A kitten named Galileo, or Leo for short, shows how adaptable and worthy of finding forever homes blind cats are. They can live happy lives and navigate their worlds with remarkable skill.
Galileo arrived at a Washington, D.C.-based Playschool for Wayward Kittens after they pulled him from a shelter. The kitten’s eyes were severely damaged from a feline herpes infection.
“The ophthalmologist thinks he can see some slight changes to light/dark in that eye, but nothing more. He won’t recover vision in that eye, but the eye doesn’t need to be removed unless it causes him problems,” rescuer Jen shared on Instagram.
“Bop had his eyes surgically removed as a kitten, and Boop needed several surgeries to save his. We thought we were a three-cat family for many years, but these two changed our minds!” they said on their website.
Now, Bop and Boop are “Junior faculty” at the Playschool, helping the kittens learn the ropes.
“I was always a bit squeamish about eye issues until we fostered Bop and Boop. Now I love helping babies with eye issues and I absolutely adore blind cats,” she said. “They’re all wonderful, special, and absolutely #perfectlyimperfect.”
Once treated, Galileo would be the newest member of a motley little “Pirate crew 🏴☠️💗🏴☠️.”
Little Mr. Galileo and the Pirate Crew
The Pirate Crew is a group of four kittens who arrived over the summer with damaged eyes due to a bad case of feline herpes virus, the same as Galileo. They are Blackbeard, Anne Bonney, Calico Jack, and Ching Shih. Bop is pictured in the middle below, and Uno is another adorable foster with one eye.
Clockwise from the top center:
- Anne Bonney
- Calico Jack
- Ching Shih (adopted!)
When kittens are born into a world where they don’t have adequate nutrition, they can succumb to the common virus. Nevertheless, the kittens were “all incredibly friendly and super snuggly,” said the rescuer.
“🏴☠️Yaaarrrrrrr🏴☠️ I love this face so much.”
Blind Kitten Adjusts Rapidly
They had to carefully isolate the kittens from the other rescues for a while, but they were very playful with one another. They sometimes wear a pirate patch and hat for comedic effect in pictures.
Once Galileo was introduced, he was like “a little wrecking ball,” awkwardly bumping into things. Possibly, he had some vision, which caused him to wobble around, looking back and forth. At first, he was nervous about meeting the Pirate Crew but soon loved having new playmates.
“He’s a feisty little bug!” the rescuers said of the kitten’s playful antics.
Sometimes, playmates with sight take a while to figure out what’s happening.
“It usually takes kittens a while to accept a blind playmate, as it’s confusing to them why the blind kitten doesn’t pick up on body language cues, but they eventually sort it out,” Jen said.
To help the blind kitten navigate, the rescuers have learned that they can tap on objects with their fingers to guide them to the next step. For example, when Galileo jumped on a bed, they helped him get down by tapping on a series of boxes that served as steps. At the same time, they offer vocal encouragement and step in to lend a hand (literally) when necessary.
Before long, Galileo learned to map out the steps and didn’t need help, demonstrating a strong memory. He was a “fast learner” and showed amazing intelligence. As he grew, he could run at top speed through the house, and you’d never know he had any vision problems at all.
Galileo Navigates the Steps
People were amazed to see how Galileo managed the home’s staircase. With Jen’s encouragement, he found the confidence to do it. Even though it was his first time, Jen knew from experience he would soon be “zipping up and down” the stairs.
“Little Galileo can’t see, but that doesn’t stop him from exploring his world!”
Just as Jen thought, Galileo was soon zipping along the stairs.
“Look at little Galileo, go! He absolutely flies up and down the stairs these days.🤗”
Unfortunately, Leo’s remaining eye continued to have problems and required surgical removal too. But the rescuers knew he would be just fine living life as a blind kitty.
“Little Leo has had lots of twists and turns in his path, but he remains a happy, goofy, lovely little man,” she said.
“As much as we didn’t want to put him through another surgery, the eyeball simply wasn’t stable and was causing him discomfort. So- the eye is coming out. BUT- that’s ok, because as we all know by now- “No eyes? No problem!”
Galileo would have plenty of fun and the best time growing up with his rowdy Pirate Crew buddies.
Previously, we’ve shown how cats and dogs sometimes find help from their feline buddies who voluntarily act as “seeing eye cats,” instinctively guiding them. Yes, they do, and it’s amazing to witness. Cats are amazingly adaptable and resilient and can show compassion to their pals.
“🏴☠️Such a motley little crew of pirates! 🏴☠️ This group is so ridiculously sweet and outgoing. They love everyone they meet and have such great purrsonalities! The fluffy gray kitty is Anne Bonney. The handsome orange dude is Calico Jack, and the dashing brown tabby is Blackbeard.”
For more on Galileo and the Pirate Crew, you can follow along on Instagram.