Thursday, September 17, 2009

Billy the Blind Kitty

Most of you have probably noticed that I haven't posted anything on the blog since last week. I apologize to my regulars and I assure everyone that we're fine here. I have, instead, been otherwise occupied with this guy, Billy.

Last week, Billy went blind - spontaneously. The vet cannot figure out the cause but all of the big bad scary things have been ruled out. He's only 2 1/2 years old, in perfect shape - but blind. So.... I've been spending my evenings getting him adapted to his surroundings. As most of you know, the cats that are here were all feral but they've selected us to be their caregivers. Nobody comes inside. But leaving a blind cat to fend for himself outside was not within the realm of my imagination so we brought him into our quarters for a couple of nights... where he was miserable. (Must admit that the feeling was mutual.) So... we took him outside to "his" world and observed. It was tough at the beginning because he was afraid of steps and he kept bumping into things but... he was learning.

We also observed that the other two cats - who had always been bullied by Billy - started babysitting him. As he gained confidence and started going down the steps and wandering around the yard, they didn't let him get very far before they called him to let him know where he was and where the porch was. One of the cats who has always tried to talk his way into our quarters has been sitting right with him and doesn't even try to come inside, even with a wide open door. When I had to be inside for too long one afternoon, Billy had gotten confused, bold or both and had made his way across the street and up to the corner - which he never did when he could see - and by the time that I came out, the other cat - who really hates him - had gone off and gotten him and was bringing him back. Just amazing.

Each evening we've gone on a little field trip around to different parts of the property to let him learn his surroundings again and his babysitting buddies herd him if he gets off track. And he always finds his way back to the front porch to his towel that he likes to lay on. We're now to the point where I can leave him out all day and night and only check on him about four or five times and spend some time with him in the evening. He's playing now, trying to chase the other cats (I don't have the heart to tell him that they're not there...) and generally acting pretty gosh darn normal. I've always loved animals (even though we don't allow any inside the inn to help folks who have allergies) but this just amazes me. All of the neighbors and dog walkers all know not to startle him and everybody's keeping an eye out for him. Just one more reason that we love this town.

Thanks for your patience; I should be back to regular blogging very soon.

Fairbanks House


Kelly said...

That is so sweet. I have two kitties myself and Im a softie for an sweet story like this =)I'll be in FB next weekend, I'll have to walk by your place!

Anonymous said...

That's so nice of you to help him out. Amy says she's never seen a cat come into her place that has spontaniously lost sight without other factors. I am glad you are who you are. Ernest.

Theresa the Innkeeper said...

Yeah, it's puzzling: no high blood pressure, kidney, glaucoma, diabetes, feline leukemia, feline AIDS, no signs of trauma... just blindness. But he enjoyed his field trip to "the park" (back yard) last night and thought that he was hunting a lizard... Maybe he was; it was dark...

Thanks for the kind thoughts.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the most heartwarming animal stories I've ever heard! Billy is one lucky little kitty to have you for his caretaker! I just love how the other two cats have rallied and come to his defense....amazing indeed!!! Please keep us posted on his progress and new adventures.
And thanks to you Theresa for your daily blogs and photos. I so enjoy them, even though I've never been to Amelia Island...although I plan to change that...hopefully very soon!