If Baby were around to ask what the ins-and-outs of having a blind kitty as a member of the family she would tell you this: "Treat a blind cat pretty well the way you would treat a sighted cat." But there are a few things to consider.  I am passing on my experience and observation to all the humans that own blind kitties. 

Let Baby tell it in her own words:

a. Beware of sudden noises.  They can cause extreme fright. If something is dropped, or noisy machinery is working outside, assure me that everything is okay.

b. Make sure you keep my food and water in the same place all the time.

c. Make sure the kitty litter box is easily accessible, and remains in the same place all the time. And of course, make sure that it is kept clean.

d. Give me time to adjust if you change the furniture around. Help me in finding familiar things. And turn the TV on while you are showing me.  That helps me get my bearings.  I would just as soon you never moved anything, but given time, I will adjust.

e. Leave a radio, or the TV on if you go out. Dead silence frightens me. And when you come home again, make sure you greet me by my name. I will be sitting there waiting for you, and will greet you right back with my own unique little meow.  As soon as you get your arms free of whatever is in them, pick me up and love me.

f. Talk to me a lot. I love to hear your voice. It makes me feel safe. I will follow you everywhere, and be your constant companion.  I will welcome company, but I always want to hear your voice amongst theirs.

g. Make sure you do not leave doors to the outside open. And watch the door if company comes.  Sometimes they are careless and do not close doors after them. If I ever got out, I would never find my way back.

                                             

I do not climb or jump onto things that are high or unfamiliar, but if it is something I know, like the footstool, or the bed, I will jump up. But for the most part I stay at ground level. I love to curl up in a box. Small boxes or large Styrofoam meat trays placed around the house in two or three places are my safety zones.

I play, just like a sighted cat, but I cannot run as fast. In fact, I do not run at all. If I try, I bump into walls and furniture. I like toys that make some sort of noise. Favourites of mine are rolled-up tinfoil balls, or tiny Christmas bells, or the stone of an avocado. Bells always scoot away from me, and I lose them under things, so a good idea is to put some dangling toys above one of my boxes, and on them, tie little bells.

One thing that amazes people, who observe, is that I play with the sunbeams that stream in the window on a sunny day. I have heard the humans discussing this phenomenon. How can I “see” to play with sunbeams? Well, I don’t see them. I sense them. I feel them tickling my unusually long whiskers.  Maybe it is because of this that I can sense sunbeams. I love it when the sun shines. I just want to get in the middle of those rays and sleep. It feels SOOOO good.

Another thing that humans think is unusual about me is how I love to try to catch a fly. When I hear one buzz, and sometimes the humans can’t even hear it, I stand up on my hind feet and bat the air. I love to sit in front of the screen door in the summer, and listen for the flies and the bees to play with. It keeps me entertained for ages. And I also get a kick out of listening to the humans’ amazement at my ability to do this.

I rather like being blind. Of course, I’ve never been anything else. But my owner really gives me everything I ask for. One of my favourite things is whipped topping. I am always asking for that, and she always has some for me, in the fridge. I hurry into the kitchen every time I hear the fridge door open, or when I hear the teaspoons rattling in the drawer. I dance a little jig in the middle of the kitchen until I hear the plop of my treat, in my dish.

Oh! I am spoiled. And I love it!  So, my advice to those who are thinking of taking on a blind, or handicapped cat: DO!  Just remember to make a few adjustments to your life.  But in the long run, it's worth it.  Just ask my human, Helen.

 © 2003 Helen Dowd, Canada

You can read how Helen took Baby on (or Helen-Keller as she was first named) here:

Other stories by Helen that you might like to read:

Do Kitties Have Angels?

Finders' Keepers, Losers' Weepers

The Shadow and The Chick

A Cats Prayer

Lead me down all the right paths,
Keep me from fleas, bees, and baths.
Let me in should it storm,
Keep me safe, fed, and warm.

Read more...

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