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What a Sight! February 2001

This blind kitty knows when there's a mouse in the house! By Carolyn Mitchell from Best friends Animal Sanctuary.

The cat's eyes are spectacular instruments that allow the feline species to see quite clearly even in total darkness.

But even without those magnificent orbs, the feline is still impressive on the prowl. Consider this tale of a blind cat, a kitty with one eye and a field mouse.

A couple of weeks ago, volunteer Liz Morley-Smith was pitching in with chores at Benton's House, home to scores of Best Friends cats with disabilities.

All of a sudden Liz saw Cassie (photo right), a 14-year-old eyeless cat, freeze and then dash over to the base of an empty cat crate.

"She assumed the stalk pose – low belly, throaty murmurs and quivering tail," recalls Liz. "Then Grubbins, who has only one eye, ran over to help Cassie."

The Prey!Benton's House staffer Tania Brown guessed that a toy was under the crate, but as she moved the crate from the wall, a field mouse darted out.

The tiny creature spotted both cats and wisely dashed back under the cage.

"We got a big steel food bowl and a large piece of cardboard to capture and contain the mouse," Liz says. "On our next try in rousting out the mouse, he ran down the hall, past the kitchen area straight into one of the cat rooms."

Here Mr. Mouse made a near fatal error by seeking refuge in a suite full of felines with senses and instincts, if not bodies, in tact.

JuliusJulius, a gregarious orange tabby that wobbles from neurological damage, spied the mouse first, and according to Liz, "tried valiantly to cross the room in a straight line.

"At the same time, seven of his roommates jumped off their sleep pads and ran over to help with the great mouse hunt.

"In the confusion of eight slightly unbalanced cats, two harried women and one tiny mouse, we lost sight of the prey."

It was Tania who noticed the intruder was missing and asked, "Where's the mouse?"

Liz's eyes swept the room. "In Patience's mouth," she answered with a gulp.

PatienceA local beauty, Patience is white with a fetching black smudge on her face. Her skin allergy is clearly no impediment to her skills as a pouncer.

"There the mouse was—the head peeking out of one side of her mouth and the tail dangling from the other," Liz says. "Patience had a surprised look on her face like OK, now what?"

Tania clapped her hands and Patience dropped the mouse. Liz clamped the food bowl over the mouse, slid the cardboard beneath it and quickly made her way out of the building.

She released the mouse in the nearby brush and watched him scamper off, apparently none the worse for his brush with every squeaky nibbler's nightmare.

"I guess he thought he could sneak into Benton's House undetected since two of the three cats in the entrance hall are either blind or one-eyed," Liz says. "But one should never underestimate the hunting prowess of the feline - blind, one-eyed or fully endowed."

As a postscript, Liz notes that during the field mouse caper Sasha, the third cat with Benton's House foyer privileges, never moved from her warm snoozing spot on top of the microwave.

"She's the only cat in the foyer who has total vision!" Liz says. "I guess her attitude was: Been there, done that, ho hum."

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