Two years ago, our latest foster cat was adopted and as we were at the adoption day, we heard about two blind kittens that had been recently rescued and were staying in the vets until they found a foster home. My husband, who is not a big cat lover, said we should take them as we had a spare room and, “what trouble could two blind kittens possibly be”. How wrong and right he was! Louis and Cedric came to live with us that day and our lives changed completely in the best possible way.
We were told that Louis had no sight at all and Cedric had one eye that needed removing straight away while his other had little sight and would also need some work. I’ve had cats all my life and knew about looking after them, but blind cats? I was worried. How would we care for them properly in our villa with three sets of stairs? How could we protect them from getting hurt? I expected shy, scared cats who constantly bumped into things and were going to fall from anything that was slightly off the floor. The truth could not have been further from my first thoughts.
I immediately looked up how to look after blind cats and found two very helpful websites: Blind Cat Rescue and Homer The Blind Cat. I learned that we needed noisy toys for them and that as long as we kept their litter tray and food in the same place, they would manage to play and find things. So noisy toys at hand, we started to socialise them. To my absolute amazement, Louis was not shy and despite having no vision at all, he played and ran and jumped and found his food and litter tray with no difficulties whatsoever. Cedric took a little longer to get used to us, but it wasn’t long before his personality was shining through too.
The first day I let them out of the upstairs room and took them downstairs to explore, I was so nervous. There were so many things for them to bump into and hurt themselves on and I hoped that they wouldn’t discover the stairs. Within a few minutes, they had mapped the space downstairs and were running around, playing and leaping on the furniture. Not once did they bump into anything. I was amazed! The stairs, my greatest worry, turned out to be no issue whatsoever as they ran up and down them with ease.
So, feeling more relaxed about them, they were allowed to have the run of the house with our other foster cats. And from that day on, they were just like our other cats. You almost forget they were blind. My daughter, upon getting cross with Louis climbing into the litter tray when she was cleaning it out, exclaimed that he wasn’t that blind and that he could see what she was doing. We had to point out to her that he had no eyes and couldn’t really get any more blind!
You genuinely would not have known they were blind to watch them. Louis had an amazing knack of being able to play football with a table tennis ball. He would bat it and follow it, but even when it had stopped rolling, he knew exactly where it was and would start the game again. Occasionally, he would get excited when he was running around and lose his mapping and bump into the wall, but you could count the number of times he did that on one hand. Because they relied on their other senses, their hearing was amazing and they always knew when my husband was arriving back from work - they heard the car and were there at the door to greet him every single day. Cedric, the naughtiest of the two, loved to climb up and knock things off window ledges and our bath was never without a bottle or two in the bottom of it. They carried their toys and beds around the house with them. It was always amusing to see Cedric carrying his furry igloo house from room to room. They loved to listen to the birds and the one time one got into the house, Louis chased it around relentlessly until I managed to get the poor thing to fly out of the door.
Louis and Cedric passed away from FIP very recently and the pain of losing those cheeky, naughty, amazing boys will stay with us all for a very long time. But, in time, we will actively look to adopt another blind cat or two. They are supposedly less adoptable, but I really don’t know why. They amazed us every single day with what they could do and what they were like. If you get a chance to adopt one, don’t even hesitate for a split second. You won’t regret it!
If you can help save a life by fostering or adopting, or have any questions about the process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
With thanks to Vikki Hawkins (mum to Louis and Cedric).