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Sprite: Blind Kitty Living the Good Life

They wanted to euthanize him as a kitten because he’s blind. Today he played in 2 feet of snow.

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They wanted to euthanize him as a kitten because he’s blind. Today he played in 2 feet of snow.

That title line introduced an album of 31 photographs of Reddit user raella’s sightless cat Sprite, who will turn 3 this June.  Sprite’s photos, uploaded yesterday,  inspired a conversation that brought out details of his history and how well he has adapted to his condition, along with a discussion on differently abled pets. The photo of the happy cat playing in the snow speaks volumes about Sprite and why he deserved to live.

Raella, who works in a veterinary ER as an animal nurse and formerly worked at a shelter, shared the following in comments at Reddit:

He was born in a feral colony and was taken to my hospital as a kitten with severe symptoms from the herpes virus. It’s not uncommon for kittens to produce so much infectious eye secretion that their eye(s) seal shut. Everything can build up until the eye ruptures. In Sprite’s case, we received him with both eyes severely damaged and hanging outside their sockets. Sorry for the graphic mental image!

Sprite was actually a patient at the shelter/hospital I used to work at. When a rescue organization found out he’d lose his eyesight, they opted for euthanasia because he’d be ‘too hard’ of an adoption.

He’s really like any other cat most of the time! Just bumps into things here and there.

I attach bells to his toys. If I throw a toy into a pile of toys, he will also pick out the right toy.

He catches house flies and once I saw him go after a tiny fruit fly. I still cannot process how he heard something that tiny!! Not only can they hear higher-pitched sounds, but it also says they can locate the source of a sound within three inches when they are one yard away. That’s how a blind cat can catch a fly. Kitty superpowers.

He memorizes everything and loves to constantly investigate his surroundings. He remembers how high/low objects are. When in an unknown area, and placed on an object, he takes a long time to jump down because he can’t figure out how high he is. He reaches out with his paws and ‘taps’ the air to see what’s in front of him.

I have to be careful with the water bowl – if I move it a few inches over, he’ll run into it and knock water everywhere.

Sprite’s actually pretty independent, but is also extremely attached to me and thrives on his connection with me. If he’s scared, all I have to do is call him, and his tail pops up and he comes running over. He’s an incredibly responsive cat.

He’s the second animal that I fostered and decided to keep. I’m not allowed to foster anymore

I hope my post has helped spread awareness of how wonderful ‘special needs’ animals can be!

“Shortly after I took him home.”

 

 

“The 4th cat exploded.” Actually, the center cat got shaved.

 

 

See the entire series of photos in the Imgur slideshow here:

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7 comments

  • February 11, 2013 8:35 amPosted 1 year ago
    Bobbi

    When I was a young girl, our house cat managed to get out and was gone for a few days. After we found her, she eventually went blind; we never knew what caused it, but the vet thought someone might have hit her. Anyway, Sugar adjusted to her blindness quite well, and often raced through the house at full speed, in pursuit of the dog. When they stopped running, she loved to give the dog a good swat on the nose! The only time she had a problem was if we moved the furniture; then she’d have to develop a new “map” for herself.

    People thought we were cruel for not having her put to sleep. But she was not in pain, was not suffering in any way, so the cruelty would have been in senselessly ending a happy life.

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      February 11, 2013 11:48 amPosted 1 year ago
      Peggy

      Amen. Live and let live: that’s what we are here for, in my humble opinion!

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      February 12, 2013 1:34 pmPosted 1 year ago
      crabella76

      Agreed. The cruelty would have been not giving the poor cat a chance at a life simply because of a disability. Humans don’t think to put blind people to sleep simply because they can’t see! Give animals the same chance!

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    February 12, 2013 1:15 amPosted 1 year ago
    Joy

    What a beautiful story!

    My Mom had a cat named CJ that went blind. The connection from her eyes to her brain eroded from a genetic issue. When people met her, they were amazed and ALWAYS asked if we were sure the was blind. She climbed the furniture, walked through the house, played with toys, chased flies, and lived a wonderful life. Her favorite thing was to go out on the patio (fenced in, second floor) and lay in the sun. She would bump in to things on occasion, especially if we moved things or brought something new in to the house. But she seemed to love exploring those new things as well, climbing, sniffing, “remapping” is what we called it. She was my Mother’s shadow, always close by. At night when they went to bed, CJ would lay on Mom’s pillow, and put her paw out, and Mom would hold it. They fell asleep like that every night.

    She was a constant reminder that anything is possible, and to never let things get in your way!

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    February 12, 2013 1:42 amPosted 1 year ago
    Julia

    Sprite is such a handsome little guy! I know with humans, they say when you go blind, your other senses take over..must be the same with animals. Sounds like Sprite is intelligent and clever and an especially admirable cat! And he seems to have adjusted so well..maybe you are both still adjusting to one another..but I LOVE your story! Thanks for sharing!

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    February 12, 2013 5:22 amPosted 1 year ago
    Ian

    Hi, This is an old story which I hope you may like. Many years ago I was given a kitten which was part of a litter at a restaurant in London. He was a lovely cat who I named Spud because he played around in the potatoes. When I got him home, I took him to the vet for inoculations and at the same time asked why the cat was getting easily puffed-out and lying down. After an X-ray, the vet, a dour Scot told me “The cat has only one lung and won’t last long. Just leave him with me, and I’ll do the necessary”. I refused and told him to give him back and returned home. Spud continued for years, running around then lying down puffing. It didn’t seem to bother him and he was happy. Oh yes, one more thing – he lived to be 16years old!

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    February 12, 2013 8:33 amPosted 1 year ago
    Annie

    Such a lesson about feral colonies, as well. Can’t imagine how much full-blown herpes infection like that must hurt. Wonderful sweet “ending” for this lucky cat!

    Reply

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