This is Fluffy our blind cat. The problem is that Fluffy does not realise he is blind. He is now ten years old, had an accident when he was two years old and since he has not been able to see. It is difficult to say what happened. The vet said he was hit on the head, perhaps it was a passing car, perhaps he fell from a height in a bad way, but since eight years he has not been able to see.
It is amazing how a blind cat finds his way by smelling or listening. Now and again he might bump into a chair, but not very often, and really only when it is unexpected. At home no problem. As you can see on the photo he is in the garden, outside. We organised a system where he has an expandable dog lead on a harness attached to a pole in the garden, giving him enough space. This is what we thought, but now and again Fluffy has ideas. Perhaps he saw the film “The Great Escape” or it might be just instinct, which is something we humans use when we do not know why.
“Rubbish Mrs. Human” says my chief cat Nera. “Fluffy just wants to go for a walk around, normal for any cat.”
“OK, Nera, point taken. I will carry on if I may.”
“Of course Mrs. Human, but it might be that Tabby and I will assist with a few valuable hints.”
After that small interruption (stop hissing Nera) I will continue. One morning this week Mr. Human went into town and I was left at home with three cats and lunch to prepare. Tabby and Nera were in the garden and Fluffy was indoors. Nera decided see what Fluffy was doing and then I noticed the beginning of a cat fight with some hissing and paw scratching.
“Not true Mrs. Human, we just had a misunderstanding.”
“Nera it did look more like a fight.”
I decided enough was enough and left the kitchen to see what was happening, leaving the window open. Nera and Fluffy seem to have settled their differences and so I returned to the kitchen. It seems that Fluffy was observing and in a moment while I was performing a cooking task, Fluffy seized his chance and went into the big wide world, without his lead attached to the pole.
“Well done Fluffy” said Tabby and Nera, both clapping their paws.
“Just a minute cats, was this all a cunning feline plan?”
“Not really Mrs. Human, but we told Fluffy the best way to go on a walkabout alone was to use the advantage of a distraction.”
Somehow this episode is not going the way I thought it would. Suddenly I realised that it was very quiet at home. Tabby was sleeping on a chair outside, Nera was cleaning her fur, again, but where was Fluffy. I searched the complete apartment, but no Fluffy and then the truth hit me, that while I was busy being distracted by two sly cats, and attending to lunch, Fluffy had taken his chance and embarked on the path to freedom. I quickly made myself on the way and travelled the usual Fluffy escape route. With presence of mind I had taken his lead with me. If I found him I could at least walk back with him. Fluffy does not like being carried which usually results in scratches, torn clothing and a meowing bundle of legs and long fur.
As I approached the small road leading to our area, who should be driving towards me, on his way back from town, but Mr. Human. He stopped the car, looking at me with a puzzled expression. I muttered a few words “Fluffy is on walkabout” and carried on searching. Mr. Human parked the car and joined me. We are well organised. I had my mobile phone and he also had his phone with him.
Suddenly what did I see. Fluffy walking down a near bye path next to our garden. One paw after the other and keeping nicely to the path without a care in the world. I knew that if I called him, he would immediately change direction and run for it (it was not the first time he had escaped). So I stayed calm, although I was not very calm imaging Fluffy laying under a car, falling into the river or being attacked by a dog, and slowly crept up on him. My first reaction was to call Mr. Human on his handy, sorry iPhone, and tell him I have got him.
“Where is he?”
“On the path next to our garden.”
Fluffy changed direction immediately, but he was not really running, just walking faster. I walked alongside of him and as we were approaching our apartment entrance I carefully hooked his lead into his harness, thinking “got him”.
Fluffy was not happy, but there was no escape. He was escorted back to his home. Did he thank me, or meow out of relief. No, not really, he went to his food bowl and afterwards waited in front of the window for another trip into the unknown.
“The next time Fluffy, you have to move a bit faster and don’t go on the normal paths. You will always get caught.”
“Nera is right” said Tabby. “Try crossing the road at the top of the path; much more interesting. There are fields up there with rabbits, very tasty change to the menu plan.”
“Cats, I heard that. Just leave Fluffy alone. He is quite happy at home with his bowl of water and food. Don’t forget, he is blind and does not see as well as you can. Anything could happen.”
“Fluffy are you blind?” asked Tabby and Nera.
“What’s that?” was Fluffy’s answer.
“No, Tabby, Nera please don’t even start to explain.”