Louie was born without irises and tear ducts. His congenital condition is called aniridia. The picture of him is startling and worrying but we needn’t be worried because although he had a hard start to life he is now loved by many. He has 30,000 followers on his Instagram page. In addition to his blindness he is fighting kidney disease at seven-years-of-age and has a curved spine, plus patellar luxation in his legs.
Aniridia is very rare at 1:64,000 and 1:100,000 births.
I hope that his fame on Instagram is not simply because he looks strange. I hope it is because he has found a good home and people appreciate it when a cat has been rejected by his mother and litter and that his previous owners told his current guardian to ignore him when she visited.
Kerry Denman, living in London, UK, was visiting friends. Her friends had a cat who had had kittens. Kerry was there to feed the kittens because she was thinking about getting a cat but wasn’t sure about it. She was told by her friends that she should ignore Louie because there was something wrong with his eyes.
At that time Louie was a tiny bundle of fur curled up in the laundry basket. When she left she was worried about Louie. She got the impression that his previous owners were leaving him to die. She couldn’t stop thinking about it so she decided to go back for him a few days later and gave the owners £10 which was her contribution to have their female cat spayed (to prevent her having another litter of kittens are expect).
She found out that aniridia cannot be treated because, as mentioned, it is congenital. Also, his eyes flicker which is probably due to a neurological problem and perhaps part of the overall condition with which she suffers.
No one’s told her the cause of the condition. It’ll be a genetic defect/mutation passed down through generations. Further, Louie has a joint problem in patellar luxation in all his legs. This probably makes him lame.
To cap things off, one day she noticed that there was blood on his mouth and his veterinarian said that he had squamous cell carcinoma and that Kerry should be prepared for the worst. Fortunately, it was later discovered that Louie did not have cancer but a bad bacterial infection and Louie was prescribed steroids and antibiotics and sent home from monitoring for a week.
Kerry had started Louie’s Instagram account as a memorial but as you can see things turned out differently. Louie is a loving, sweet cat who has had a tough start in life but he is loved and enjoying life as fully as he can.