Black Cat Appreciation: Meet Dr. Love

Author’s Note: Many thanks to Dr. Love, Rebel, Jake & Tia (mom) for letting me ask questions. Pictures were borrowed with permission. Please visit Dr. Love & family on his facebook page : Dr. Love

 

First may I ask how old you are?
I’m one year old. I was born in May 2014, in St. Petersburg Florida.
Where did your name come from?
The human I rescued last August was one of four admirers petting me (at PetSmart) the day we met. I was being passed from lap to lap. It was a pretty competitive situation! After choosing and going home with my new Mom, it became clear that I was the most affectionate, cuddly kitten she had ever known. By this time, I had already met some family friends, and my abundant cuddles were like medicine to humans. Mom made my name official five days after I rescued her. She named me after the song by KISS!
How did you become a doctor?
I was pretty much born into it. These days, I take continuing education at my home school so I stay current on the latest advances in cuddling.
I read you were rescued and live with Rebel & Jake, how do you all get along?
We love each other very much. They’re loads of fun! Most days, it’s like a zoo at our house. Jake really welcomed me from the first moment. He’s a nurturer and a playmate. Rebel and I do lots of wild playing. Even though she’s a girl, she’s a tough breed and very pure (F2 Savannah), so she keeps me on my toes. That said, Rebel loathes Jake, and Jake uses this to torment her whenever he can, by jumping out at her, etc…
Do you like to be held still?
I love, love, love being held. My favorite is being held like a baby – tummy up. Also it’s fun to be held upright, against a human shoulder, with my paw holding a human’s finger.
Other than running around at night and wrecking things, what else you like to do?
One of my hobbies is hunting bugs. The flying kind are the most challenging, and the most rewarding! Another activity I try to do often is practicing my mouse hunting. We don’t have any real mice, so I hunt toy ones. Often, an unfortunate toy mouse can be found lying in my food bowl after being “killed”!
I read you have a catio, how often are you out there?
I’m out there every day, without fail. I like to look at passing neighbors, and catch any stray lizards, frogs, or bugs foolish enough to invade my precious catio! Rebel is out there even more than I am. She guards it most afternoons.
Do you have any grooming tips for other house panthers?
Every speck of dust shows up on a house panther’s black fur. One thing that helps a lot is having a human run a comb through my coat every two days, especially during shedding season. We use flea combs because they are fine enough to remove a lot of loose hair and lint. Hold one section of fur tight and comb the undercoat, then the outer coat, and move on to the next section. Don’t forget the tail! My whole body takes a couple of minutes, provided I don’t start biting the comb. Comb biting is fun though. Oh, well. 
 
What would you like to say to the people who are cautious of adopting a black cat?
My message to anyone who thinks black cats are beautiful but scary: We black kitties are in no way bad luck. We are gentle, loving, and as a bonus, you can hug us without need for a lint roller! Believe it or not, that’s a MAJOR plus for most working humans. If you want to peek in on how we house panthers interact with the world, check out my Facebook page, and several of my house panther friends’ pages as well.
Do Rebel & Jake want to add anything about themselves?

Jake: I’m two years old and my favorite hobby is a game called “Treat Chase”. That’s where a human tosses treats one at a time and we catch or chase them down. I catch lots of treats right out of the air, with my huge fluffy paws.
Rebel: I’m three and a half, and I am a true athlete. I can jump 6 feet to catch toys and flying insects! I love to wrestle too. Out of the three cats, I am the closest to Mom. I follow her around everywhere — even when she’s cleaning.
 
Do you or your parents have anything to say about you?
Tia (Mom): Dr. Love is my first ever house panther. I couple of years ago, I got to know a close friend’s black kitty and could not get over how silly and warm he was. Then I heard this was common for black cats – a super-fun and affectionate personality. The day I was rescued by Dr. Love, three other people were competing with me. Somehow, I ended up with him, and the rest is history. I’ll finish with one secret almost no one knows about the little doc: he does not meow. He sweetly SQUEAKS!

