When Kerstin saw a photo of a pair of tabby kittens, Konrad and Mia, who were being fostered by a veterinarian until they found a forever home, she was immediately interested in adopting the young cats.
In October 2020, Kerstin contacted the vet’s office near her home in Mistelbach, Austria, and arranged to meet the kittens, who were born to a stray cat, in person. “Both were healthy and happy cats,” remembers Kerstin. “We liked Konrad’s beautiful and big eyes and we decided to take them home.”
Smitten with the adorable pair, Kerstin adopted Konrad and his sister Mia when they were approximately two months old. Initially, they both appeared to be in good health, but just a month later, a visit to a veterinary specialist revealed Konrad was not only born with malformed eyes, he was having serious issues with the lenses of his eyes.
“[The veterinary specialist] had to remove his left eye because of painful eye pressure,” explains Kerstin. “Because the same problems occurred in the other eye, the specialist tried to remove the lens of the right eye for for precautionary reasons.”
Tragically, Konrad suffered serious complications when the specialist attempted to remove the lens of his right eye. “Unfortunately, the risky surgery was not successful,” says Kerstin. “An inflammation of the eyeball caused problems and he also lost his second eye.”
Sadly, by the time Konrad was just a few months old, both his eyes had been removed, but it didn’t take long for him to adjust to life as a completely blind cat. Several months later, this handsome tabby is doing extremely well, and he is just as happy and active as his sighted sister. “He loves the fresh air and likes to explore everything in the garden with his other senses,” says Kerstin. “It’s amazing how Konrad can climb on trees.”
In fact, there’s nothing this blind kitten enjoys more than spending supervised time outside with his family, and while he may not be able to see, Konrad is still able to enjoy almost everything nature has to offer. “Blind cats are very sensitive and their other senses are very strong,” explains Kerstin. “Konrad can even hear and smell insects like beetles and ants.”
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However, Kerstin does have occasional moments of sadness for Konrad, especially when she watches his sister Mia — who is practically his twin — enjoy activities he is no longer able to appreciate in the same way. “It is very hard to see his healthy sister playing in the garden and hunting butterflies,” says Kerstin.
Consequently, Kerstin understands why some people might question if blind cats are capable of having happy and fulfilling lives. However, she thinks it’s important for these individuals to realize just how easily cats are able to adapt to living without sight. “Compared to humans, a cat can better use their other senses and it is much easier for them to live in blindness,” says Kerstin. “Konrad is full of the joys of life and he deserves the right to live just as much as any other cat.”
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Fortunately for Konrad, Kerstin is willing to provide him with the extra time and attention he needs to thrive, and she is so grateful to share her life with this very special boy. “He is so thankful for all the things we have done for him,” says Kerstin. “Konrad fills the house with life, activity, and happiness. He has grown on my heart.”
To learn more about this handsome cat, you can follow Konrad on Instagram.