From guest blogger Pauline Chin:
Mikey is our completely blind cat. He resides in the double-wide, specifically in the basket inside the cage that used to belong to Binx. He originally came in with two green eyes with some vision in one eye. After an eye infection, that eye was removed. He still recalls the layout of the place, knows how to get up and down stairs, navigate the courtyard, and use the litter box. You’ll recognize him as the glossy black kitty with the disoriented walk.
He walks with his head tilted and neck outstretched. This allows him to “feel” surrounding objects better. His whiskers and hair detect slight movements and lowers his chances of bumping into moving objects. For stationary objects, he’ll walk forward until he feels it, then meanders around. Mikey is especially sensitive to touch. Petting time is limited to seconds before he growls, “Enough!”
If he collides into a another cat, both will get startled. If Mikey bumps into a human, he’s liable to use their feet as a scratchpad. We used to have a horizontal scratch board – he even slept on it! As with anything cardboard, it had a short life expectancy. Should Mikey become overwhelmed from too much activity, he’ll curl up on the spot. It can be stressful for him and us to have him sitting next to everyone’s feet. Not everyone is aware of his blindness.
It was decided on Sundays that it was safer to cage him, since we have visitors around. In addition to regular amenities, he gets a plate of moist food and a bed/box to snuggle in. With a full belly, he’s more like to take a nap for 2-3 hours. By the time he wakes up, visiting hours are over, and it‘s safe to release him. Despite his blindness, he knows exactly how to enter a litter box and bury his business afterwards.
In the summertime, Mikey tends to wander outside. He’ll walk the length of the back courtyard and back again – perhaps remembering mornings when he would go for a run with Phaedra. Sometimes he takes a sunbath or curls up in a tight little ball.
The other cats don’t bother him. Now and then he does get lost if the ground is uneven or if there’s several planters in a small space. We’ll just pick him or nudge him out and he’ll be on his way. Mikey can probably feel the temperature changes on his fur and will head back into the trailer when it cools in the evening.
Life is a good thing for him at the Sanctuary. Mikey never has to worry about competing for resources, fleeing from predators, catching illnesses from outdoor animals, or euthanasia for his disability. He’s got many people to look out for him, access to indoor and outdoor life, food and toys brought straight to him, and much love. He’s our lucky black cat!