Extra Love Needed: Meet Odie

How did you come to live with your family?
It was July 2013. All I remember is me curled up, sitting in pain in a tiny garden of an apartment building. It was late at night and very dark. The human lady came was passing by and she saw me. I was in a very bad condition. Both of my eyes were very badly infected. I had fleas all over me. She stopped for a minute, saw that there are siblings and a mother cat in the little garden of that apartment and then walked away.
Next day, the human lady came back to check on me. She realised that my siblings are bigger than me in size, some of them had eye infections, they were playing with each other. The mother cat was in the garden too, lying in one corner. I was still curled up. There were plastic cups around the garden with spoiled food in them and water. She thought that people living in that apartment were trying to take care of us but they were not very successful at it.
She went back home, prepared a cardboard box for me, came back and put me in the box. The mother cat did not mind that. At that moment, the human lady thought maybe I am not one of them, somebody left me there to be taken care of by that mother cat.
She took me to the doctor’s clinic. She was planning to put me back on the street once I recovered and neutered. Stray cats are very common where I live. We had regular visits to the doctor, which I hated and I still hate. Through the doctor’s instructions, she applied all the treatments I needed, unfortunately they could not save my left eye, it was too late; it had to be removed. I have a blurry vision in my right eye. They worked hard to recover it but this is the best it can get.
After all these, the human lady became my human mom because she decided to adopt me, which I am grateful for.
Do you live with any other furry siblings?
Unfortunately no. I do not have any other siblings at home.
What is your favorite thing to do?
Playing with a piece of bread as if it is alive.
Is it hard for you to get around the house having blurry vision?
Not at all. I know the house by heart. When the human mom and dad take me to a new place, it takes only half an hour for me to learn every inch of that new place. But, it is funny, sometimes, during a play with my humans, I got very excited, and I ran like crazy from one room to another as I always do, and if someone accidentally changed the location of the chair on my way, I might bump into it, but I do not mind.
Do you take any medication for it?
No. The doctor said this the best my eye can get.
What would you like to tell people who are scared of adopting a one-eyed cat?
I would tell them that there is nothing to be scared of. We definitely move around like a two-eyed cat.
Two eyes, one-eyed, no eyes; does not matter. Adopting a cat will change your life in a very positive way. You will learn that we are special and each of us have our characteristics. If you are planning to adopt a cat please consider the disabled ones. We do not miss an eye, a leg or a tail, what we miss is love. Our love has no condition and we know yours don’t either.

Extra Love Needed: Meet Matt the Blind Cat

may I ask how old you are? Where did your name come from? How did you come to live with your family? Were you born blind or did you have an accident to cause you to be blind? How long did it take you to learn your new surroundings? Do you live with any other fursiblings? What are your favorite things to do? What advice would you give to other cats like yourself looking for a permanent home? What advise would your humans like to give to those who are worried/concerned/scared about adopting a blind cat? Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself or your humans would like to share about you? Maybe I borrow pictures of you for the article? I will state they were used with permission. I will also link your facebook page. Thank you for your time.

 

I was rescued in Stephenville, Newfoundland. A lady found me huddled in the snow. She called Port Aux Basques and Area Scaredy Cat Rescue, who then got me to a vet. They thought I was approx. 4 months due to my size, but the vet determined I was roughly 8 weeks old at the time based on my teeth. I had pneumonia as well as upper respiratory infection, conjunctivitis etc. My eyes were so infected, they swollen shut. As they healed the vet realized that I had been born with eyes that hadn’t formed properly. My rescuers called me “Matt Murdock” after Daredevil the blind comic book character. After a few months of healing I was adopted by a gentleman in Cornerbrook. Sadly a few month later our house burned down. One of my kitty brothers died. I was then found the next day in the basement of my house soaked and terrified. I had severe smoke inhalation. I then returned to my previous foster home where I spent many months recovering from the trauma of the fire. It took me a long time to recover from that and it broke my foster parents hearts. I had been such a loving fella when I left and returned scared and withdrawn. They then decided I would stay with them forever because it took so long for me to settle in their home again, to send me to yet another would have been hard on me. It doesn’t take me long to map out a room. Usually within one day I have it memorized. I climb the cat trees just like my furry siblings (I have 7 others kitties living in my home), I can navigate just as well up onto the furniture as they do. Sometimes something might be left on the floor like a suitcase, box etc and I just feel it with my whiskers and go around. I spend lots of time on the Victrola greeting people who come visit us. My forever mom and dad run the rescue so we have lots of visitors! Besides lounging I love playing with soft balls…I carry them around in my mouth. MY favorite thing to do is bumming vittles from my humans. My nose is super strong so I can smell all their good food. My advice for other kitties who are blind is just be yourself and let your true self shine. Change may be scary, but when your forever home comes through its the best feeling ever! While the thought of adopting a special needs cat might seem to be a lot to take on, really having Matt has been no different then having any other cat in our home. As long as we’re not moving the furniture around drastically he does quite well. We’ve made small furniture adjustments in the livingroom, and it he mapped it out quite quickly. Feel free to send us anymore questions you may have. Also take whatever pics you need. I’ll be posting more in the next day or so. Thanks so much for sharing Matts story. Hopefully in convinces others to consider adopting a bling kitty. =^.^= Matt, Bob and Kat

