69: Seeing Eye Cat

69: Seeing Eye Cat

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: I Can't Believe My Cat Did That!

Seeing Eye Cat

A brother is a friend given by Nature.

~Jean Baptiste Legouve

Percival Putty Tat and Andie Pandi Dandi are my two Ragdoll cats that have truly shown me that taking my time doing things makes for a calm and happy existence. They are always calm and collected and move to a slow beat in life. But the real story is how I got the second Ragdoll, Percival, when I only could afford Andie.

Percival was a brother to Andie, and his breeder called me one day to say that Percival, cross-eyed and the runt of the litter, had been returned after being with a family for two months. I happily agreed to take Percival, and sure enough, he was very cross-eyed. Slowly he adjusted to his new family and was as loved as Andie, but I soon learned he had a few problems or “quirks” besides his eyes.

Ragdolls have the bluest of blue eyes and when Percival looked at me, I noticed that he often looked a little behind me. The vet said that Percival was trying to compensate for his sight, so it would often seem as if he were looking behind what he was trying to see.

Feeling sad for Percival, I asked if he could have surgery to correct his vision. The vet said no, that he had now learned to see this way, and it would only confuse him. However, during the examination, the vet found that Percival had a gum disease. All but his eyeteeth had to be pulled in a surgery to save his future health.

After the operation I noticed that Percival had an odd urge. He used his four front teeth to “staple” anything that happened to get in his way. This included soft shoe soles, magazines, letters, pillows, other cats, and students’ papers.

Once I left out fifty student papers on the table that I had been grading, and the next day they had little staple marks all around the margins — he had had a busy night. He was still sitting in the middle of the papers when I found him. He should have had wings he looked so innocent. My students found his “stapling” very humorous.

But, as time has progressed, Percival had other adventures with his eye challenge. One happened a year ago, and continues to his day.

Percival often likes to lie in the sunroom and bask in the sun. The problem is that he does not seem to see very well after lying in the sun — much like a person who is in the sun too long without sunglasses and comes into a dark room.

On this Saturday, Percival had just completed his three-hour basking, and I was in the sunroom reading. As he got up, he stopped to scratch, and must have gotten turned around. He started to walk and ran right into his brother Andie.

I expected the “alpha dance” to begin between them, but Andie simply ignored him and tried to step around him. As soon as Andie moved, Percival moved in that direction and they collided again. This happened three times. Finally, Andie sat beside Percival and looked at him and let out an inquiring “Meow?”

They sat there for a while until, as on a silent signal, both of them got up, stood shoulder to shoulder, and started to walk forward together. Andie led Percival to the next room.

I soon found that this was no accident. I have seen Andie herding his cross-eyed sibling from spot to spot. I also noticed that Andie nudged Percival toward pieces of cat food that had dropped from the bowl he could not see or toward a toy, and arranged a pillow for them to share.

Today, when looking for Percival, look for Andie. They will be close together, one pair of blue eyes looking straight, the other looking a little behind.

~Pamela Tambornino

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