The first time we saw Fawkes on Instagram, he was walking on a leash, happily frolicking in the grass, and we immediately felt compelled to learn more about him! After all, we’ve tried leash training two of our cats with minimal success, so we were impressed by how good Fawkes was about it. We were also amazed by how well he was able to navigate his environment despite not having any eyes, although after more than five years of featuring special needs kitties — many of them blind — the resiliency of cats probably shouldn’t surprise us anymore!
We reach out to Fawkes’s mom Zoë to find out more about this remarkable boy, and we learned how he and his sister Clark — who tragically passed away while undergoing surgery — had terrible eye infections when they arrived at Symbiotic Inc., the same rescue she’d adopted her cat Fable from. Zoë followed Fawkes’s progress via social media, including when he had surgery to remove both of his eyes, until she and her partner adopted him in August 2022 when he was approximately three months old. We also learned how Fawkes adjusted to his forever home, bonded with his adoptive sister, and became the awesome adventure cat he is today! We really appreciated Zoë taking the time to share Fawkes’s story with us, and we hope you’ll enjoy learning about this incredible blind cat just as much as we did!
Meow As Fluff: How did you meet Fawkes?
Zoë: The first time I saw Fawkes was on the social media of the same rescue I adopted my first cat from, Symbiotic Inc. He was tiny and very sick.
I followed his story for over a month, watching from afar as he underwent double eye enucleation, began to heal, and started to grow.
I wasn’t looking for another cat, but something about him seemed special, and I eventually inquired about him and scheduled a time to meet him. From the second I saw him, I knew he was meant to be a part of my little family, and I had to bring him home.
MAF: What made you decide to provide a home to a cat with blindness?
Z: From the first time I saw Fawkes, I felt like there was something special about him. Since he was blind, I did a lot of research to make sure my home and family could accommodate a blind cat. Once I knew that we could, I met him and it was love at first cuddle!!
MAF: Can you tell me the story behind his name?
Z: It actually took a lot of thinking to find a name that felt right for him. Fawkes is the name of Dumbledore’s phoenix in the Harry Potter books, which were some of my favorites growing up. It felt fitting to name him after a brave and beautiful creature that could rise up from the ashes after he had recovered from being so sick as a little kitten and started to grow into a bold and confident young cat.
MAF: Can you tell me a little bit about how Fawkes lost his vision?
Z: Fawkes was very sick when he was first rescued; his eyes were extremely swollen and painful. Whether it was caused by a virus or something systemic, he had to have a double eye enucleation in order to have a chance at survival. Stray kittens often do get very sick, and he was extremely lucky to be rescued and survive!
MAF: What are some of the biggest misconceptions you think people have about blind cats?
Z: A lot of people think that blind cats can’t get around or adapt to new situations, but they 100% can! They can jump on and off of things, explore new places, and cause just as much chaos as a regular cat! They can also learn and be trained just like regular cats, go outside in safe environments with their owners, and do just about everything other cats can!
MAF: What are some of the challenges — if any — you and Fawkes have faced as a result of his blindness?
Z: When I first got Fawkes, I was very worried about him being able to navigate my apartment. I had to kitten-proof everything and block off spaces that I worried he could get caught or lost in, such as under the bed and dressers. He surprised me with how quickly he adapted to the apartment – he knew his way around in just a few days! His only other challenge is that sometimes loud noises do startle him since he can’t see the source, but we’ve been working on getting used to a variety of sounds and training him to come to me if something does make him nervous.
MAF: What do you wish more people knew about cats with special needs, particularly blind cats?
Z: Special needs cats are just as worthy of love and adoption as any others! Although it’s important to consider any extra care a special-needs cat might require before adopting, many of them simply need loving homes with people who are considerate of their needs and can accommodate them.
MAF: What are some of Fawkes’s favorite activities?
Z: When he’s home, Fawkes loves chasing crinkle balls and attacking cat-dad’s best socks! On adventures, he likes quiet shady trails, sandy beaches with gentle waves, and listening to birds singing.
MAF: What does he mean to you?
Z: Fawkes is so special to me and our little family. He and I already have a very close bond with one another and I know that will only continue to grow as he gets older. Whenever he gets tired he finds me and curls up on my chest, and he often sleeps in the crook of my arm at night. Fawkes is my heart cat, and I’m so excited to see him grow and adventure with him for many years to come.
To learn more about this adorable kitten, you can follow Fawkes on Instagram.