Black Cat Appreciation: Meet Obie

Author’s Note: Many thanks to Obie and his humans for letting me interview him. Hopefully this made him feel better as he tried to submit his photo to be published in Catster, but unfortunately did not make the cut. If you want to follow him & his siblings, they have a facebook page called: The Candy-Corn Kittens.  Pictures were used with permission. 
 Obie 3
“May I ask how old you are sir?”
 I was born in 2008, so that makes me 7 years old! I was adopted from a great no-kill rescue called Salem Friends of Felines in Salem, Oregon. I was one of four black kittens rescued, along with our kitty mommy, from behind a pizza restaurant in Salem. All four of us kittens had upper respiratory problems, and we kept making each other sick; whenever one of us would get healthy we would catch it again!
“How did you come to live with your forever family?”
Our humans had lost four cats between January 2007 and May 2008; Tabby was 20, Misty Kitty was 18, Lucky was 17 and Christmas Kitty was 11 (he had cancer.) They had adopted a Lynx-Point Siamese from Salem Friends of Felines in February 2008; her name is Meeshka. And in May they adopted me. When my daddy was a child his neighbors had a black cat named Bulungus, and he always said he was going to have a black cat someday and name it Bulungus. My full name is Obsidian Bulungus; they call me Obie for short.
“How many fursiblings do you have?”
I have seven feline siblings! Meeshka, Mackenzie, Reggie, Phoebe, Zen, Whiskey Pete and Tigger. Mackenzie is the oldest; he’s about fourteen. Reggie and Phoebe are orange and white cats also known as The Candy-Corn Kittens, and they have their own Facebook page. (But all of us appear on the page; they’re very good at sharing!) 
Obie 1
“You are quite handsome sir; would you like to share your grooming techniques?”
Thank you! I pride myself on my handsomeness! And do you know what’s really cool about my fur? At the base, it’s gray! I’m what is known as a Smoke Tabby; if you brush me backwards my fur looks gray. As far as grooming techniques go, I’m a pretty basic fellow; I just use the good old-fashioned tongue. Several of my siblings also help with my grooming, so I manage to stay handsome!
“What do you like to do for fun?”
 I am a pretty active cat! I am an indoor-only cat, as are all my fursiblings, but we have a lot of toys, as well as a big cat castle we can climb and benches at all the windows so we can see outside. My favorite toys are the plastic springs; I whap them all over the house, and I never know which way they are going to bounce! It’s fun! 
“What would you like to say to all the other black cats out there?”
 Being a black cat, I know how difficult it can be to get adopted, and I know all the silly superstitions surrounding us. All I can say is to never give up! There are humans who love us just the way we are, and they are working hard to spread the word that black cats are just the same as all other cats! The only difference between us and other cats is pigment. We give love like other cats, and we deserve love like other cats. So hold your heads up and be brave; the time is coming when we will be appreciated like we deserve!
“Is there anything else you would like to add about yourself or your family?”
 I have a great family. My humans spoil me and my fursiblings, and they work hard so we can live a carefree life! My older brother Mackenzie has diabetes, and gets insulin twice a day, but he’s doing great! Tigger is the newest member of the family; he showed up at the door in the spring with a bad wound on his shoulder, but now he’s healthy, and he’s a troublemaker! Whiskey Pete recently published a book about us, called “The Cats of Shaftesbury Cottage.” It’s available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and as an eBook! 
 Obie 2
Thanks for taking the time to interview me! I’m a really happy cat right now!
Obie

Meet City the Kitty

Author’s Note: I discovered City the Kitty on Instagram and found his facebook page.. not only is an outdoor cat turned indoor but he is a spokescat for the anti-declaw movement. Please follow him and spread the word that declawing is inhumane. Please visit him on his facebook page – City the Kitty , read his bio on his page – City the Kitty (Official) 
Many thanks to his mom Lori for letting me bug her with questions and letting me use pictures with permission. =^..^=
 

