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 I had been such a loving fella when I left and returned scared and withdrawn.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
How old are you?
I just turned one year old! The nice people at the shelter estimated my birthday to be July 16, 2013.
Where did your name come from?
My mom rescued me at a music festival, so she had to name me something music related! My name at the shelter was actually Melody Star (for the Star of Bethlehem, because the music festival was in Bethlehem, PA). Often mom likes to call me Mellie or Moose!
How did you come to your forever home?
Answered by my mom: In August, there is a local yearly festival called Musikfest. While we were there one night last year, we walked passed some teenagers standing by a box. The first time I contained myself and just kept walking. The second time we passed that area, I saw another teenager walking away from them with a kitten sticking out of her purse. That was all I needed to see! I walked over and started talking to the young boy “watching” the box. He said they had found the kittens and were trying to find homes for them (I do commend them, they were trying to help!). There was 1 kitten left, but it was already “promised” to someone. While talking to him, I observed that the kitten was too young to be away from its mother, and that they had a little dish of tuna they were trying to feed them. Then, as one of the girls came over and picked the lone kitten up, I noticed she had what looked to be very infected eyes. Long story short, I was able to convince them to give me the kitten to take to the shelter we volunteer and foster for (The Center for Animal Health and Welfare in Easton, PA) since it really needed medical attention. At this point, I didn’t know what I was getting into and hadn’t even called the shelter to be sure they would accept her, but I knew the kitten needed help.
The next morning, I took the kitten to be evaluated at the shelter and kept her to foster. At that time she weighed 7 ounces. On Melody’s half-birthday- January 16, 2014 we officially became foster failures and signed her adoption papers! Melody was born with Microphthalmia, so her eyes never developed. She was blind from birth. It was recommended that we remove her eyes as not to have a risk of cancer in the future.
Do you live with any fursiblings?
I have two fur brothers: Socks and Sawyer, and two fur sisters: Mona and Eclair. Mom and Dad still foster for the shelter, so there are also always a number of foster kittens or adults for socialization in the house to play with.
What is your favorite thing to do?
I love to play with toys- especially ones that make noise that I can follow easier. I also enjoy when Mom takes me places and I get lots of love and pets from people!
This is a question for your mom: Have you ever had a blind cat before?
No! I’ve seen cats at the shelter that had to have one eye removed or had some scarring, but never one that was completely blind. We were a bit hesitant taking her into foster, but we had read Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper about a blind cat and knew she would be fine.
Did you need to make any special adjustments to your house for her?
Not really. Melody has been with us since she was very tiny, so she grew up with everything how it is. She did go to my sister’s house while we were on vacation and learned the layout of the house in 2 days!
What would you like to tell others about blind cats?
Don’t feel bad for them! I had people tell me when she was little that she should just be put down because she wouldn’t have a good life. Melody was born blind, so she doesn’t know any different. Get to know them and you will find that they are just normal cats- they eat, walk around the house, use their litter box, play, and snuggle (and get into trouble!).
How long did it take for her to heal from her surgery?
Melody has had 3 surgeries so far. The first she was spayed and they removed a portion of her third eyelid on each eye to be sure it wasn’t blocking any vision she might have had. The second was to remove her left eye. The third was to remove her right eye. She recovered from all of them within a few days. The third one she ended up ripping out half of her stitches the night after her surgery so we had to go to the emergency vet and they put staples in.
Does she need any additional help/care?
Melody needs no further surgeries and is a happy and healthy girl!
Is there anything you would like to add about her?
Melody is a great cat, and I feel like she was brought into our lives for a reason. She opens people’s eyes about how normal a “special needs” cat can be. She loves being pet and being social when we have her out, so we are thinking about getting her certified as a therapy cat. I just need to find the time to be able to take her to places on a regular basis! We love that it makes her happy to make others happy and do good for others- both humans and other animals waiting for their forever homes!
Author’s Note: Many thanks to Melody & her mom for answering the questions. Pictures were used with permission. Please visit her on her Facebook page – Melody the Rescue Cat: Love is Blind
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How old is Kazu?
Kazu is appx. 7 month old now ( we guess he was born in Dec.2013)
Where did Kazu’s name come from?
Kazu’s full name is Kazuyoshi. It’s Japanese. it means “Number one beauty”.
