The answer is a resounding, yes, but you’ll have to be disciplined and organised judging by the methods employed by Mario who is completely blind and who cares for five cats; four that are his and one outside cat, which I presume is a stray.
On this page, I also take a look at an old Time Life story of a white Persian cat that provided the eyes for a bind lady.
Note: I am indebted to Franny Syufy of About.com for Mario’s story.
Mario is very impressive in his approach to cat caretaking. Thinking through problems and methods to get around his disability is a vital element in overcoming the obstacles to good cat caretaking for a blind person.
“Do my cats know I’m blind? I think not….”
As Mario states, you can’t just pop down to the supermarket in your car to get some cat food when you run out. You have to plan well ahead and keep on top of things. That is the impression I get.
Mario stores all the kit, food and accessories that he requires in his basement and it is all laid out meticulously so that he can always go to each item by feel alone. Nothing changes. The Mario mottos:
“A place for all things and, all things in their place, is not a helpful guideline, it’s a necessity.”
“If the object isn’t where it’s supposed to be, it may as well be on the moon.”
This also applies to litter boxes. They are carefully placed and not moved.
The precision employed by Mario extends to what he does. Routine and method are the bywords:
“Do routine things, routinely. Don’t wait until it becomes a small crisis. Like a doctor doing his rounds, there is a daily set of activities, plan on it.”
He adjusts what he does to suit the individual preferences of his cats. So coping is about extreme organisation with a degree of flexibility. The underlying method or structure remains the same and precise…..
….be extremely organized and methodical
As for budgeting for cat care expenses, Mario should be the Finance Minister of a government as he so precise and realistic. He uses voice recognition software to run a spreadsheet. He inputs with the voice and the program talks back to him. It takes time to learn that he says. He is disciplined.
As for feeding his cats Mario favours wet cat food but uses dry sometimes. An example of how he modifies what sighted people do, he opens the can and places a plate (I presume with a large rim) over the can and then tips them vertically so that the contents of the can falls onto the plate. It is about finding ways to do things accurately with applied methods that are well thought out.
As for cleaning the litter Mario doesn’t tell us his methods but you bet it will be organised. If a cat poops on the floor he will discover it by walking on it! I think he has bar feet so he washes his feet in the nearby sink, places some litter over the poop and waits for it to desiccate before scooping it up with a paint stripping tool. I bet he has a good sense of smell too!
As for transportation to get supplies, Mario has a carefully cultivated group of friends and relatives (good for them) who help him. Once again he is organised. Vet visits are scheduled whenever possible so as not to inconvenience the driver.
As for the vet, the vet comes to him. Well that is a fairly straightforward solution.
As for grooming and play, these are close quarter actions. Grooming is easy because it is tactile and play is based on knowing where things are and using slight modifications such as wearing a thick glove as a “wrestling opponent”.
Mario’s cats rely on smell, taste, sound and touch and so does he in equal measure..plus extreme organisation.
This is a story from 1947 of a white traditional, male, Persian cat (they were all traditional Persians in those days) who provided the sight, like a guide dog, for Carolyn Swanson who was blind.
This is the first time I have been aware of a cat assisting a person in this way. I think it will be the last time too. The cat’s name was Baby. He helped Carolyn cross the street. This is very charming. I have some doubts as to whether Baby was as good as stated in assisting Carolyn.
There is no doubt Baby was a huge help but as for walking down the street and crossing the road I am not so sure.
One thing is does establish beyond doubt is that a blind person can look after a cat and I would go further and say a blind person should look after a cat if they like cats. A cat provides companionship and for a blind person also a structure to their lives, which might be something that is an additional benefit.
- as for the photos, I have published them here on the basis that there will only be financial benefit to the copyright holders if there is any financial impact at all.
- as for Mario’s quotes, these are short and once again there is no downside commercially. If there is any impact it can only be beneficial for person and cat.
- Associated post: Search results for “blind cat” on PoC.