Kat was browsing the website for Cats Protection, a feline charity in the UK, in July 2015, when she came across Barney, a blind 13-year-old cat. “I saw how old he was and thought that there might not be many people who would want to adopt a blind 13-year-old cat, so I decided he would be perfect,” remembers Kat.
Smitten with the handsome black and white senior cat and his adorable mustache, Kat arranged a meet and greet at the adoption center. When she arrived at Cats Protection, Kat found Barney in a corner, huddled up in his foster mom’s sweater and obviously frightened. “His foster mum Claire, who had been looking after him before, had returned him to the center so I could meet him, so he was all our of sorts, bless him,” says Kat. “It was very sad.”
When Kat approached the blind senior cat, he started to hiss, which she attributed to being in an unfamiliar environment, surrounded by meowing cats who he could hear but not see. Thankfully, Kat was undeterred, and she attempted to win Barney over with treats. “I gave him some Dreamies, which are his ultimate weakness, and he got a bit better but then resumed hissing once he’d eaten them,” explains Kat.
While other people might have been reluctant to take a chance on a hissy senior cat with special needs, Kat was confident she would be able to provide Barney with a home where he would thrive, so she adopted him. “As soon as he was in his cat box in the car on the way home, he went totally quiet and just sat there with his legs folded under, totally transformed,” remembers Kat. “I knew I had made the right choice.”
When they arrived at her apartment in London, it didn’t take long for Barney to adjust to his new surroundings despite being unable to see. Nearly five years later, Barney is doing great, and he and Kat now live in a house with stairs instead of a one level apartment. “I was really nervous he would get upstairs and then fall down or get stuck up there, so we have a baby gate for when we are out of the house,” explains Kat, “but when we are there he wanders up and down stairs with no issues, although I still try to stop him because I worry!”
In addition to using a baby gate when Barney is home alone, Kat avoids moving the furniture around as much as possible, because she doesn’t want to disrupt the mental map he made within days of moving into the new house. Other than these relatively minor accommodations, Barney doesn’t need any additional care or assistance, proving blind cats are often a lot more capable than people assume. “He’s totally self-sufficient and can find his way around our house absolutely fine,” says Kat. “He’s also totally loving, he doesn’t get scared easily, and he very much appears to go with the flow.”
While the exact cause of Barney’s blindness is unknown, it’s obvious he’s a very happy cat, and at approximately 18 years old, it should be no surprise that his favorite activities include sleeping and eating Dreamies cat treats. “His routine is that when we go out or go to bed he gets some Dreamies, so it means that if we stay up past our bed time, he starts yowling for his treats as he knows his routine!” says Kat.
Without a doubt, Barney is a very intelligent and capable boy, and Kat hopes other people will consider opening their homes to cats who often have difficulty getting adopted. After all, when Kat met Barney, he was a frightened and blind senior cat, but with her help, he has blossomed into the sweet and easy-going feline he is today.
“I wish more people were willing to look at adopting any disabled animal as they are just as amazing as other pets,” says Kat. “They have their own personalities and unique ways of doing things which make them all special.”
When Kat started searching for a cat to adopt, she wasn’t looking for a senior kitty or an animal with special needs, but now it’s difficult for her to imagine her life without Barney in it. While it’s obvious this blind senior boy is very fortunate to have such a wonderful mom, Kat considers herself equally lucky to have Barney and the happiness and comfort he provides. “His little happy face just make me feel so much better about everything,” says Kat. “He means everything to me.”
To learn more about this handsome cat, you can follow Barney on Instagram.