Introducing Captain Lewis, my blind kitten

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There's a very long story about this kitten's birth which I won't bore you with. But here's the upshot: I have a four week old kitten that's blind. No problems with the eyes -- it seems to be a problem in the brain.

I first noticed something odd when he was three weeks old. When he was in his nursery box or a few steps out of it, no problem. But when he got out of his comfort zone, he would start doing these small, slow circles. Then I realized he was spinning around to reorient himself because he can't see.

I call him Captain Lewis, because he's a brave explorer. He goes out on these "expeditions" where he "maps out" and explores new territory. When he comes to an obstacle, he uses his paws to "see" it. Once he's walked around a new space several times (often stopping to do those circles), then he becomes more confident in that space.

Here he is playing with his brother Clark (get it? Lewis and Clark):


(Sorry for the crap quality -- when they started playing, I just grabbed the nearest camera to capture it.)

Lewis is the darker kitten. You can hardly tell he's blind... that is until the end of the video when Clark runs away and Lewis gets left wondering where he went.

So to anyone who "worries" about disabled pets -- don't worry. The cats, dogs or other pets certainly aren't worried about the disability. They're just getting on with life and living it to the fullest!

We can certainly learn something from them.

Becky
  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    Kudos to you Becky - so many people would abandon that little guy.

    My best pal Schwartz lived to be over 20 years old. He was a cat that was more like a dog as he was "my" cat and he knew it. He was blind for the last three years of his life and it barely slowed him down. He would hear my voice and cock his head to determine where the sound was coming from. He could hear cat food hit his dish 3 rooms away.

    He had the advantage of knowing the house from his sighted years - and as long as I didn't move furniture around, he did just fine. I have a friend who adopted a blind puppy and it's amazing how well animals can adapt.

    They never feel self-pity - they just figure out ways to get where they need to go. Having a companion his age will help him a lot, too.

    kay
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    • Profile picture of the author R Hagel
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      Kudos to you Becky - so many people would abandon that little guy.
      I don't even understand that mentality. If you wouldn't abandon or kill a baby with the same disability, why on earth would you abandon or kill a fur friend? (And yet I know it happens... so sad.)

      That's a great story about Schwartz! I've heard of cases where a cat has gradually gone blind, and the owner didn't even realize he or she was blind until they moved the furniture. Cats and dogs adapt so well.

      Little Lewis will not only have kitty friends, he'll also have a mini poodle to show him the ropes. Already Eddie (the poodle) has taken an interest in making sure Captain Lewis has clean ears. LOL

      Becky
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    • Profile picture of the author sparckyz
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      Kudos to you Becky - so many people would abandon that little guy.

      My best pal Schwartz lived to be over 20 years old. He was a cat that was more like a dog as he was "my" cat and he knew it. He was blind for the last three years of his life and it barely slowed him down. He would hear my voice and cock his head to determine where the sound was coming from. He could hear cat food hit his dish 3 rooms away.

      He had the advantage of knowing the house from his sighted years - and as long as I didn't move furniture around, he did just fine. I have a friend who adopted a blind puppy and it's amazing how well animals can adapt.

      They never feel self-pity - they just figure out ways to get where they need to go. Having a companion his age will help him a lot, too.

      kay
      You didn't just move furniture around for fun now did you? lol
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  • Profile picture of the author Audrey Harvey
    Very cute, Becky. Animals don't sit around feeling sorry for themselves. They just keep on going with what they've got. It's a good attitude to have.
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    • Profile picture of the author R Hagel
      Originally Posted by Audrey Harvey View Post

      Animals don't sit around feeling sorry for themselves.
      Well, I did walk into his room the other day and I caught him with his head in his paws and he was saying, "why me? Oh god, why me? Woe is me..." But other than that he doesn't seem to feel sorry for himself.

      On another note...

      The able-bodied and sighted animals seem to know something isb't quite right with their friends -- and sometimes they'll even help them -- but they never stare at them or rain pity down on 'em. It's not like the other animals in this house are saying, "gee, poor Lewis."


      ***

      Sal -- Blitz is good illustration of one of those fur friends who goes blind so gracefully that the people around him aren't even fully aware that he's blind. I bet your friends didn't know unless you told them.
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    He's really a cute Kitten, Becky.

    I'm one of those people who have had an animal go blind and it took me awhile to realize he could no longer see. Blitz was blind almost the last year of his life - that I know of anyway. I don't think he was fully blind too long before I knew, but we would go out walking everyday as usual and it was only when he tripped a few times that I started even wondering. He was a very happy dog and never changed his love of walking or laying on the couch beside me, or anything else. He just used his nose and ears more.