How did Kazu come to live with you?
Kazu was found as stray in cold January,about 4 weeks old with his one-eyed- sister & another blind brother, without mama cat.
Good Samaritan took them to vet, and vet contacted to non-kill shelter, Purrfect Pals in Arlington, WA ( north of Seattle). Then they had good care of their deformed eyes. Kazu needed to lose both eyes. Sister needed to lose one eye ( right eye). The shelter volunteer made their facebook page, and Mom saw their page, because Mom always follow facebook page of Purrfect Pals.
We thought they would be adopted very soon because they were so adorable. Even they were brought to an event for cats and met Oskar the blind cat but for some reasons, nobody wanted to adopt them.
Mom & Dad could not attend the event because of work schedule. So we were surprised no one adopted them. After one week from the event, still they were on adoption list. Mom could not forget them and decided to adopt them. One blind boy was adopted by foster mom. So we got Kazu and Nozomi (one eyed girl, Nozomi means Beautiful hope in Japanese)
How many blind or partially blind cats live with you?
Blind is only Kazu. Paritally blind is just Nozomi. But FYI, Juri (long hair tortie)has deformed front leg, so she is 3 and half legged.
What advice would you have for those hesitant to adopt a blind cat?
Basically, blind cats can do most of basic things, finding food & water, using litter box, finding their bed.
It’s not difficult but need to accept the difference between ordinary cats and blind cats. Watch them very carefully and closely. Don’t push them to do completely same as sighted cats. You need to listen to them and know what they can do in their own ways or what they cannot do in any way. Then you can see when & how you should help a blind cat.
Of course, they cannot see, so you must make some sound to get their attention or lead them to something. We tap floor or counter to lead him, use toys making sound. We also use short command/ words that he can understand and memorize. Because he cannot see our hand signs or expression on our face as other cats can do.
And you don’t want to change rules you make or layout of room so easily.
But if you are real cat lover, you will do that unconsciously. If your human family members have some difficulties, you will try to do your best for making their life better and easier naturally. Same as cat family members. Try close eyes and think what you want people to help you.
Did you have to make any special adjustments to the house for them?
No, we didn’t. We already had 6 cats then. They are not blind. But in a way, cat-friendly house.8 litter boxes are everywhere in our house. Human toilet lids are always closed. Interior doors are always left open. Cats must be in 100% indoor. Human foods are in sealed containers or pantry.
Fortunately, our sofa & dining chair are covered with fabric. So Kazu can climb up & down using his claws like cat tower covered with carpet.
Where did your name come from Sir Seymour?
Me name iz just Seymour. >*.*< Momma sez me name wuz Santa before me came to furever home. When me comed to dis new house, momma and daddy just call me Seymour!
Momma:Seymour, sweetie, how about if I type for you so we can just use hoomin English, okay? Seymour: Okay, Momma!
How old are you?
The shelter gave me the birth date of Oct. 1, 2013, so I am almost 10 months old!!!
How did you find your forever home?
I was at the County Building, where the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley (Las Cruces, NM) has a kitty condo for adoptable cats. Momma came there to vote in February and she walked by and saw me and we locked eyes! (well, locked auras or energies or something) Turns out Momma was in the wrong building all together and so it was kismet! She went home, but I was stuck in her heart. She brought Daddy to meet me the next day, then they had to go on a long weekend away. Momma thought about me the whole weekend. Momma told herself if I was still there when she got back, then I was meant to be hers! And I was…and so I am!!!
I read you had a bad upper respiratory infection that caused you to lose your eyes, I am so sorry sweetie.
It’s really okay! I don’t remember having eyes and I don’t miss anything. When Momma and Daddy met me, I still had (blue) stitches in my eyelids but that just made me more adorable to them. I’m very healthy now and have no lasting effects from my early illness!
How long were you at the vets?
Momma doesn’t know. I was fostered with a few of my siblings while I was recovering. Momma was told I came in to the shelter with my mom and 11!!! siblings! Momma doesn’t know what happened to all of us (and didn’t ask on purpose!) but I was with my two sisters at the County Building. One of them had to have one eye of her eyes removed too.
Were you scared?
Me scared? Never! I’m a brave kitty!
Did it take long for you to “map” your home when you got back?
