It was the 1-year-old kitty’s way of “seeing.” Because his eyes weren’t working.
When his paws felt the soft, cushy blanket, he knew he was in his play space. When he touched the fuzzy towel, he knew he was about to step into his litter box. Feeling the thin, folded bed sheet told him his food and water bowls were inches away.
“The biggest thing with animals with any kind of sensory disability is targeting their other senses,” said Rachel McCarthy, behavior coordinator at CHS’ Pet Wellness and Adoption Center in Waterford. “Different textures meant different things for him so he could adjust to a bigger space and live normally.”
The tuxedo kitty was brought to CHS after being found outside. His eyes were covered in goop and sunken in. And on top of that, he was underweight and missing fur on his back.
At first, Fetty would keep to himself, scrunched up in a corner or in his fabric hidey house. It may have been because he felt sick from an upper respiratory infection. But whatever life he lived before may have scarred him as well.
However, Rachel started to notice something. When she’d come in each morning, toys were scattered across Fetty’s room. She set up a camera to see just what he was up to at night. What a show! Playtime started as soon as everyone left for the evening.
Gradually, Fetty started wanting attention from his new human friends. Of course, it helped that he was finally feeling better, too. CHS’ veterinary team treated him for his fur loss and upper respiratory infection, helped him safely gain weight, and got to work on those eyes.
At first glance, it seemed his eyes would need to be removed. But veterinarians discovered they only needed to operate on part of his eye. In fact, he seemed to gain some sight after the surgery.
His personality shined even more. He’d climb into people’s laps and would play during the day. He’d still need a special home that would help him “see” in other ways, and soon, he found that with a past CHS adopter.
Fetty’s new dad says he still loves to play at night after snuggling under a blanket during the day. And while he might not be able to see completely, he knows he’s home where he belongs.