    Your kittie will be fine as long as everything else is healthy and normal, I'm pretty sure.
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    Blitz was a rottie, Becky - they aren't known for the best eyesight even in their prime. But their noses are incredible and so are their ears. It seems he could almost tell by listening and sniffing where to put his feet. Munchie's eyesight was failing a bit, but it was better than most dogs who reach their 90's

    Not sure what a cat's senses are. I'm sure they use their eyes more than dogs do, but their other senses are strong and will take over for the missing one. I'm thinking when you put her food down she's not gonna have problems finding it. Out in the wild she might have stilted chances - but in a home with someone to feed her and keep her safe from predators she should be quite comfy. Knowing you.........she's gonna get a little more than spoiled rotted, too.
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    Sal
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  • Profile picture of the author R Hagel
    Sal,

    Cats are fairly tactile animals, so they also check things out with their paws. Plus they have those nifty little whiskers that help them out. Even sighted cats use their whiskers to help navigate small spaces, so I have no doubt Cap't Lewis will use his whiskers along with his nose, ears and his little "white cane" paws. (I've already seen him stretching out his paws as he approaches me to "see" exactly where I'm at.)

    Sometimes I think our fur friends also have a "sixth sense" that helps them navigate the world, too.

    And yep... he'll be spoiled rotten, right alongside my other guys.
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  • Profile picture of the author Buddd
    Nice work Becky,

    I have a couple of rescued kittens here myself, they had just opened their eyes when I found them. Had to bottle feed them for a few weeks. Their mother? Unfortunately this is a very rough neighborhood for small domestic animals.

    Kittens status, healthy, happy and currently in the Christmas tree.

    Bud
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    • Profile picture of the author R Hagel
      Bud,

      Originally Posted by Buddd View Post

      Kittens status, healthy, happy and currently in the Christmas tree.
      Kitten status: Happy and healthy.

      Christmas tree status: Not so good. Hope your tree survives the holidays.

      Cheers,
      Becky
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        Actually, I was slow learner. I moved a chair about 3 feet over and that's when I was informed by Schwartz that wasn't acceptable.

        He literally ran into the chair and then stood there and yowled at the top of his lungs until I moved it. I didn't do it again!

        Animals are amazing in their perception when one of their house mates needs attention. Last week Gracie (my sweetheart pit bull) had an upset tummy for a couple days. She had no energy and laid around on the bed - and every time I checked on her at least 2 cats and my other dog were laying very close to her or grooming her. Chicken soup for the soul?
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      • Profile picture of the author ThomM
        Originally Posted by R Hagel View Post

        Bud,



        Kitten status: Happy and healthy.

        Christmas tree status: Not so good. Hope your tree survives the holidays.

        Cheers,
        Becky
        I gave up on Christmas trees when I got my cat
        I just spent close to a grand to save my buddy's life, and would do it again tomorrow if I had to.
        Keep in mind I spent most of my life hating cats.
        I never harmed them though and cats could always tell I would leave them alone. For example, my x-wife has a cat that hates males in fact it's been known to attack any male that entered her house. I was visiting one day and the cat got on the couch and laid down with its head on my lap purring away.
        It's good to hear the little guy is in a house where he will be loved.
        Tell him I said he's lucky to have you Becky.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
    Banned
    (Haha) Awww, he's nice.
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  • Profile picture of the author KimW
    Thom,I'm almost like you, "Keep in mind I spent most of my life hating cats."
    I've never changed my opinion. I wake up in the middle of the night and our cat is standing on the bed stairing at me... I swear its saying "Die dammit,die!"
    But I won't give her that satisfaction.
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    • Profile picture of the author R Hagel
      Thom and Kim, your thoughts on cats made me think of this forward I've received in my email numerous times (forgive me for providing no author acknowledgement, as I've never seen it attributed to anyone)...



      Excerpts from a Dog's Daily Diary

      8:00am Dog food! My favorite thing!
      9:30am A car ride! My favorite thing!
      9:40am walk in the park! My favorite thing!
      10:30am Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
      12:00pm Lunch! My favorite thing!
      1:00pm Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
      3:00pm Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
      5:00pm Milk bones! My favorite thing!
      7:00pm Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
      8:00pm Wow! Watched TV with my master! My favorite thing!
      11:00pm Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!



      Excerpts from a Cat's Daily Diary

      Day 683 of my captivity: My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and myself are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.

      The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape..

      In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the floor. Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am. The audacity!

      There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

      Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs.

