A blind cat named Keller and his mother arrived at an Iowa shelter, and now their story is unlike any they have ever encountered before.
In August 2021, on a Monday, the Sioux City Animal Center received a call about two stray tuxedo cats. It turned out they were the most closely bonded pair of cats the shelter VP had ever witnessed. A 9-12-month-old male cat appeared to have been born with no eyes, and the other is thought to be his protective mama, who is 1-2 years old.
“It was obvious at the time that the male had visual impartment, to the point of having no eyes. He’s just sort of got the sockets where the eyes were,” said Chris Wall.
A Seeing-Eye Cat
Amazingly, the mama cat acted as her baby’s “seeing-eye cat,” guiding him around. According to Wall, the two “bounce off each other” and never leave each other’s side.
Since the two cats were friendly, they waited to see if an owner would come forward to claim them.
“They appear to be fabulously friendly cats.” said Wall, “They were very, very lovey. As soon as I opened the cage door they came forward and wanted their loving, but I couldn’t separate them with a crowbar.”
However, the pair’s owner did not come forward after a month. By late September, the news shared the story of the amazing duo again, but now they had famous names, and another cat entered the mix.
See what happened from KCAU-TV Sioux City:
Famous Names: Keller and Annie Sullivan
In a later report from KCAU, we learn that the blind cat is now called Charles or Keller, and he arrived before his mother, named Anne “Annie” Sullivan.
As many will know, Sullivan was the famous American teacher who was an instructor and lifelong companion of blind and deaf Helen Keller. Later, Keller would become world-famous as an author, educator, leading humanitarian, and co-founder of the ACLU. Later in life, Sullivan lost her own eyesight. Then, their secretary, Polly Thomson, became Keller’s close companion after Sullivan’s death.
Mama Cat In Poor Health
When Keller arrived, he was “very lost” and confused. Then, a day or so later, the cat presumed his mother arrived. Certainly, their extraordinary bond would indicate they were most likely mother and son.
Soon after arriving, staff noticed that Keller’s mom wasn’t feeling well and required veterinary care for life-threatening health issues. She was also not spayed, and Keller wasn’t neutered.
Director Cindy Rarrat explained:
“We found out that there was something wrong with her mouth, so after she was spayed, we took her back in and she had to have all of her teeth removed, and she had a large tumor in her sinus cavity. That has since been removed. They wanted to test it, but we felt that we just really didn’t want to know,” said Rarrat.
Would Anne Sullivan make it? If not, how would Keller be able to survive?
Duo Becomes a Trio: Keller, Sullivan, and Trixie
Fortunately, the mama cat improved, and the shelter decided to introduce the duo to another cat. However, this mama was very protective of Keller. So, the shelter considered a unique 9-week-old kitten with a big personality named Trixie.
Clearly, Trixie was a big hit with the two older cats:
“The mother did not accept any other cats because she’d been protecting him all of his life, and so we took a kitten. And it was one of our kittens that was very unique, he was, he’s got a ton of personality and he just was just a different and a unique personality. So we put him in with them and they love each other. I’ve been here 37 years and I’ve never come across a situation like this,” said Rarrat.
Before, Trixie had often been crying, but the pair warmly welcomed the orphan as one of the family.
Is Trixie Learning to Take Care of Keller?
Immediately, Trixie became part of a trio, and amazingly she seems to be learning to help guide Keller. As she interacts, she sees how Anne Sullivan walks with Keller, says Rarrat.
“We use bells, a ball with a bell in it so that he can hear exactly where this ball is. The kitten, it’s just great to see them walk together because they walk together in unison, especially him and his mother and the kitten is learning that as well. So it’s just learned behavior, they know that he has an eye issue,” said Rarrat.
Is it possible that Trixie is learning to be a seeing-eye cat-like the mother cat? It’s all remarkable.
The Right Home for Keller, His Mama, and Trixie
Now, the shelter is seeking a home for this incredible trio. [2021 article] Somewhere, the perfect person is out there who can give a happy home to these three indoor cats. Certainly, their story is incredible. Now, they should be together in a home where they are protected and cherished.
“We can’t express to you how special these guys are,” the shelter wrote. Now, they never want to split them up.
On the shelter website, you can learn more about the many cats for adoption and how to apply. There, you can also help sponsor Keller, Annie, and Trixie.
See more from KCAU-TV Sioux City: