I was lucky enough to be doing some traveling the beginning of this month — seeing Asheville, Savannah, Charleston and the Outer Banks to mention a few of the stops along the way. But, only I would want to plan a stop on vacation at a cat rescue. Now, hear me out — this was no ordinary rescue. To start, it was a sanctuary. In other words, every cat there never has to worry about finding a new home ever again. But, more than that, it was a sanctuary for blind cats, and other less adoptable ones (with FIV and FELV). Yes, blind cats. In truth, I have had very little experience with blind cats. Maybe, throughout my photo sessions with The Shelter Me Project I came across one or two, but never more than one at a time. My curiosity had been piqued by following their facebook page — I wanted to meet these little guys.
Welcome to the Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary, located in St. Pauls, NC. It was a late day visit as we traveled from Charleston to the Outer Banks, but Alana at the shelter (aka the wonderful person who makes this all happen) was kind enough to deal with our fluctuating arrival time and give us the grand tour. And it was grand — seven immaculate rooms!
Along the way, we made plenty of friends. It’s a completely different experience than any shelter I have been to. These cats, because they’re blind, or because they are just so happy, are not shy. Since they can’t see you, they come up to you to sniff you or to touch you. At some points, we were simply covered in cats. It’s a heart-warming experience to say the least.
They were so much like “seeing” cats in their behavior that you didn’t even really notice that they were blind. They had the most adorable faces — some with eyes (detached retinas), but most without. But, after meeting a few of them, you stop thinking of them in that way. They get around just like any other cats you are familiar with — jumping, playing, rolling, purring, scratching, meowing — it’s all there.
The shelter itself consists of two buildings with seven rooms total. There’s an FIV room and an FELV room where seeing kitties enjoyed the company of other blind kitties with these disorders. Each room had plenty of places for the kitties to get comfy, and a door leading outside to a big fenced-in play area. It was very well done, and very, very clean.
This visit might have been a once-in-a-lifetime. Truly. I don’t know of too many groups dedicated to only blind cats, or that I will ever be down in North Carolina again. I can only hope I get to visit again someday — it was that moving and that wonderful of an experience. In the meantime, my view of blind cats has completely changed — I no longer see them as handicapped or helpless — they are different, yes, they are survivors, true, but they don’t know that. To themselves, they are simply cats. You have to respect that outlook on life.