I already was no-eyes when I came to furever home, and it didn’t take me too long to get around here. It’s a big house and I just kept exploring and exploring! Recently, Momma let me go out in the backyard (supervised!) and I LOVED!!!!!!!!!!!!! it! Now, whenever they open the door, I run to it and hope I can go out and explore more. If they don’t let me out, I cry and whine.
Did your sisfur and brofur treat you different?
I was the new cat, so we all had to adjust to each other. I have 2 cat siblings: a sister, Speck, who is 8 years old and a brother Squeekie who is 3. They are both black! I have 2 dog brothers: Gila, a 10 year old Flat Coated retriever and Levi, a 5 year old pug.
What is your favorite thing to do?
I love to chase my sisfur and wrestle wif my cat bruder! I love to play with the soft toys. I love to chase momma around the house! I like to feel the breezes and sniff the air through the windows when they are open.
Did you need any medication while you were recovering?
I’m sure I had meds but I was done with them by the time I came to furever home. Momma did have to get a treatment for a skin fungus I had when she adopted me (I gave it to her too! Ooppsss!!!) but that is all cleared up now.
What would you like to say to people who are hesitant on adopting blind cats?
Why be hesitant?! We are great kitties!!! We are probably less trouble than sighted cats because we don’t see all the high places and want to explore them. (or that is momma’s experience!)
Questions for Miss Rachel: Is this your first blind cat?
Yes. We had a dog who had some pretty serious social and health issues and my old kitty Monty spent the last year and a half with 3 legs, so I have had some challenging pets before. I volunteered for a week at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary more than a decade ago and spent some time in with the kitties who live in the “Incontinental Suite”. They were all special needs; some dragging their back legs, some missing legs, some with neurological issues. They didn’t act differently than other kitties, they just moved differently. They were all eager to socialize and play and they weren’t feeling sorry for themselves. It made me realize they don’t see themselves the same way we do; they only know what they CAN do and they just go on from there. It really opened my eyes to special needs animals.
Did you have to rearrange furniture for him?
He was blind when we got him so no, no rearranging. I do have to be careful about where I leave things, like laundry baskets and such. Also have to be careful where I throw his toys so he doesn’t run into things.
What are a few things you would like to tell people about blind cats?
My experience has been nothing but positive. Seymour has been, in some ways, easier than a sighted cat because he hasn’t been up on everything he can jump on. He’s not discovered countertops yet, which is good. We also think it’s been a little easier introducing him to the other cats. Generally, when cats meet, they stare at each other, which is intimidating. Since he has no eyes and can’t stare at the other cats, our perception is that the other cats are less intimidated by him. Yes, he chases them, but he’s not STARING at them. And when he first got here and was busy exploring the house, they would observe Seymour from up high without him knowing it and that was good too. I had one night when I first adopted him when I thought, “I am crazy to adopt a blind cat!” but seriously, it has been easier to introduce him to the home than any other pet we’ve brought in.
If you DO adopt a blind cat, don’t assume they want noisy toys. Seymour actually prefers the quiet ones. Don’t know why…maybe they’re more challenging. Just like any cat, they have their peculiarities and you just have to learn who they are. The biggest challenge with Seymour is that he loves to chase me around the house and I have to be very careful not to trip on him.
Is there anything you or Sir Seymour would like to add?
I frequently get “Poor baby” or “so sad” comments on Seymour, either on Facebook or when I tell people I have a blind kitty. I would really encourage people to stop thinking of special animals from a sad point of view. If they are born that way, they don’t know any different…they’re just themselves and they don’t look at other animals and think “they’ve got something I don’t”. Even when circumstances happen later in life that change an animal’s situation, they just take it as it comes and accept life as it is *now*, not thinking about how things were before. So when I get a “oh, poor baby” response, I usually tell them “poor nothing! This kitty is a pistol!” If you’re willing to adopt a rescue animal, then also consider adopting a special needs animal. They have enormous hearts, just like a “regular” pet. Be sure you have the financial resources if the animal you’re wanting to adopt has ongoing health issues.
Author’s Note: Many thanks to Sir Seymour & Miss Rachel for answering my questions. Pictures were used with permission. Please visit him on his Facebook page – Seymour the Wonder Cat.
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How old is Jack?
Approximately 10- we’re not sure. The puppy mill didn’t give the shelter that originally saved him any papers.