City takes his interviews very seriously.
How old are you City?
6 yrs old
Was it hard adjusting to the indoor life?
Yes, but my mom takes me out on daily walks. I get to chase grasshoppers and lizards, stalk birds and just enjoy the outdoors.
Since you’re a polydactyl, do you find it easier to grip things?
I don’t even notice my thumbs since it’s how I was born. They sometimes get in the way when I try to reach in things but mostly they come in handy cleaning myself and catching my feather toys.
City keeps a tight grip on his human’s heart and inspires people to rethink declawing cats
I read you like to model, do you have any tips for other cats or humans trying to take great pictures of their cats?
Well, it takes a lot of patience since I know kitties don’t like to sit still for very long unless we are napping. Get in close and use a high shutter speed to stop the action. Light is important so look for your kitty in good light.
City says never loose your sense of wonder.. or need for mischief
How long did it take for your to adjust to being on a leash when you go outside?
It took me about a day. I realized that when the leash came out, it meant I got to go out. So I embraced it and started my new adventure.
What is the best position to drink from the sink?
The best is when my mom cups her hands, lets the water from the faucet fall into them and then I drink away. She says I’m spoiled. Sometimes if she’s in a hurry she turns the faucet on low and I tilt my head to the side and drink. I also have 3  bowls of water in the house in case I want to drink from those too. Drinking water is very important for a cat especially one like me who is so very active.
Are you able to balance just as well as cats with long tails?
I think I can balance better since my thumbs make up for my tail.
City wants to know if a cat without thumbs look so dramatic?
When did you get involved with the Paw Project and helping spread the word that declawing is cruel?
It started a little less than a year ago when I started hearing about the Paw Project on social media and also from some of my followers like Cassandra.
What suggestions to you have in lieu of declawing?
Lots of different kinds of scratchers and trimming a cat’s nails are the best things. Cat owners can simply take the time to train their kittens and cats to use the scratchers. There are many other options as well, such as clear, sticky strips to apply to the furniture, and other deterrents, as well as a multitude of climbing trees, mats, and other distractions that will protect your possessions. Adequate exercise, especially interactive play sessions, will also help channel the cat’s energy. For aggressive scratching, conscientious nail-trimming or soft vinyl caps for the claws, soft paws, are a good beginning.
City says Love your cat’s claws.. all of them..
What types of complications can cats have due to declawing?
Many cats who have been declawed stop using their litter boxes because of the pain and tend to bite more often because they have lost their primary defense. Pain is a huge factor both short and long term. Many cats are relinquished to shelters because of these issues.
Declawing is considered one of the most painful, routinely-performed surgeries in all of veterinary medicine and yet 30% or more of veterinarians don’t provide any pain medication whatsoever to their declaw patients. Another study showed that declawed cats were still in pain from the surgery at the end of the study, which was 12 days after the operation! Declawed cats can have joint pain, arthritis, lameness, abscesses, and paw pad atrophy which can occur after surgery. In some cases where the veterinarian left part of the bone in the toe, the claw can begin to grow again. However, the claw grows abnormally under the skin and might eventually bust through the skin on top of the paw. In one report that studied cats for only five months after surgery, about 25% of cats developed complications from both declaw and tenectomy surgeries.
 Is there anything your or your girl would like to share? Education is the key in ending declawing. What I’ve found is that many cat owners who declawed their kitties didn’t know that it involved amputating the cat’s toe bones along with the claws. Their veterinarians didn’t tell them how bad it was for the cat. My cause is to help the Paw Project to end declawing in North America like it is in 28 other countries. Anyone interested in joining this important cause, can go to the PawProject.org website and follow me and the Paw Project on our social media sites. It’s such an important part of feline history, so join us and be a part of it! 🙂
City invites everyone to help join the fight to stop declawing

Meet Sneakers the 3 legged Cat

Author’s Note: Many thanks to Sneakers for letting me do the interview. Pictures were used with permission. Please follow him on his Facebook page – Sneakers the 3 Legged Cat 

Just me
 
Where did your name come from?
My name was given to me by my human dad because he thought my colors made me look like a shoe worn back in the ’50’s. My brother lucked out by being named by mom.
How old are you?
I am four and a half years old. We celebrate my birthday on September 1st.
How did you find your forever home?
I was at a shelter when mom came in and saw Jasper and I in the same cage and she decided to get not just one of us but both.
Me & Jasper
Do you and Jasper sleep near each other or do you prefer sleeping alone?
My brother and I sleep together the majority of the time though he does love to stay by mom’s side when he can and I do love the heater vent on the floor. But you will find us huddled together on a blanket or in a chair quite often.
How long did it take you to learn to walk on 3 legs?
It surprisingly didn’t take long at all. I was up and about right away. Didn’t slow me down at all.
Are you still able to jump or do you prefer to be lifted?
I do jump still but I do look for easier ways to get up on higher objects. I don’t jump nearly as high as my brother when we play.
Have you caught the red dot yet?
Hah, the elusive red dot. Still evades me. One day though..I will catch that dot.
Is there anything you, your brother or mom would like to say?
From my brother and I, good luck to those still waiting on a forever home. Hope you find one as loving as mine.
Sneakers the Three Legged Cat

5 Things to Consider before getting a pet

I wanted to try to put a list together of the things that people should consider before committing to a pet. This covers canines/felines/birds/fish & pocket pets (guinea pigs, hamsters, rats, mice, etc).

