When I saw Pebbles on Instagram, she immediately caught my attention because she is the spitting image of one of my favorite cat sitting clients, a tabby who also lost both of her eyes to an infection. I knew I had to learn more about this adorable girl, so I reached out to her mom Megan, a veterinarian who lives in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee.
Thanks to Megan, I learned all about how Pebbles managed to overcome an incredibly difficult start in life, which included being abandoned at a dump in late 2016 when she was just a few weeks old. Megan also shared that when she met Pebbles for the first time, it was because someone wanted to euthanize her. Despite all of the obstacles she faced as a tiny kitten, thanks to Megan, Pebbles got a second chance, and today, she’s thriving! I really enjoyed learning about this extremely resilient, smart, sweet, and fun-loving girl, and I hope you enjoy learning about Pebbles as much as I did.
Meow As Fluff: How did you end up meeting Pebbles?
Megan: Pebbles was abandoned at a dump when she was a tiny, feral kitten and left to die. Someone found her and was able to catch her because she couldn’t see to get away. Thinking she was suffering, they brought her to my veterinary clinic for humane euthanasia.
When I saw her, she was so tiny, maybe six weeks old, and clearly blind with painful eyes. Despite all that, she was a spicy little thing, fluffing at me and hissing like she was ready to take on the world. I absolutely knew the second I saw her that I would do everything in my power to save her.
MAF: When did you adopt her?
M: I immediately took financial responsibility for her with plans to foster and adopt her out. However, after she lived with us for about a week, I knew she would be with us forever.
MAF: What made you decide to provide a home to a cat with blindness?
M: I never intended to adopt a blind cat. I had patients at the vet clinic who were blind, so I knew they could do well. However, as is so often the case with cats, sometimes they just come to us, and we know they are meant to be. Because of Pebbles, I have also since adopted two other blind cats, Zeke and Griffin.
MAF: Can you tell me a little bit about how Pebbles lost her vision?
M: As happens so often with stray kittens, she had a severe upper respiratory infection leading to ulcers in her eyes. Left untreated, the eyes were diseased beyond repair when she came to us, so we had to perform an enucleation once she was big enough.
MAF: What are some of the biggest misconceptions you think people have about blind cats?
M: People often think that a blind cat would require a lot of extra effort, or they would be afraid of everything or at risk of injury. However, a few simple measures to ensure security (making sure stairways are secure, keeping furniture consistent, and providing ample safe places for them to climb and scratch) are all that is necessary.
In fact, we use videos and photos of Pebbles at our vet clinic to encourage owners who are facing blindness in their own cat.
MAF: What are some of the challenges — if any — you and Pebbles have faced as a result of her blindness?
M: Initially, my biggest challenge was allowing her to explore her surroundings safely without interfering too much, trusting that she could learn to navigate on her own.
Now that she is older, her blindness does not define her. It is simply a small part of who she is.
MAF: What do you wish more people knew about cats with special needs, particularly blind cats?
M: Ultimately, no matter what physical differences they may have, their heart is like any other cat. They have the same wants and needs. If you simply provide safety, food, play, and love, they will absolutely give you more in return than you could ever give them. If you adopt a blind cat, there is no doubt your life and your heart will be changed forever.
MAF: What are some of Pebbles’s favorite activities?
M: Pebbles likes to cuddle, but only when she is in the mood. She loves taking leash walks outside to listen and smell and to munch on grass.
But most of all, Pebbles loves to eat!
MAF: What does she mean to you?
M: Defining what Pebbles means to me is not something words can capture. She is my heart, my friend, my child, and my inspiration. I feel blessed beyond measure that I am the one who gets to be her person.