When Rosie and her boyfriend Ramley visited SPCA of Wake County near their home in North Carolina in November 2018, the couple was interested in adopting a dog, but they were unable to find a canine that fit their lifestyle. “We live in an apartment and we just didn’t find a dog who was the right fit that day, so we decided we’d go pet some of the cats without any intention of adopting one,” remembers Rosie.
The couple quickly discovered one of the cats was blind and — feeling sorry for the special feline — decided to spend some time with him. However, once Rosie and her boyfriend began playing with the blind tabby and white cat, they quickly learned there was no reason to pity the confident and capable feline. “He was so sweet and showed us his playful side,” says Rosie. “I used a feather toy to play with him and he caught it without a problem even being blind. I was so impressed!”
After Rosie tired him out, the three-year-old cat climbed into Ramley’s lap and began to purr. Not surprisingly, the couple who had gone to the rescue looking for a dog were smitten with the very special cat. Rosie and Ramley learned that before the young feline had ended up at the county shelter, he may have been a part of a feral cat community. His eyes were in bad shape and the shelter was unable to provide him with the care he needed, so they reached out to the local SPCA for assistance.
On October 18, 2019, the tabby and white cat arrived at the rescue where he received a thorough medical examination. “His right eye was swollen shut and our staff veterinarian Dr. Alice Hunsucker determined that he was blind and would most likely need his eyes removed in order to prevent the painful condition he was in,” explains Tara Lynn, Communications Manager for SPCA of Wake County. “He had surgery the next day to remove his eyes so that he could live a life free of pain.”
It had been a month since the surgery when Rosie and Ramley met the blind cat, and they were both concerned the friendly feline would have difficulty finding a home. Taken with his playful and affectionate personality, the couple adopted the very special cat shortly after meeting him for the first time. “It made my boyfriend cry to think about how sweet this cat was and what a tough time he had in life so far,” remembers Rosie.
While the rescue had named him Ivan, the couple wanted to give their new pet a moniker that reflected his impressive ability to use his other senses to compensate for his lack of sight. “We named him after Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil,” says Rosie. “Since Daredevil is a blind human superhero, we decided the name Matt would be perfect for our blind supercat.”
Back at their apartment, Rosie and Ramley followed the SPCA’s advice, keeping Matt in one room of their home to help him get acclimated to the new environment. Despite having lots of toys, litter, food, and a comfy bed, this blind boy let his new mom know he would not be confined to a single room. “When I got home and let him out of the room, he sat with me on the couch immediately and never let me shut him in that room again!” remembers Rosie. “Whenever I tried he would howl at the door until I let him out.”
Matt, who was still recovering from multiple surgical procedures when Rosie and her boyfriend adopted him, took a bit longer than the average cat to adjust to his new home. However, the couple gave him all the time he needed — and made sure not to rearrange the layout of their apartment — and Matt was eventually able to find his way around their home.
Several months later, this handsome blind cat is doing great, thanks in no small part to his parents. “He knows the rooms, the walls, where the furniture is, how to get from one place to another,” explains Rosie. “He knows where his food, his litter, and his bed are. We try to leave all of the doors open so that he doesn’t get confused and can move around as he pleases.”
When they wanted to relocate Matt’s litter box to another area, Rosie and Ramley followed their vet’s advice, moving it a little bit each day, which minimized any trouble or confusion this special kitty might have had otherwise. However, Matt is so good at using his other senses to compensate for his blindness, it’s very likely he would have been able to find his litter box even if his parents had moved it all at once. “If you watch him closely, you see he’s constantly moving his whiskers and ears to sense exactly what is happening, where things are, and when they’re moving,” says Rosie.
While he can’t see, Matt is able to do pretty much everything a sighted cat does. “He’ll run around chasing his toys and he loves to attack feet,” explains Rosie. “Lately the dresses and skirts I’ve started wearing now that it’s getting warmer intrigue him. He’ll try to grab the bottom of the dress and hold on, then attack my feet underneath it.”
In addition to pouncing on his parents’ feet, Matt loves playing with toys, and he has a catnip squirrel that he carries with him everywhere he goes. He’s also obsessed with boxes and he’s incredibly curious, so if anyone leaves a cabinet door open, Matt will be sure to crawl inside and explore, making him a fairly typical cat.
However, this tabby and white boy has a slightly usual habit of whacking objects he dislikes or is unfamiliar with, which Matt’s mom thinks he began doing long ago as a way of identifying potential threats.
“We joke that he does MMA training to be a supercat because he bops socks, shoes, the vacuum, or anything else he finds on the floor that he doesn’t recognize,” says Rosie. “We think this might be a habit he picked up from his street cat days. Now he does it I think out of habit and partially as a game. Or maybe he really is a supercat investigating the allies of his arch nemesis the vacuum monster!”
In addition to playing and exploring, Matt loves cuddling with his parents, and wherever Rosie and Ramley are in their apartment, this affectionate feline is usually somewhere nearby. While this adorable blind cat regularly showers his mom and dad with love, nothing compares to the way Matt treated Rosie shortly after she and Ramley adopted him.
“The first night we had Matt, he showed me in his own way how happy and appreciative he was,” remembers Rosie. “He climbed up my body to get himself as close as he possibly could to my face and snuggled, purred, rubbed his face on mine, made biscuits on my shoulders and with my hair, everything he could do to be close to me and be happy. At first I thought, ‘Awww, I have the sweetest cat,’ and I thought that was just his personality. But he has never done it since. He still snuggles, but not like that. Looking back, I think that was his way of saying thank you for giving me a home.”
It’s been more than five months since Rosie and her boyfriend adopted Matt, and not only does she believe blind cats are as capable as their sighted counterparts, she think special needs kitties are just as loving, maybe more so, than typical kitties.
While Rosie and Ramley weren’t intending to adopt a cat, much less one with special needs, when they visited the SPCA last November, they’re so glad they Matt picked them to be his parents, and they hope other people will consider opening their homes to animals who are often overlooked. “I am grateful every day that we chose to bring Matt home,” says Rosie. “At first we were so worried that we’d do something wrong in caring for this blind cat, but I realized that’s not possible because we did the most right thing by giving him a loving home.”
Without a doubt, Matt — who was suffering from a hernia and ulcers in both of his eyes when he was rescued from a county shelter — is thriving with Rosie and Ramley, and it seems as though this happy-go-lucky kitty’s difficult past is nothing but a distant memory for him. “His resilience is something we can all learn from,” says Rosie. “I just want to make sure that he is happy and loved and has everything that he needs for the rest of his life because his sweet, strong soul deserves it. Matt is my fur baby and my friend! He brings me so much joy.”
To learn more about this supercat, you can follow Matt on Instagram.