I broke it down to  6 catergories:  Type, Bug, Room, Funds, Time & Commitment

Type: First and foremost think of the type of pet you want… canine, feline, bird, fish, guinea pig, hamster, mouse, rat, sugar glider, rabbit, ferret, gerbil, lizard, snake, spider, etc. There are many different breeds/species of the above listed pets so you may want to do some research on that.

boo
Boo our resident white cat was adopted and flown from OH to FL

Bug: Bug the heck out of  friends and family – they are going to be the most honest with you about the pros and cons of being a pet parent.  Ask about the amount of time they spend with him/her – grooming, feeding, exercise, vet care, training, etc. Obviously some pets don’t need training, but if they do ask how long it took.

Room: Make sure to consider if you have enough room for them, such that kitten/puppy is cute now, but will they have enough room when they get bigger? There are of course pets that don’t get bigger such as guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, rats, rabbits & ferrets will you have a big enough cage for them to be able to get around? What about taking them outside in a run?  If you rent, what is the pet policy? A lot of apartment complexs/houses have management companies that have restrictions on the type of pet, limit to how many, require pet rent and/or a deposit.

Funds: Next is funds, do you have the money to buy their supplies such as the initial set up for a cage for a small pet, food/water dishes, toys, collar/leash, etc? What about getting food on a regular basis? Training (if needed)?

trixie
Trixie has a severe allergy to fleas she had hot spots that took months to heal

Time: Time do you honestly have the time to commit to a pet? Are you often working long hours? Going on trips? Or are you a homebody?

Commitment: The final thing to consider is are you able to make the commitment to a pet. If your living situation changed are you honestly going to take them with you? Because having a pet is like having a child, you’re their protection, provider of food/shelter & love.

trixbug
Trixie with all her hair grown back and Buggy who is still wary of her. Buggy was adopted a year after Bubby from the human society

A few other things worth mentioning:

Please, please adopt. There are many shelters that are overflowing with pets.. so if you adopt one you are making a difference for that pet.

Black cats are least likely to be adopted because of superstition, they are really wonderful cats so if you are looking please consider taking a black cat.

bubby
Bubby the eldest at 8, solid black was adopted from the Humane Society

Consider taking a blind, deaf, three legged, FIV+, or otherwise “different” pet. They may seem like extra work (and sometimes they are) but they have so much love to give.

Elderly pets need homes too!

And that’s it! Let me know what you think in the comments! 🙂

bitty
Miss Bitty, adopted from the humane society had an auto immune disease and passed away before she turned 4.

Thanks!

 

Meet Cassie Graus

Author’s Note: I had the pleasure of interviewing Cassie Graus, the wonderful talent behind KittyCassandra’s Cat Paintings.  Thank you so much for letting me ask questions and feature your work.
Her websites are as follows:

 
First may I ask when did you start drawing? Was that before or after you had your first cat?
I started drawing as a kid; drawing at friends’ houses was my favorite activity. Even in school I would just draw in my notes to make someone else laugh. I struggle(d) with depression, so it’s really like therapy for me. Art and comedy were the two main ways I could make people happy and connect with them — I’m a people-pleaser but I’m very shy, so art or music was my in. My drawings were usually of animals or whatever class was about that day. I think my mom got the idea to adopt our first cat when I was in third grade because I drew them so much and make books about them when I was really young.
What was it like to be featured on Animal Planets Cats 101?
It was a huge honor that I absolutely lucked out in getting. The production company found me through my Etsy shop. They must have searched for “exotic shorthair” since I made sure to tag my art with that search term. They sent me a message asking if wanted to be featured in a human interest story relating to that breed of cat. So don’t be afraid to put whatever it is you do “out there,” even if you think it’s silly — like my grandfather always told me, “someone’s always watching.”
Where do you get your inspiration?
I am inspired by things that make me happy because I want to make other people happy with my art… my cats… cute things… junk food… pretty colors… (I’m not breaking any intellectual ground here). Also just trying to be original inspires me, trying to paint something no one’s ever painted about before, or in the way that I would paint it. When my convention booth catches someone’s eye and they grabs their friend’s arm, and they walk toward my table, and to make joy happen in someone else, that’s the biggest rush for me.
California Cat
How long does it take a finish a piece?
It takes about 8 hours on average from sketch to finished digital piece, longer if it’s using traditional media (my go-to material is acrylic on canvas), and even more time if it’s a larger piece. My longest pieces are my 36″x48″ HUGE paintings (“Junk Food” and “Picnic at the Park” are two of them), which take me maybe 40 hours over several weekends.
May I ask what you are working on now?
I’m taking a little break from commissions right now — I am working on a series of personal pieces featuring humans being rescued by a squad of tiny kittens, mainly to show more versatility in my portfolio since my dream is to get into professional illustration. I am also excited about developing two graphic novels (one cat-centric and one human-centric), but those require such an up-front investment of planning time that it’s so much more tempting to spend my weekends and evenings on quicker pieces that I can share with everyone immediately after finishing, since it’s not so much about painstaking technique as it is about a joke in the piece. I like when I can make my art like a comic, but without words.
How many cats do you have?
My husband and I have 3 cats. We got them immediately when we got our first apartment after I graduated college, which was the first time we were allowed to have cats where we were living.
Why are you against declawing?
I am against declawing because it is cruel, plain and simple.
8x10" print - Percival's Rare Vase Shop
Percival’s Rare Vase Shop
What alternatives would you suggestion to people who want to declaw their cats?
I would suggest getting into a routine of clipping their claws every 3-4 weeks or so. I like the scissor kind rather than the guillotine kind for greater precision. Choose a time that you know your cat is calm and sleepy. There are also little temporary plastic claw caps to prevent scratching. If you are really having a tough time with it, you can typically bring them to your vet’s office for a trim at not too high of a cost.

