Saturday, June 13, 2015

A critter again

A year and a half ago our cat Ashes died.  At the time I was sad about Ashes in particular but glad to not have a pet in general because I had really had enough of being bitten in the middle of the night and being ignored the rest of the time.  However, I don't get to make all the decisions in my household and Wendy and Elli voted to get a new cat.  It wasn't a rush though, and we mostly just sat around waiting for serendipity to drop a cat into our laps.

It has done so.

This critter here is called Louis.  He is in most respects a normal cat, with one notable exception:  He is mostly blind.  When we were told about a friend of a friend who needed to find a new home for her cat we figured it was time to accept the hand fate had dealt us but we were concerned that him being blind would be an issue.  We weren't sure what sort of extra accommodations we would need to make for him.   It is hard enough for cats to get used to new spaces normally, but being unable to see would surely make that ten times worse... or so we thought.

It turns out he settled in better than I would expect for any cat.  He is a gentle, sedate sort of creature and wandered about the place sizing everything up carefully.  Also Louis is so friendly he was rubbing up against us and asking for petting and snuggles virtually immediately.  He bonked into a few things in the process but he has a careful, deliberate way of walking that lets him stop when his whiskers touch something in his way.  Most of the time, anyhow.

I was impressed with how quickly he managed to move about the room so I decided to test the limits of his vision.  It turns out he absolutely can't see most normal things - I aimed a kick ten centimetres from his head and he didn't even twitch.  However, when I turned on a flashlight he was able to follow the light visually so it is clear he can see bright lights to some extent.  Although this is much less useful than full sight it must help a great deal as he can navigate about the place using our lamps as signposts and presumably can tell the difference between the balcony windows and the other walls during the day.

So we ended up with a cat who is slow and gentle, who likes cuddling and petting, but who sometimes sleeps in places he really shouldn't (like in front of doors, which he can't see).  Sounds like pretty much the ideal pet to me.  There will be a bit of extra training to make sure Elli doesn't whack him with a door by accident but other than that Louis is going to fit in as easy as anything.

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