      I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released --and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded! The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicating withthe guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. The captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe....... for now.
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      • Profile picture of the author ThomM
        I've seen that before Becky and love it.
        Like I said I used to hate cats. But as my daughter can tell you when I called her in tears to help me bring my Orlando to the vets, that just isn't true anymore.
        I'm sure I was quite a sight, an old biker in tears because his cat was sick
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        As you are I was, as I am you will be
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        • Profile picture of the author R Hagel
          Originally Posted by ThomM View Post

          I'm sure I was quite a sight, an old biker in tears because his cat was sick
          Awwwww....just the thought of it makes my heart smile.

          I hope Orlando was ok?
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          • Profile picture of the author ThomM
            Originally Posted by R Hagel View Post

            Awwwww....just the thought of it makes my heart smile.

            I hope Orlando was ok?
            He's getting better.
            The poor guy almost died on me.
            He had a bladder infection and blocked urethra.
            That caused all sorts of problems including an elevated potassium level.
            The vet said he was a few short hours from dieing.
            The fun thing about this:confused: is I now have to give him a liquid antibiotic twice a day for a week. To get an idea what that is like, go out and find a wild pole cat and try to stick a needless syringe in it's mouth.
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            Life: Nature's way of keeping meat fresh
            Getting old ain't for sissy's
            As you are I was, as I am you will be
            You can't fix stupid, but you can always out smart it.

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  • Profile picture of the author Patrician
    This may seem far-flung but judging from the video the way he 'orientated' (disoriented) seemed to be he might have either something as simple as a 'sub-luxation' that could be corrected by a chiropractor (and they do have them for animals) -- or it could be something as serious as some kind of a tumor.

    Judging from my own experience and since all the organs are connected to the spine, eyes and ears can be affected when the spine is out of alignment.

    If he was 'crowded out' in the womb he may just be 'stuck' in an abnormal position that is causing him not to see -- and the misalignment has now calcified (when you have spinal manipulation breaking this calcification up so that everything flows right (to the various nerves) is what produces the 'cracking' sounds.

    (any injury in the body, it will pour calcium to the area to try to repair it, and if it is in the wrong position it will cement it in that position. - (this is a direct quote from an MD for those skeptical of DCs)

    It might take a few sessions but you never can tell....

    He sure is a cute little guy and I hope he will have a happy life with or without sight.
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  • Profile picture of the author KimW
    Becky, I have never seen that before,thanks!
    In my house the cat may be planning to kill me,but my bird does keep his eyes on him!
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  • Profile picture of the author raradra
    Our runt kitty is blind in one eye and cross eyed with the other. But her hearing and other senses have increased a LOT. She can hear stuff from the other side of the house even. It's really neat. We dont love her any less and I commend you and anyone else who takes the time to love a 'special' pet.
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  • Profile picture of the author dumbwitness
    Winner of the cutest thing today award from me!
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    • Profile picture of the author R Hagel
      Originally Posted by ThomM View Post

      He's getting better.
      Great, glad to hear it! I'm sure it was scary during the crisis, though.


      Originally Posted by Patrician View Post

      This may seem far-flung but judging from the video the way he 'orientated' (disoriented) seemed to be he might have either something as simple as a 'sub-luxation' that could be corrected by a chiropractor (and they do have them for animals) -- or it could be something as serious as some kind of a tumor...
      Thanks for sharing all those possibilities, Pat -- I've never even considered some of them. I'm fascinated by all (I was a bio psychologist in my former life) so it gives me additional avenues to explore.

      He has a vet appt coming up, though it's just a regular vet so I'm not sure if he can tell me too much. Lewis' eyes seem to be just fine. Like when I shine a bright light in them, he blinks (AKA the dazzle reflex). That's supposed to a mid-brain reflex... which my amateur tests would then suggest that the first part of the visual pathways in the brain are good, but it's the back half or problems in the visual cortex.

      We'll see (no pun intended!)...



      Originally Posted by KimW View Post

      Becky, I have never seen that before,thanks!
      In my house the cat may be planning to kill me,but my bird does keep his eyes on him!
      Kim, clearly the bird is a flunky and a tattle-tale!


      Originally Posted by raradra View Post

      Our runt kitty is blind in one eye and cross eyed with the other. But her hearing and other senses have increased a LOT. She can hear stuff from the other side of the house even. It's really neat. We dont love her any less and I commend you and anyone else who takes the time to love a 'special' pet.
      Someone once told me I should volunteer at the Humane Society. My mom overheard this and said "no way!" She knew I'd end up taking home all the animals... lol.



      ***

      Thanks all for your thoughts and comments -- they're much appreciated!

      Becky
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