Meet Samson the Blind Cat & Company

Author’s Note: This has been revised as the pictures and editing did not show up when it was published. My apologizes.
Many thanks to Samson’s mom for letting me interview her about the furry family. Pictures were used with permission. Please visit the facebook page – Samson the Blind GA cat to follow their story.

How many pets do you have that need extra care?
We have four are blind or partially sighted, one is deaf, one has FIP.  Gracie, a little long-haired tabby, is about ten months now, and was thrown from a car as a kitten.  I found her in the street, injured, with a concussion, and unable to walk.  As a result, one leg is paralyzed.  But she gets around very well.  She can outrun me!
 samson
How many of them are blind?
Sammy, Cricket, and Bones are totally blind.  Stevie has a little sight in his one remaining eye.  He sees as we would if we were looking through a small circle.  He has to move his head to align his field of vision.
May I ask if they were born blind or lost their eyesight due to infections/disease?
All are rescues as adults so we really don’t know the causes.  All the blind ones came from high kill shelters.  Two are black and blind, pretty much a guarantee of euthanasia in a shelter.  Black cats are the last to be adopted.  Black and blind cats stand almost no chance at all.
We had a lovely Siamese named Li who was adopted as an elderly fellow.  He had gone blind from untreated glaucoma, as did another blind senior girl named Abigail.  Li passed away last year, and Abigail about three years ago.  With the others, we really don’t know the causes, except for Stevie.  He was born with Microphthalmia, meaning his eyes were underdeveloped.  One eye was completely blind.  His lashes turned inward and irritated it so badly that we had that eye removed.  It wasn’t even attached to the optic nerve.  He’s much more comfy now.
Samson (Sammy) was born without eyes.  He was caught as a kitten in a feral cat trap in the mountains.  His rear leg had been broken at some point and healed a bit crooked.  At first he was terrified of being off the ground, so we figure he broke it in a fall.  Now he’s probably the bravest of the blind cats and loves to climb and explore.
Do they have full reign of the house or do they stay in one section/room?
They’re allowed all over the house, except in the formal living and dining rooms.  We have a screened porch in the basement with a cat door, and they all love being out there in pretty weather.  The blind ones navigate the stairs with no issues.  Only Cricket, who is the shyest, doesn’t go downstairs.  She can, but she chooses not to.
How long does it take for them to adjust to their new environment, or does it vary with each cat?
When bringing in a blind cat, we start them out in just one room.  For how long depends upon the cat’s personality.  When they seem comfortable and curious about what lies beyond the door, we will let them have access to another room.  It just increases from there as they seem ready.
We have found that cats born blind are pretty much normal cats.  When they go blind, as from glaucoma, it is more of an adjustment.  Those born blind know no other way to be and think nothing of it.  Those that go blind are usually more cautious and take longer to adapt.  Our Earl Grey was born blind and LOVED exploring.  We nicknamed him Houdini.  If there was a way to get outside, he would find it.  Earl knew no fear.  Sadly we lost him from a probable aneurism a couple of years ago.
Can you tell me a bit about the other cats?
Shamrock is a lovely white Maine Coon with stunning green eyes who is totally deaf.  He startles easily, so we’re always careful to let him know we are there by flicking the lights or waving at him.  If he’s asleep, I’ll hold my hand by his nose.  He’ll eventually pick up my scent and wake up without being startled.  I didn’t know he was deaf when we brought him home.  I figured out when he didn’t run from the vacuum that something was up.  Like the blind ones, he can never go outside, but Shammy loves the porch and lying in the sunshine.  He does understand hand gestures.  If I want him to come, since I can’t call him, I gesture for him to come to me.  He usually does.  He is difficult to treat medically – give pills or meds – as you can’t talk to him to soothe him or calm him down.  Blind cats are pretty easy to treat since they can’t see what’s coming!  🙂  Shamrock loves traveling and often accompanies us on vacation.
Shamrock – white with green eyes – Maine Coon – Deaf
1467229_10152113576362701_758265308_n (1)
Cricket – Orange and white – Blind
10269474_10152394549947701_5782808917971802112_n
