Isabelle is a blind cat living in the single wide trailer.
She can be found curled up in one of the cat beds spread over the platform provided by the tops of the cages, or popping her head out of the large, shallow wooden box on top of a shelving unit one step down from the cage-top.
She appears to be peeking out of the box, surveying her surroundings, but if you look closely as she turns her attention to different things around her, she’s focusing with her nose, not with her eyes.
The only notice she paid my camera flash was the sound it made…
The article on Living with a Blind Cat from Know Your Cat describes how blind cats relay on “scent, memory and spatial orientation to navigate. As long as the environment is constant they have little problem with that, but changes to their known environment confuses and upsets them.”
Hence Isabelle’s relatively limited area of operation. She always knows where to find her big comfortable box, a soft cat bed, food, water, litter box.
She’s a sweet cat and likes to be softed. A slow approach giving her time for a good sniff of fingers, a gentle stroke and she’s soon leaning into the hand and purring.
An article on Living with a Disabled Cat by Sarah Hartwell notes that “Interestingly, other cats are often more tolerant of blind cats (which may collide with them) than they are of sighted cats.” This seems to be the case for Isabelle, who in turn takes it with good grace when another cat climbs in her box snuggles up close out of the conviction that what she really needs at that moment is a good old cat huddle.
Update July 22, 2010: We’re all very sad to have lost Isabelle today. As Phaedra wrote on Facebook, “Don’t think it was possible to love Isabelle more than her kitty friends but I sure tried, she will be missed by many and loved always. ♥”
And here is the link to a wonderful video she posted of Isabelle and one of her friends: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArWo24R8WK4
And here is a photographic tribute which has been posted near Isabelle’s usual sleeping spot: