I’m sorry, but this is another post that connects our cats and my research interests

So it turns out that Tako is blind. We knew something wasn’t right, as sometimes she wouldn’t respond to toys waved in front of her nose, and she would come tearing around the corner in the bedroom and run right into the legs of one of the dressers with the cutest little [thump] sound.

Since we are doting cat owners, we got an appointment at a cat ophthalmologist.  Yes, they exist, and yes, that’s what the professor salaries are for. Carrie wound up having to go by herself because I was in a meeting. The vet looked over Tako’s eyes and then let Carrie peer into her eyes. She (Tako, not Carrie) has something called “retinal death” — as in, there are not a lot of blood vessels in her retina, which makes it more shiny and reflective. Cats usually have reflective eyes in the camera but in this picture you can see there’s a lot more reflection than usual:

Tako's eyes reflecting back at the camera





















Either it’s genetic or she got a virus from her mother in the womb.

The amazing thing is that we imagined she could be farsighted but we never imagined she was blind, and she’s been blind the whole time we’ve had her and we didn’t even know it.  The vet told Carrie that this is normal and sometimes their human companions go a long time without realizing their cats are blind. As for what you do with a blind cat, his advice was pretty simple:

–> touch them a lot and talk to them a lot because (duh) they can’t see you

–> don’t move furniture around a lot

–> also blind cats tend to be more snuggly (oh, no!)

That’s it. He finished with the whole “she can lead a full life” schtick, which is hilarious since that appears to the part of the standard disability announcement speech.

Carrie was a little sad at first, but I have to say my own reaction was more being impressed. And now we understand the explanation for some behaviours we’d been seeing.

Between Galaxie’s extra toes, Tako’s blindness, my v0cal cord paralysis and Carrie’s diabetes, our household is living what Tobin Siebers called “human variety” in Disabiility Theory. Except it’s “the human and feline variety.”

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