Grace – Young tabby – paralyzed leg  after being thrown from car
10612935_10152430343317701_1237577502147312469_n
Sammy – black with no eyes
1979761_10152144441002701_1303611588_n
Stevie – grey tabby with one “bluish” eye
1378852_10151756700202701_512835282_n
Bones – Black standing on couch – blind
 Bones (1)
The blind cats really need nothing special.  We provide toys that make noise – bell balls or crinkle balls, and they love furry mice.  The laser pointer does nothing for them.  If I move something in the house, they figure it out.  People often ask if they can find their food or litter box.  Not a problem!  They climb, play, and run just like all cats.  Cricket is the shyest of the blind ones.  She is more cautious about climbing steps or jumping down from a bed.
Can you explain a bit about FeLV, FIP & FIV?
We’ve had many FeLV cats over the years.  That is Feline Leukemia.  There’s a good article here with details: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/feline-leukemia-virus
We’ve had FeLV cats live from 8-10 years but others not even make it a full year.  We’ve lost a few immediately after neutering.  Surgery can cause the FeLV to ‘kick in’ and they crash quickly.  FeLV cats CAN live good, happy lives.  Too many vets recommend euthanizing them immediately.  There are precautions you can take to help them.  Our Bo lived 8 good years, and Nala made if over 10 years.  It’s not necessarily a death sentence.  Avoiding stress, a healthy diet, and giving L-Lysine to boost the immune system are all good things for an FeLV kitty.  A positive result could mean the cat is a carrier only and won’t show symptoms.  One of our vets had an FeLv+ kitty who lived 17 years.
Our Biscuit is positive for FIV.  That is Feline Aids (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus)  https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/feline-immunodeficiency-virus-fiv
Again, not a death sentence.  Positive can also mean he is a carrier and may never show symptoms.  This disease weakens the immune system, so like with FeLV, avoiding stress, a good diet, and supplements help keep them strong.  If another cat is sneezing or sick, I isolate Biscuit from that cat.  He was a Tom living on the streets, but he’s loving life as a pampered indoor boy.  So far, he shows no signs of the disease at all.
FIP is the one I most dread and hate.  There are two forms – dry and wet.  We’ve dealt with both over the years.  While there are some experimental treatments, they are extremely expensive.  There isn’t a diagnostic test for FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) so by the time the cat shows symptoms, the disease is usually in the latter stages.  Sadly it often claims kittens.  Our Luna lived with dry FIP for about five months longer than expected, maybe because we tried the expensive treatment with her.  She hated taking the oral liquid meds, though, and fought so hard against them that we opted to discontinue, plus the cost – hundreds of dollars a month – was too high for us to continue longer.  I hope one day they find a way to diagnose and treat this horrid disease.

What has been the hardest thing about having cats that need extra love & attention?
Nothing hard about it at all!  We love each one so much and are blessed to have them in our family.  The vet bills can mount up with one of the diseases, but there aren’t any drawbacks to having blind and deaf kitties.
What has been the most rewarding thing about the experience?
Just knowing that these cats who would have been euthanized as ‘unacceptable’ now have a happy and loving home.  Rescue kitties know you saved them.  All the rescued blind cats are very attached to us and like nothing more than being close by.
What would you like to say to people who are hesitant to adopt a cat that may need extra love & attention?
To quote Alana Miller, director of Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary  www.blindcatrescue.com, blind cats are just…cats.  The rewards are so great.  With the ones who have FeLV, FIP, and FIV, you have to go in with your eyes open and know the possible outcome.  But if you believe that these animals deserve a chance for a happy life, regardless of length, it’s easy to open your heart to them.  You may be surprised how hard they fight and how long they will be with you.  I can’t imagine living without a blind cat now.  They amaze us daily with all they can do.  For anyone interested, visit Blind Cat Rescue’s website and read a book called Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline’s Tale or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wondercat.  You’ll never think about blind cats the same again.

