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Felinexpress.com Home > Kitten Care > Raising a Blind Kitten

Raising a Blind Kitten

Under normal circumstances, a newborn kitten’s eyes open between the fifth and tenth day of his life. At this stage of life, the eyes are a deep blue and will not take on another color until he reaches the six-eight week old stretch. Tag and Marbles; two kittens were not born under normal circumstances. Their mom a victim of distemper passed on the disease to all her unborn kittens. Out of a litter of seven, Tag and Marbles were the only survivors. They were born without eye sockets. They were poisoned in the womb by the disease and did not develop normally.

My first thought when I saw the both of them centered on how to help them survive. How in the world, could one blind kitten manage in our busy home let alone two kittens? I was about to get a crash course in how resilient these two kittens would turn out to be.

Originally, we set them up in a very small space in the living room. We didn’t wish to cage them as we thought banging their heads against wire would be counter-productive. We used large cardboard boxes at first- but instead of putting them in the box, we sliced the sides off the boxes and made a portable container with no bottom. This allowed the kittens the opportunity to get used to the feel of carpet under their feet and also allowed us to move them from room to room as they grew.

The first time we let down the sides of the box to let them explore their new environment, I remember holding my breath. We had kitty-proofed the entire living room several times and put up a baby gate at the entrance into the rest of the house. Both Tag and Marbles quickly took to their new space easily. Finding the litter pans, the food and the water seemed not to bother them. In a matter of days they were navigating the room, using their incredible senses to find out where they could go safely.

We would stamp our feet before entering the room. The vibration would carry across the floor and the kittens would wait for us to appear. Tag earned his name because from the beginning, once we stamped our foot and entered his space, he would sit in the middle of the room waiting for us. When we came near him, he would snag the bottom of our pants and pull himself up on our shoe. He would sit there and “ride” across the floor in true Tag style.

During the summer as the kittens grew, their greatest pleasure was when a fly would enter the room. I often kept the back doors open in the heat and a stray fly or two always managed to get in. It didn’t live very long for the minute Tag heard the buzzing, he would stop whatever he was doing and stalk that fly. He would leap magnificent heights, snag the fly with his claw and on the journey back down to earth, he would swallow that fly. He was better than a flyswatter.

Tag lived to be seven years old. His sister, Marbles was taken early from us. The distemper had also affected her brain and motor skills and she began to suffer seizures until we decided to put her to sleep. Tag would have lived longer, but one afternoon after a repairman came to our home, Tag got outside. We looked all over for him and found him later in the field. He was gone. We buried him under the walnut tree the vet said his heart just gave out on him. They were both amazing kittens. They brought laughter and love into our home and opened the door for other kittens in the future with special needs.

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