Where did his name come from?
The rescue, Smaller Paws & Pomeranians, had named him Pedro. It didn’t really fit him! My mom came with me to pick him up from them, and they told us he had a “bad” right eye and possibly was blind in it. My mom came up with Jack after “one eyed jack”. Later we learned he was going completely blind from progressive retinal atrophy.
How did he come to live with you?
Originally he was my foster dog. After 3 days, on my birthday, I decided he was mine forever! Best decision I’ve ever made!
When did they detect the cancer?
I found it in the beginning of November, 2012. Jack was chewing on a treat and his mouth started to bleed. I opened his mouth and found the tumor. He had just had a dental 2 weeks prior and it wasn’t there then!
How long did it take for him to adjust to being blind?
Since he went blind gradually he adjusted over time!
Did you have to make any adjustments to your house for him?
Nope! I carry him down the stairs, but that’s more because I’m paranoid than anything! He jumps on and off of furniture and does everything a sighted dog does!
What does his “work” at Parkers entail?
Jack has a very serious job- at least in his mind! He tastes tests potential new products, sleeps behind the counter, gets love from customers and helps us teach about rescue dogs! His specialty is schooling annoying large breed puppies who try to harass him!
What would you like to tell people about puppy mills?
Puppy mills are terrible places- they treat the dogs inhumanely and they breed with no regard for health or temperament!
He’s won a lot of awards, what are some of the perks with those awards?
He doesn’t really get perks… More that they turn into new Facebook and Instagram fans, which hopefully helps get his word out!
Which one are you two most proud of?
I’m proud that he was featured in a The Huffington Post!
What would you like to say about canine cancer?
Check your pets! When you pet your dogs, make note of any lumps or bumps and get them checked out. Check inside their mouths and ears, too! Beware of what you feed your pets and what chemicals you use on them! Is there anything you or Jack-Jack would like to add?
If you could mention that we sell his motto “suck it, cancer!” Apparel to raise money for other pets with cancer that would be great! It can be purchased at shop.blinddogjack.com.
Author’s Note: Many thanks to Jack’s mom for letting me bombard her with questions about Jack. Pictures were used with permission, you can find him on his facebook page – Blind Dog Jack.
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He received his name from Southern Pines Animal Shelter in Mississippi and it just stuck. I also call him Scrappy (he is!) and Scrapalicious :-).
Did you meet Scraps at the shelter or did you see his picture online first?
I had never met Scraps in person until I picked him up from a transport in Live Oak, Florida. How I ended up adopting him has turned into a funny story between my friends and I. I saw his picture on the SPAS facebook page and they said he had been adopted but returned because he was blind. Due to the cats at SPAS being in a kitty condo all together they had no idea he was blind. I commented on the photo saying how sad it was that he was returned and that if I lived closer I would adopt him. My comment spread like wild fire and people were celebrating me adopting him and a transport was scheduled. I start out telling the story about how I was “railroaded”! LOL. So, there I was driving 13 hours (traffic in Central Florida…ugh) round trip for Scraps.
Was he born blind or did something happen to his eyesight?
My vet says he was born blind. I believe he sees shadows and definitely bright lights as he loves to look into the light.
Is this your first blind cat?
He is my first blind cat, although I have owned cats for years and Scraps is number 3 as I have 2 other cats.
What advice would you have for someone adopting a blind cat?
My advice for adopting a blind cat is DO IT! He is amazing and fearless. Special needs? Absolutely not. He gets along with my other cats and he can hold his own! He actually chases my one sighted cat throughout the house and catches him!
Did you watch is every move when he was first brought to the house?
I did not watch his every move as I knew he would be fine. Animals are so resilient.
How long did it take him to “map” the house?
He walked into things but soon mapped out the house like a pro. He saunters so he isn’t running head first into furniture.
What toys does he like to play with?
He loves balls…balls with bells, soft balls, ping pong balls…all balls. He also loves small stuffed animals. If he can’t find me he will pick up a stuffed animal and walk through the house with it in his mouth crying. I also find the animals and soft balls by the door when I come home. Too cute!
Does he require any additional care?
He requires no additional care at all. He’s a normal cat! He can get up on the vanity in my bathroom…toilet seat to the tank to the counter. He’s amazing! He gets on the table on the patio…feels first with his front paws, jumps up then slowly on the table.