Meet Cassandra Cat

Author’s Note: I wanted to thank Miss Donna Drury for her patience and letting me borrow the images of her pictures for the article (they were used with permission). This is a correction of the original article as it posted without edits and pictures.
Please check out her beautiful work on the following pages:

My name is Donna Drury, I have two declawed cats who have health problems. I will let my Cassandra tell her story below. I am an artist and I paint her dreams, she needs beauty in her life after what was cruelly and brutally done to against her will.

My name is Cassandra Cat, I have been front declawed nine years ago. My previous owners dumped me into the woods because I started to bite them. My paws have nerve damage and are always numb. I shake them all the time. I wake up from my naps because I hiss and growl in my sleep. I have nightmares all the time, flashbacks of my declawing. A veterinarian who does not declaw cannot examine my paws unless they medicate me, I may have bone fragments in my paws from a botched declaw. The veterinarian said she did not want to put me through medication, X-rays, possible correction surgery because it would traumatize me further. She used to declaw many years ago and stopped. I take herbal medications daily for my mental instability and pain. I will never forget laying on the operating table while each of my toes were being amputated. I heard the snap, and saw my claws on the table next to me. It was the most horrible experience, I cried and cried and no one heard me. I bite my new owner, she cannot pet me. I am extremely heartbroken humans have done this to me. I cannot knead, climb, hunt, and I never purr. Declawing is a major orthopedic operation, it is amputation of the leg bone.


My new sister, Cameo Cat, is also front declawed. Her owners did not want her anymore because she started to develop skin issues, her immune system was compromised with her declaw. She had an infection for months. Her previous owners could not afford the vet bills, so they brought her back to the shelter. She also has ‘horns’ growing from her paws, they are scurs (growth of deformed claw segments).We are fighting hard to make declawing illegal. The Paw Project is our best friend, they are working very hard to educate people regarding the absolute horrors of declawing. Declawing should never have been legal, never. I, Cassandra Cat, will cut through the red tape that is keeping declawing legal with the same surgical instrument that amputated my leg bones. This is a promise.

Please visit The Paw Project FaceBook page and please use a veterinarian who does not declaw cats. If you have dogs only, still do this. Do you want hands that mutilate healthy cats touching your pets? Pets know, they sense what veterinarians are doing, they know. They only want your money and could care less when your cat develops the following…also, all cats hide their pain very well. If she does not look like she is in pain, she is. Amputations have side effects. If you feel your cat is in pain, you may want to have her paws x-rayed to see if there are bone fragments.

MEDICAL COMPLICATIONS FROM THE PAW PROJECT
Reported medical complications after a declaw can include: pain, hemorrhage, laceration of paw pads, swelling, reluctance to bear weight on affected limb, neuropraxia (transient motor paralysis), radial nerve damage, lameness, infection, abscess, tissue necrosis, wound dehiscence, incomplete healing, protrusion of 2nd (middle toe bone) phalanx, claw regrowth, scurs (growth of deformed claw segments), retention of flexor process of third phalanx, chronic draining tracts, self-mutilation, dermatitis, lethargy, palmigrade stance (walking on wrists), chronic intermittent lameness, chronic pain syndrome, flexor tendon contracture, and cystitis (stress-associated bladder inflammation).
Well, I have an ETSY for prints, and I started to paint when I was a child, I used to paint flat rocks with sea scenes on them, and did a lot of paint by number. I grew up near the sea, and it was very inspiring. I did not paint again until about the time my Cassandra cat arrived, nine years ago. I raised a family before that. My mother made sure I always had paint and rocks, everyone wanted one. We would go to the beach and pick out rocks. I did enjoy painting them. I also sew quilts and make soap and woodwork. I cut my own boards for painting. I give my Cassandra cat a lot of credit for the inspirations for my paintings, she gives me the ideas through intuition. The prints here are all 8″x10″. I need to paint more paintings, and then eventually offer prints and paintings. https://www.etsy.com/shop/UntoldCatDreams?ref=si_shop

My Artist FaceBook page. I have been trying to get more paintings done, but, my main focus is to get the word out to everyone regarding declawing. Veterinarians will not explain what declawing is, they offer coupons also, and they sometimes declaw the wrong cat. I have read many stories of vet techs who quit because they cannot stand to hear the cats screaming for hours when they wake up.