s medical fund,” she said.

Many of them have been following Stevie on Blankenship’s Facebook page since he was in the running for the American’s Favorite Pet contest sponsored by PAWS, the Progressive Animal Welfare Society. He finished a close second.

Donations can be made directly to DoveLewis, which is handling Stevie’s medical care. Donations should be earmarked for Stevie in Blankenship’s name.

The address is DoveLewis, 1945 N.W. Pettygrove St., Portland, OR 97209. For more information about the hospital, call 503-228-7281.

Donations also can be made through PayPal at or Venmo at @blankenamber1.


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