Is there anything else you would like to say about him or adopting blind cats in general?
Animals are so loving but rescue animals are so grateful and they let you know it. I was a bit concerned about Scraps being blind but by the second day I thought…what is MY problem because this cat is perfectly fine! I put him in the litter boxes immediately upon arriving home and he has never not gone in them or missed them. He is brazen and more playful than my sighted cats. He loves to chew on towels so he has his own wash cloth in the bathroom that he removes from the towel rack once he’s on the vanity. I say, if you want to adopt a cat, do it! Whether they are sighted, blind or have 3 legs it doesn’t matter. Scraps is no more work than my other cats.
I was born approximately in August 2010. I am little over three years old now.
Where did your name come from?
Lucy phonetically said in Persian means “spoiled one”. I have a multi-cultural name.
How did you come to your forever home?
It was all magically timed and by fate. My human, Rashe, drove by the shoe box, on the side of a dry desert side road,that the other humans had abandoned me in. Rashe drove by and thought, how odd for there to be a shoe box on the side of the road. She looked in the rear-view mirror and saw a ball of fur, that’s me, jump out of the box. I got afraid when I heard her car drive by, that’s why I jumped out.
She then realized that it was a kitten, me. So, she backed up and stopped the car. I was already running towards the sand dunes. But, she came after me in the sand in her pretty fancy work attire and heeled shows at the same time calling to me,here kitty kitty. I heard her and then, walked towards her. She picked me up and took me back to her car. She put me back in the shoe box and drove to the vet to have me checked out. I fell asleep in the shoebox. I am very calm and quiet on car rides. That’s why I like taking road-trips. We went to the beach one day. You can see pictures of me on the shore of the great Pacific Ocean.
Does your human mom know if you were born blind or if you got bad eye infections that made you blind?
I was diagnosed with cerebellar hypoplasia by an animal eye specialist. That means that the part of my brain that processes input from the visual cortex is damaged. The specialist said that it was most likely damaged while I was a fetus. She said my mother may have been sick or had a fever causing this type of brain damage to her unborn fetus. So, I was actually born blind. But, my retina and visual cortex work fine. Its just my brain that cannot process the data into images. Its like sending a fax to a fax machine but not being able to print it.
Do the other cats in the house treat you different?
My older non-biological brother, Mahboob (meaning “beloved one” in Arabic), who was also found on the side of the highway at about 3 weeks old by my human, doesn’t treat me that much different. He tends to like to play outside more than inside though. Afterall, he IS a boy. In the past, when we had foster kittens in the flat, I would like to play with them more. They seem less of a threat to me. However, my older non-biological sister who was also rescued when she was a tiny kitten on the side of a busy city street, Tiffa (short for Latifa meaning delicate one in Arabic (I think she is anything but)), doesn’t like me at all. She is a very dominant, territorial Queen type. She is like Cleopatra. She prefers to play outside, chase squirrels and stalk mice living in the ground under the bird feeder. She has her own queen-dome and I have mine.
What are you favorite toys to play with?
I love my Valerian filled From The Field Shelby Hemp mouse. We bought it from our best-friends, Oskar and Klaus, in Seattle. I also like candy wrappers and balls of scarp paper.
Where do you like to sleep?
On the bed, almost always.
Did you human mom worry about how you would get around when she realized you were blind?
Yes and No. I was a very good girl and I mapped out everything in my head. I have never ever had out of litter box accident. I know where everything is in the house. Sometimes I do bump into things but very very rarely. It usually happens when I am chasing Mahboob, or he is chasing me.
What would your human mom like to say to people who are hesitant to adopt a blind cat?
My human, Rashe, does not feel that I am any different from other cats. She does have to be aware of certain things like to make sure I am not around if she is using loud kitchen appliances, since the sound kind of scares me, or she will put me in a closed room while she vacuums. She doesn’t re-decorate the house much either. So,she doesn’t move the furniture around much. It takes me about a week to figure out a new place anyway. I am very social and I like other humans when they come over. I just don’t like the sound of things that sound like a cat hissing like plastic bags being moved around. Since, I can’t see, I don’t know if it is a real cat trying to attack me.
Is there anything else either of you would like to add?
