Meеt Lоuie, The Adorаble Вlind Kittеn Who Survivеd Living On The Strеets And Is Nоw Searсhing Fоr Нis Fоrever Hоme!

When Ashley, a fosterer for Liberation Cat House, learned about Louie, a blind kitten who had been living on the streets of Orlando, Florida, until he was rescued and taken to Orange County Animal Services, she knew she had to help him.

“Louie came into the shelter because a concerned citizen called animal services,” explains Ashley. “At the time, Louie was also having trouble walking, and due to his eyes and apparent blindness, the concerned person knew he needed help.”

Orange County Animal Services determined Louie, who was approximately six months old, required more care than they were able to provide, so they emailed several local rescues, including Liberation Cat House, for assistance. “When I saw Louie’s picture when the shelter sent the email asking for help, I just thought he must be so scared in the shelter,” remembers Ashley. “Many animals are scared in the shelter of course, but all of the noises and smells must be especially scary for a blind kitty who can’t even see what’s going on.”

Ashley wanted to get Louie out of the shelter as soon as possible, and while she’d never cared for a blind cat before, she had lots of experience helping special needs felines. “They are some of my favorites to foster,” says Ashley. “Depending on their special needs, they may need minor accommodations, but oftentimes they aren’t even very big adjustments! Give them a chance and they will repay you in so much love.”

On December 3, 2021, Ashley picked Louie up from the shelter, and despite being blind, it didn’t take him long to adjust to her home. “I think probably the biggest misconception is that they are going to be very much different than any other cat,” says Ashley, which definitely wasn’t her experience with Louie.

Contrary to what a lot of people might assume, he had no trouble locating and using the litter box, nor did he have any issues getting up and down from furniture, windowsills, or cat trees. “I learned that blind kitties rely on their memory to navigate around their home,” explains Ashley, “but that they often can even memorize distances with familiar objects, so they know how high they need to jump to get up somewhere!”

When Louie first arrived at Ashley’s home, he had severe conjunctivitis and corneal inflammation, and it took five weeks and two different types of medicated drops three times a day to finally get rid of the infection. While this enabled Louie to keep his eyes — which are abnormally small due to microphthalmia, a condition that causes animals and people to have underdeveloped eyes — it didn’t restore his vision. “[Microphthalmia] in and of itself does not make them blind, but often kittens born with microphthalmia do end up being blind due to concurrent eye issues,” explains Ashley.

A thorough examination revealed both of Louie’s corneas were completely scarred, possibly due to a severe eye infection he suffered as a tiny kitten. However, even if he didn’t have corneal scarring, Louie still probably wouldn’t have been able to see. “The issue in Louie’s case is because his eyeballs are so small, his third eyelid completely covers his eyes,” says Ashley.

Fortunately, Louie — who most likely lost his vision not long after he was born — had adjusted well to life as a blind kitten, and today, he’s doing extremely well! Like a typical young feline, Louie has lots of energy, so he likes to play, especially with toys that he can track using senses other than sight. “He loves many kinds of toys but especially crinkle toys, toys that squeak, or ones he can smell, like with catnip,” says Ashley. “He will also chase after wand toys if you want to play with him.”

Consequently, Louie — who is currently available for adoption — needs a home with people who will provide him with plenty of stimulation. “He can’t just sit in the window and watch the birds or something for entertainment,” explains Ashley. Also, while it’s not a requirement, his foster mom thinks it would be great for Louie to go to a home where there’s another kitten or young cat who can be his playmate and companion.

While Louie is super energetic, he’s also very affectionate, and after a long play session, this sweet boy likes to nap near the people who share his home. “He’ll cuddle up next to you if he can or at least nearby if you’re not available,” says Ashley.

However, Louie doesn’t like to be picked up, something his foster mom discovered shortly after bringing him home. “He becomes very stressed, scrambling and flailing because he wants his feet back on the ground,” says Ashley. “The same goes for being picked up and being carried to another room.”

Also, even though Louie somehow managed to survive on the streets despite being unable to see, his adopter has to make sure he’s never allowed outside again. “Care should be taken to ensure Louie is always kept indoors and doesn’t slip out,” says Ashley, “because being outside is too dangerous to a blind cat.”

Most importantly, Louie needs a family who will give him lots of love, just like his foster mom has since she brought him home late last year. “I do tend to get a bit more attached to my special needs fosters,” says Ashley, “but I don’t keep them because I need to keep space open to help more kitties.”

After all, there are lots of other cats who need Ashley’s help, although she knows none of them will be quite like Louie. Not only is Louie incredibly good-natured and sweet, he’s extremely inspiring, and there’s no way Ashley will ever be able to forget this remarkable boy. “I still think it’s amazing he survived so long on the streets — somehow he managed to hunt and mostly keep himself safe for months, until he was rescued,” says Ashley. “Louie is very special to me because he has overcome so much.”

To learn more about this handsome cat, you can follow Louie on Instagram.

If you’d like to adopt Louie, you can find out more about the process on Liberation Cat House’s website.

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