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I see the world through my heart

senior Blind cat

Last updated January 14th, 2018

“He’s gone blind” I texted my husband, just a week after invasive dental surgery on our 15-year-old CKD cat, Earl Grey.
“That can’t be possible, I saw him climbing on the bridge this morning.”

I observed every step he took, watched every movement closely. Yes, our cat has become blind, overnight. Our beloved Earl Grey is struggling to find his way around the house. He is trying to desperately rediscover every corner, sniffing every inch of surface, treading lightly with each hesitant paw. His slow movement is not just weakness from the surgery or muscle atrophy from his kidney disease. His eyes are dilated black saucers, trying desperately to catch any light, just any at all. His head sways in the general direction of my voice as I try to soothe him with calming words.

At this moment I try to recall if this was a sudden onset or was he like this when he returned home after spending two nights at the vets after his surgery. Were his pupils this dilated and vacant? I can’t recall through my utter devastation. But how was he able to climb up to the bridge?

Our vet confirmed he has high blood pressure and this, coupled with the four-hour long surgery to remove ten teeth and the myriad of drugs administered to keep him alive during his surgery, were all contributing factors to his loss of sight. Having kidney disease did not help his situation either.

In every situation, there is light at the end of the tunnel, albeit for him, a very dark tunnel. We know his mouth is pain-free now as he is wolfing down his food. A huge relief!

My mum asked, “but how will he get by?”

Watching him navigate the stairs very slowly, finding his litter box, drinking from his water bowls, I realize that seeing him losing his eyesight is more heart-breaking for us than it is for him. My favorite words to him were always “my heart belongs to you” and he always responded with a slow blink and microdermabrasion grooming of my face with that sandpaper tongue! Ouch.

Last night while he was quietly sleeping on my chest, I sang like I always do “somewhere over the rainbow” and the sound of the melody jolted him into a rhythmic purr so loud that my husband could hear him from across the room. He then proceeded to groom my face like old times. Yes, he cannot see with his eyes, but his other senses have heightened.

Mostly, I think he’s telling me “I can see you through my heart.”

Senior cat

Earl Grey, our heart and soul, our Lion King

Being blind and extra receptive to sound and touch, he gets extra cuddles, brushings and lots of sweet talk. While I feel sad that he can no longer see his environment he still seeks out the company of his feline friends and humans. At mealtimes, he doesn’t like eating alone and will always want his bowl placed right in the middle of the other cats. As if to say “I’m blind, but still the head of the table.”

My father always called him the lion king when we lived in South Africa with my parents, because he always had a very slow, calculated, confident gait. Today his gait is frail, and while he will probably not be able to oversee his territory from his favorite spot, “pride rock”, in the catio, he will remain our Lion King.

The past two months were filled with many vet visits, shedding of tears, coupled with work stresses so I have been rather quiet in the cat blogosphere. I have recently learned of the many rainbow bridge crossings in the blogosphere arena and it breaks my heart. It’s with great sadness that I read about the passing of Fiona from the Kitties Blue, The Cat on My Head, who lost her battle with CKD. I have enjoyed many Sunday Selfie blog hops here and today we join them once again. It is on their blog where I met Sammy, from One Spoiled Cat who sadly has also left us for the rainbow bridge. I smile through tears as I remember his first comment on this blog introducing himself as a fellow ginger polydactyl kitty. My heart goes out to all these furry friends and others that have passed their time in this life and moved onto the next.

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About the author

The Lady Cat

Whiskers make me smile.
Coffee is good for you.
And cats are for life.
Helping cats live enriched lives with their people.
(Yasaar Nakchbendi)


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  • It’s so hard watching our loved ones age. I am glad Earl Grey is eating comfortably and loving the reassuring sound of your voice. It’s all about quality of life.
    This is a sad week in the cat community.
    Purrs and best wishes,
    Maggie, Mickey Mouser, and Rufus the Red

  • Your Lion King is beautiful. I’m sorry about his eyesight. Even at his age his other senses will take over for him. But I know it hurts to see him like that.

  • Earl Grey is gorgeous. Like you said I think it is worse on us than on them. Our cats always seem to adapt more easily to a given situation. I wouldn’t totally give up on his eyesight returning.

  • We’re sorry to hear about Earl Grey losing his sight. We hear cats can adapt pretty easily to this. We hope Earl Grey does…though we know how difficult it must be to watch.

  • Oh Yas, I’m so sorry to hear this. You have put it to words so beautifully, though, and I know Earl Grey finds comfort in your voice and by just being with you. Hugs and love to you both.

    • Thank you so much, Earl Grey seems to be learning new pathways to get around each day. I’m so glad he has his best friend, old granny cat, Sarabi, by his side all the time.

  • Mistur Earl Grey yur a hansum mankat an a brave one all so.
    Mee iss sendin you POTP an purrayerss……fur you an yur Pawentss…..
    Seein with yur heart; that phrase brott ladyMum to tears. Shee fearss mee will go blind inn mee ‘ouchie’ eye one day….mee finks maybe shee will not bee so scared now.
    With deep reespect, Purrince Siddhartha Henry =^,.^=

    • Thank you so much for dropping by and your kind comment 🙂 What a handsome cat you are Henry and thank you for the purrs and prayers. Earl Grey seems to be coping well with each new day.

  • we are so sad to read this. Cats are resilient creatures, but I know how hard it is to watch them age. My Bobo became deaf in his later years and it broke my heart. He loved me just the same though. It is just so hard. ((((hugs))))

    • Indeed, it’s so hard when they age. I remember reading about your Bobo, I think your first kitty that you ever loved? (Don’t tell Cody! lol) Earl Grey thanks you for the hugs.

