Odilia was turned into the shelter back in April and I brought her home to foster on the 23rd.
At the time it was thought she was three weeks old due to her size, but the more time I spent with her the less likely I thought that was possible. She had very good coordination, and a peek at the teeth told me more on the five or six week range since she had her back molars in.
|Odilia when I first took her in|
Odilia is the first blind kitten I have ever fostered. I have been fostering kittens since 2002 so I have a good handle on how to help a neonatal kitten become a well adjusted and social kitten that is easily adopted. But with Odilia I had different challenges. I kept her confined for the first week or so, close to bedding, food and litter it was hard for her to not be able to find what she needed. As time progressed I decided to introduce her into a larger area. I would call her and walk away and have her follow me to each corner of the room to help her learn how large of an area she had as well as navigate to those things she would find important: food, litter and bedding. Because I was over protective of her, I did this over the course of a couple of days, returning her to the cage I was keeping her in at this point when I wasn't able to watch her directly. After just a few times she had the room down pat, and she showed me that she was just fine.
It took a while longer for her to drink water, but she came to that on her own. She also learned to track belled toys and now plays with them on her own as well. When you watch her play and navigate her environment you would barely know she is blind. Occasionally she will run and will run headlong into things, but occasionally fully sighted kittens will do that as well.
Her prognosis is very good at this point. I was worried originally due to the death of her sibling, but she is eating and playing and active and in very good health. All the stress of going to BlogPaws didn't even faze her.
She does have a few challenges. First she has a pretty strong under bite and doesn't have the jaw strength that kittens her size usually have. I am not sure what that means for her, but I do know she refuses to eat dry food (not that I mind that one bit). The second is she is very very small for her age. She weighed out at 1lb 3oz yesterday. This is the general size of a four week old kitten. Chronologically she is probably nine if not ten weeks. She also acts much younger then her age, which is good because it is more in line with her physical size.
I am fortunate to be fostering for a shelter who is willing and able to take on challenging cases. Because of all of the effort they have put in to improving the conditions for the animals in their care, they have near no-kill stats. They are often importing dogs and sometimes cats from shelters in parts of the country that have an over abundance. They even took in some kitties from across the country when their owners needed to find them a new home and no one locally would help them out. Because of all the good work they do they have a wonderful reputation with in the community. I have no doubt if that Odilia, if she isn't able to charm someone online to adopt her, will find a home and probably pretty quickly. For the most part she could probably fit into any home pretty easily, as long as the owners were willing to be patient and work with her and show her around.
The Blind Cat Rescue webpage has a great page about living with a blind kitty. It just enforces what I have learned caring for her..
I am often asked if I am going to keep Odilia. While I would love to, I think she is an amazing kitty and I have no doubt she could easily become an internet sensation, I have to also keep in mind the welfare of the cats I already own. We have a wonderful balance with The Crew and I fear adding to it and causing disharmony. So I will let her move on and make someone else very happy.. which will also open up another opportunity to help more kittens..