Meet Oskar, he was born blind.
He was adopted July 2011 at 8 weeks old.
Below is the transcript of my interview with one of his guardians.
Were there any certain changes you had to make when bringing Oskar home for the first time?
We made some changes at home the day we adopted Oskar (he was also taken to the vet for a full checkup before we brought him home to ensure he didn’t get our other cat, Klaus, sick). We created a separate space for Oskar to live in while Klaus was getting accustomed to a new cat in the house (we just had Klaus prior to Oskar’s arrival). The new space consisted of a comfortable bedding area, a separate litter box, toys, food and water bowl, and absolutely nothing else on the floor that Oskar would bump into. We put pillows and blankets along the edges of the wall just in case he ran into things, but that was never an issue.
He began to memorize his new surroundings almost immediately, We also made sure to keep the toilet lid closed at all times, and to leave all interior doors open at the point that Oskar started roaming all over the house (this way he wouldn’t fall in when climbing up on the toilet — he started doing thisal most right away). He was isolated from Klaus for about five days — we fed the cats on the opposite sides of the closed door so they could get used to one another.
Did you watch him like a hawk and try to get things that could be dangerous out of his way beforehand or did you let him explore with minimal supervision?
How did his big brother react? Do you think he could tell there was something different about Oskar?
Do you believe Oskar has a better sense of smell and/or hearing to make up for the lack of seeing?
He can pounce with full accuracy on anything making noise or emitting vibrations, such as when I wiggle my index finger under a blanket. Honestly, I think he has very little disadvantage at all! He also spends time running around the walls jumping as high as he can and feeling for ledges, etc., that he may be able to climb on. At this point he can get up on anything in the house and Klaus has no safe refuge! Oskar can even jump onto the bed or his big cat tree from a full run. It’s truly amazing to watch!
What advice would you give to someone considering adopting a blind cat?
Does Oskar stay on the ground mostly or does he climb?
Does Oskar sleep with you or does he have a special place he sleeps? Does he snuggle like some cats do?
Oskar sleeps in three different places each night. He starts off on the floor next to our bed. He then transfers to the sock-monkey cat bed that’s on the night stand next to the bed (we actually have one on each side of the bed now, my wife found another one of the same pet beds). He will get in the cat bed even if Klaus is already using it. They snuggle up then.
By 4am he’s in bed with us. While Klaus likes to sleep on my chest for part of the night, Oskar chooses the bottom portion by our feet. He does come up by my head by 7am and I have to cuddle and pet him for a while. Although he is not a lap cat like Klaus (yet), he will get there soon. For the past couple of weeks he has been more and more needy and affectionate. He has also become more vocal too. I think he is learning all these things from Klaus.
Any other words of advice for someone adopting a kitten/cat with any type of special need? Or just considering a cat in general?
I suppose the main thing is to give a home to those animals who need it the most. You don’t become cool by buying a $3500 cat or dog from a puppy breeder so you can show it off like a Rolex watch. Hey, we adopted the blind cat nobody wanted and he became an international celebrity — now that’s cool!
Last bit of our advice: cats live a longer and happier life when they are kept indoors. Consider adult animals too — we got Klaus when he was fully grown and he is amazing. I know many people want a kitten or puppy, but you can really see the character of an adult animal and it’s easier to find the right match. Oh yeah, don’t remove the claws — that’s what makes a cat a cat! We also discourage ear cropping or cutting of the tails in dog breeds. Leave nature alone people — you can’t improve on perfection!