  • Oh dear, it will be hard to the gorgeous fellow to teach himself how to get around. However, it certainly is possible he’ll become a pro. We had a cat that turned up on our doorstep, he seemed very desperate to move in and none of the other cats put up any fuss. We should have realised that they didn’t see him as a threat at all. He duly moved in and we found out he was completely blind. He learnt the lay of the land very quickly and could navigate at will. We found that he could also steal food, however poor his eyesight was, his sense of smell was tip top!

  • Handsome Earl Grey DOES see his world now through his heart and with the help of all the love he feels AND hears. Bless him… know we kitties are ever so smart and we can figure out ways around almost any obstacle. I hope Earl Grey continues to adjust to life without sight – he’s a lucky boy to have so much love surrounding him…………

    Hugs, Angel Sammy

    • Oh, Angel Sammy, so pleased to hear from you 🙂 You know, I am slowly finding out about the will and spirit of a kitty who is determined to do something. Earl Grey climbs all the way up the stairs when he wants to sleep on a particular bed or use a particular litter box. Even if it takes him three minutes instead of thirty seconds.

  • Love always finds a way. Thank you so much for sharing Earl Grey with us. I feel like I can close my eyes, hum his song and hear him purr! Hugs from us!!

  • These animals are amazing little creatures. I am sure he will cope well with such loving parents. I find it interesting that all this started after his dental. It was two weeks almost to the day that we lost our sweet 13 year old Poodle, Pippin (see, after having 10 extractions in a dental. I can’t connect anything but I’m still not a happy camper since I found out the pain med they gave him the week following surgery is shown to sometimes cause seizures. Pippin died of seizures. The odd thing is, it had been days since he had any pain meds. Who knows. He’s waiting for us now. Sorry. This is about Earl Gray. He is beautiful and I know, like you say, is adapting with his heart. Big hugs for him.

  • In this week of loss, it is good and comforting to see that your wonderful little Lion King carries on, and with as much heart and love as before. God bless him and God bless those we have lost. purrs ERin

  • We’re so sorry this has happened. WE hate CKD!!! It takes too many. But then, so do so many other things. It’s good dat he’s gettin’ ’round so well still. Sis Lexi didn’t lose her sight, but mommy said never da less, she saw us with her heart and luvved us from there as well. Mommy says, she sees us more clearly when she looks at us from her heart too. She says, those are da eyes dat see all. And when you’re seen thru da heart and luv is granted you, you are indeed special. But…you know dat. 🙂 Big hugs

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Raena

    • Oh CKD please go away! He has now gotten so used to being poked, juiced up twice weekly, and pilled since his diagnosis in May. Thank you, he is a very special boy 🙂

  • What a gorgeous sweetie. And I think you’ve described blindness beautifully. My Lucy is blind, and while she was born that way and has no idea that she is different, I think she also sees with her heart. (And her whiskers and her sense of smell.) If I can help in any way with an adjustment to life with a blind cat, just reach out, okay? I may have a trick or two up my sleeve that might help.

    Jean from Welcome to the Menagerie

    • Thank you so much for those reassuring words. I will definitely reach out for advice. I think I will get him some steps to climb up and down the bed. So far he seems to be figuring out his way, just very slowly.

  • It hurt my heart to red about Earl Grey but I am encouraged he is trying to find his way around. What a wonderful cat he is. I would be a real ‘helicopter’ mom and be hovering over his every paw step but that is not the way to go, as I am sure you will find, He is a great guy!

    The Dash Kitten Crew

    • Thank you 😽 I was so heartbroken about this, but everyday we see he is becoming more brave. This evening we found him on the bridge again – this is a high kitty ramp separating the kitchen from the sitting room. Seems like old grandpa does not want to miss out on anything!

    • Thank you my dear. My lion king is actually doing really well and he will be celebrating his 16 th birthday next month. We are enjoying every minute with him and he still has so much love to give ❤️

  • Congrats on your Nose to Nose nomination! I am honored to be nominated with you! I had a cat go blind under very similar circumstances. She had retina detachment, probably from high blood pressure. She did surprising well. Hope to see you at Blogpaws!

  • Your story has touched my heart & that of my human – I saw tears rolling down her cheek. We hope you & Earl Gray have many sweet moments still to come together where he gives you purrs as you hold him in your lap. Earl is a strong fella and part of that strength is from your love. I have kidney disease, too, & will think of Earl’s strength when days get difficult for me down the road. Hugs to you both & concatulations on having your post chosen as a BlogPaws award finalist.
    Valentine recently posted…Wordless Wednesday: Hop NewbieMy Profile

    • Hello there Valentine, so nice to meet you and glad to know that you can draw some inspiration from Earl’s story and that it touched your heart ❤️ Yes he is a toughie, soon-to-be 16 year old chap and likes to still climb up in high places, despite his diasablity.
      Concatulations on your wonderful nomination for BlogPaws Best cat blog, good luck! Isn’t it exciting?! Loved reading about your rescue story!

  • Your heartfelt words and love for Earl Grey shine through every sentence. It’s heart-wrenching to witness his loss of sight, but you’ve beautifully captured his resilience and ability to adapt. Despite his blindness, he still seeks companionship and asserts his place at the “head of the table.” The bond you share with Earl Grey is evident in the way he responds to your voice and touch, proving that love transcends physical limitations. Your dedication to his well-being, providing extra cuddles and sweet talk, is truly inspiring. Earl Grey may have lost his sight, but he remains your Lion King, ruling over your hearts.
    Aca Baranton recently posted…Are there any essential oils safe for cats?My Profile

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