When the SPCA told Mike and I that the kitten we had decided to adopt was almost completely blind, we were upset. We were worried that she wouldn’t play, and that she wouldn’t find her litter box or her food. I know we have a lot of moving in our future (thanks, med school), and I was concerned a blind kitten wouldn’t be able to figure out each of our new homes.
In his notes, the SPCA vet had speculated that Latte — who was only a month old at the time — was hit by a car. When she was brought in, her nose was bleeding, she had scabs on her legs, but luckily, no bones were broken and her jaw was intact. But what if something else was wrong? What if she had suffered internal bleeding and we’d have to either pay for her treatment or bring her back to the shelter?
After awkwardly discussing what we should do in front of the volunteer, we decided we’d go for it, knowing that we could always bring her back to the SPCA if we really had to. After all, the vet’s notes also said that despite Latte’s serious injuries, she was still purring and affectionate. After the volunteer brought her out, I knew I could have never left her there.
I had done my research about what to do when bringing a kitten home, and multiple websites said to confine her in one room with her litter box, food, and water for a while until she feels comfortable to roam. The sites also advised that you let the kitten slowly come out of the carrier on its own time, since she would likely be skeptical of the new surroundings and not want much to do with us.
Latte apparently had a mission to prove the Internet wrong. I opened up her carrier and she bounded out and jumped up on my lap. After a few minutes of petting, she was over on Mike’s lap, rubbing his face.
She then found her bowl of water, her litter box, and quickly became bored with the office. So we let her roam the apartment, and she did, just like a normal cat. She jumped up on the couch, and after a little coaxing, figured out how to jump down. She spent that evening on the couch, cuddling with us, and figured out how to get on the bed that first night, too.
Latte had more energy in the days to come, and although her sprinting around the apartment did lead to a few collisions, she figured out where all the walls were pretty quickly and only had to rub her nose a few times. She has since gotten up on the kitchen table, navigated her 5-foot-tower, and escaped our apartment and made it down two flights of stairs before I could catch her.
We’ve moved the furniture around and she figures it out within minutes. She has never had a problem with her litter box, and she will play with dangly toys if we drag them across the floor. She also chases mini soccer balls around the apartment by herself, runs around with her bird in her mouth, and finds things you don’t want her to find (like her beloved Q-tips) — just like a normal cat.
And unlike some normal cats, she runs to the door when we get home, sleeps under the covers with us in bed, and rubs my face in the morning when I wake up.
Latte has thrown every worry we had out the window. Blind cats (and all animals with special needs) have a hard time getting adopted, and Latte was surrounded by other “perfect kittens,” but I am so happy we left that day with her — blindness and all.
Many blind cats and kittens just as sweet as Latte need a good home. If you’re looking for more information or want to support a blind cat, I highly recommend Gwen Cooper’s book about her blind cat, Homer, and the work of Blind Cat Rescue.