Tale of a blind cat – Bart
Today, I have a treat for you a guest blog by Melanie, about her blind cat Bart. Blind cats are thought to be less adoptable because of their disability. I hope this opens your eyes to new possibilities for blind kitties. If you want to read more on blind kitties, pop in tomorrow as I have a little information for you…
Thank you Melanie for your awesome story.
A few years ago I received a phone call from a lady named Angela who had recently started feeding a colony of feral cats that were living under the wooden deck at Scaramoosh, on Old Main Rd, in Hillcrest. The building was to be demolished, and the cats had to be relocated within a few days. She explained that she had been unable to find another place for the cats to be relocated to, that there were six cats, and that she would pay to have them all spayed / neutered, vaccinated, and furthermore, sponsor their food every month for the next six months.
Five of the cats were trapped and released into my quarantine facilities. The cats were completely wild and could not be handled. Angela said that she thought the sixth cat, although the most difficult to trap, may be blind. She said that it was hard to tell because she had been unable to get close enough to him to see properly, but that from a distance, it seemed there was definitely something wrong with his eyes.
Angela went back everyday for almost a week, several times a day, until she was finally able to trap the last cat. She had immediately thrown a blanket over the trap in order to keep his stress levels down, and drove him straight to my place. We took him to the cage where we had placed the rest of his ‘family’, and opened the trap. When he came out, he quickly began to explore the cage, and it took a minute or two to get a good enough look at him to see that his eye sockets were completely empty.
I lured him back into the trap and relocated him to a puppy pen inside our home, and named him Bart. I was concerned because there was discharge being excreted from his eye sockets and it looked infected.
A visit to the vet, and Bart was back home with antibiotics. All six cats were sterilised, dewormed and vaccinated. The vet explained that she believed Bart had been born blind due to the fact that there were no ligaments evident in the sockets, (infection could cause that kind of damage, but was unlikely to break down ligaments, she said). The vet sent him home with antibiotics to clear up the infection.
Two days later, Bart somehow managed to escape from his enclosure. For two weeks, we searched every part of our small holding, put up ‘missing notices’, contacted all relevant organisations, and still had no sign of him.
Then one Sunday, my child started yelling in excitement as she had spotted him running along the front porch of our house and into the garden. Again I searched everywhere, and couldn’t find him.
Another week passed before my daughter spotted him again in the garden. By this time, a friend had brought me a catch net with an extendible pole, Bart sent me running around a 3.5Ha small holding like I was a headless chicken. He made such a fool of me, that three hours into chasing him all over my property, stalking him, leopard crawling, balancing on paddock fencing and hanging out of trees, he even had me chasing him through two electric fences and onto the neighbours property.
After making me look like a fool in front of my neighbours, he worked his way back to my property.
I was in awe of this cat, and in all of my frustration, (after having been giving the royal run around by a blind cat for hours), I couldn’t help but laugh at the situation. He was truly amazing. It was as though he could anticipate every move I tried to make. All his senses were clearly heightened. Even when moving my hand in absolute silence, in mid air, from left to right, metres away from him, his head would move with my hand from left to right.
Eventually, Bart worked his way into a cluster of trees, and at that moment, my six dogs came charging towards me to investigate. While Bart was distracted by the dogs, I was finally able to get the net over him and catch him.
For the next few weeks, we kept him confined to a bedroom, spoilt him rotten, and gave him guided tours through the house. My family and I were again remarkably impressed with Bart and his ability to navigate the environment. Even if furniture was moved, he would stop walking a few steps before the object, and he would edge closer to it really slowly, sticking one paw ahead of him, feeling slowly from left to right. When he would reach and feel the object, he’d navigate his way around it, investigate for a moment by sniffing and feeling his way around it, and then move along.
A few years down the line, and Bart is now not only part of the furniture, but also a family consisting of several humans, 35 cats, six dogs, and two horses. Everybody who has met Bart has been taken by him, or fallen in love with him completely. He commands respect!! Bart has been of great inspiration to many.
The vet estimated that Bart was five years old when I first took him to see her. That meant that if he was born blind, for five years, this blind cat had been surviving by dodging traffic in Hillcrest town centre. The deck he was living under was part of a pub and night club, with a KFC next door, and surrounded by other commercial business and parking lots. It was, and still is a busy part of town, and the fact that he survived is inspirational.
Bart has gone from hissing and spitting at me, to purring and kissing me. He shares my bed with me, follows me around the house, and is first in line at meal times. He has become very social and is almost always to be found where the people are. He climbs trees, plays in the garden, and even plays with the other cats.
I have dealt with many hundreds of cat welfare cases, and Bart has been one of the most heart warming yet! ￼
(Domestic Animal Rescue)
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