No matter, blind or not, all cats have their own unique personality. And all deserve to live in a loving, safe and comfortable environment. Adopting a pet from a shelter or rescuing one is much more rewarding.
Don’t discount the power of bringing a “special” animal into your home and the amazing effect it will have on your life. You do tend to complain less about the little things in life and enjoying living life more fully and with more presence and appreciation.
May I borrow pictures for the article? I will state they were used with permission.
Please send me the link the day you feature her blog so I can feature it on her page.
Anything else you would like to add?
I really can’t think of any. But anyone can email me at any time at meowmau(dot)email(at)gmail(dot)com to get advice or ask me about my experience rescuing and living with a blind kitten. It is very nice of you to do this for these animals. It removes the stigma of owning a “special needs” animal and hopefully more will get adopted. Thanks again.
Author’s Note: Many thanks to Lucy and her mom for answering the interview questions. Pictures were used with permission. You can find Miss Lucy on her facebook page.
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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?
The first full week that he had access to the whole house we watched him very closely. We wanted to make sure that Klaus didn’t start to assert his dominance by growling or biting him. Within about 5 or 6 days, Klaus really became quite affectionate with Oskar and we could trust him fully. By this time Oskar was also so comfortable with the layout of the rooms that he used only the main litter box (shared with Klaus) and could navigate everywhere without hitting the walls. Of course we kept the layout of the place the same, minimized any floor clutter, and kept the inside doors open for consistency. We also elevated the house plants that were on the floor because Oskar took an interest in climbing inside and digging out the dirt (Klaus never bothered the plants).
How did his big brother react? Do you think he could tell there was something different about Oskar?
The first three days that we had Oskar really bothered Klaus. He growled at the door to Oskar’s room, was aggressive towards us, and would not lay with us while we watched TV or while we were in bed (he was with us 99% of the time before). We were worried that we would have to divide our place for a long period of time until they could accept one another (Oskar was actually very happy to have a friend, so it was mainly Klaus’ issue).I think we also tried some special calming scent that was emitted from a diffuser that was supposed to calm cats, but it didn’t seem to do much. After three days of Klaus’ protesting, we began to slowly introduce Oskar by keeping him on our lap for a while and letting Klaus sniff him. Once he realized that we cared for the little guy and he wasn’t going anywhere, he began to tolerate him more and more. He quit batting at him and growling about five days or a week after the adoption (we think that’s very good — we knew Klaus would tolerate him because he was living in a room with other cats and kittens at the shelter where we adopted him from).I am sure Klaus could detect something was a bit off about Oskar. Cats, like most predators, look at facial cues to determine mood, aggressiveness, intent, etc.. I am sure the eyes are critical to this. The cool thing is that despite having no eyes, Oskar can still move the facial muscles around the eyes so you can still read his face. I can tell when he’s squinting, or when his eyes would be big and wide open, for example doing play time.
Do you believe Oskar has a better sense of smell and/or hearing to make up for the lack of seeing?
I don’t think Oskar’s other senses are stronger, but because he relies on them so much, he can utilize them more efficiently. His sense of hearing is vital. His ears are always pointed forward and he moves his head around capturing the stereo sound spectrum.
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?
Advice to anyone adopting a blind cat is as follows. You don’t have to alter your environment too much — a blind cat can adapt very quickly. You will not have to clean up messes either — Oskar never made one mess anywhere and he learned to use a litter box from the first day.Basically, don’t be afraid of the challenge, because the cat will prove to you that he or she can still do all the normal “cat things” despite the missing sense. I would strongly suggest that all blind cats stay indoors, however, unless supervised on a harness.
Does Oskar stay on the ground mostly or does he climb?
Oskar climbs anything and everything! I don’t even remember a time that we had to rescue him from a ledge which he climbed and couldn’t get down from. He is pretty darn brave.
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?
If you are considering adopting an animal, you clearly want to spend time with it. A special needs animal may need a bit of extra care (in Oskar’s case we do wipe off his eye lids a couple of times per day to minimize risk of infection), but that’s a perfect time for you to bond!
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!
Author’s Note: I would like to thank Mick & Bethany for letting me do the very first ever animal article interview and being so patient with me as I got everything together. Congratulations on the award for Oskar and hopefully there will be many more in the future! =^.^=