Pet Tips 'n' Tales©

From Rags To Riches

Courtesy Photo©
Ricky proves that "real men love cats". He and his wife, Jannes, found 10-year-old Bella, who is blind and deaf, "blindly" wandering around their hay field. As Bella adapts to their multipet household, they are falling more deeply in love with her.


"My husband, Ricky, and I live in Tennessee. While searching the internet for tips on caring for blind and deaf pets we discovered Pet Tips 'n' Tales," said Jannes, "which was very helpful. Thank you for the information and being a blessing to those who share a love of animals."

"We rescued our senior cat-izen, Bella, through a "set up" by her owner.  A stranger drove up to us, pointed, and said, 'I saw a cat in the hayfield by your house that was acting weirdly. I see that you have a dog, so with rabies in this area I wanted to warn you.'

We figured this was a "set up" because it was impossible to see the cat from the road. It was so far out in the field that we had to use binoculars to spot it. We decided we had better use caution in approaching it, due to the possibility of it being rabid.

As Ricky closed in on the cat, he could see that it wasn't 'foaming at the mouth' so we called out to it, but it did not respond. Naturally, we could not leave it in the field to starve! So, Ricky bravely 'moved in' even closer to the cat to better appraise the situation. Noting the cat's white  covered eyes revealing that it was blind, he immediately picked it up.  We also noted that 'it' was a 'she', but had no idea that she was actually both blind AND deaf, just like world-famous Helen Keller.

We surmised that the 'inhumane' human who told us about her had dumped her, then made up the rabies story hoping that Ricky would shoot the cat. There was no way anyone could have 'just spotted' her in that field as they drove by. Also, she was wearing a too tight dog's flea collar around her neck, which we cut off. We knew it was a dog's collar because of the wide width. And because it was so tight, all of the fur underneath it was gone. We decided to name our 'new' cat, Bella, which means 'beautiful' in Italian, because all of God's creatures are beautiful.

We took Bella to our vet who examined her and said, 'This ten-year-old cat was probably born blind and deaf. The eye with the white coating over it indicates an old injury. We are not aware of any rabies cases in the area at this time. But poor Bella! She would have literally starved to death in that field, being both unable to see and/or hear any prey to catch and eat. She actually is starved, but her blood work shows that she's otherwise healthy.'

Luckily, we discovered this suffering kitty before she became prey or froze to death. We can't fathom why anyone would dump a helpless domestic animal in the middle of a country field to die, just like yesterday's trash, and leave it to die! They certainly did not 'set her free', as she was obviously not only starved, but terrorized.  Imagine being blind and deaf, and left all alone in a large field to fend for yourself!

To acclimate Bella to our household and 'gang' of four indoor cats and a dog, we temporarily 'isolated' her in a beautiful 'kitty palace' in our warm basement. Rick built the safe and comfortable 6' x 8' enclosure which meets all of Bella's needs. She definitely boasts a ' from rags to riches' story - it is like she won the kitty lottery! And after everyone reads about her in the newspaper, she'll even be 'famous'!

Before leaving for, and after returning from, work, we bring Bella upstairs for 'family time' and a cat-nap on the couch next to us. At first, our other kitties were confused as to why this strange cat would walk in circles, and into them.  None of them have attacked Bella, but even though she can't hear them, they still hiss and growl at her. Funnily enough, Bella contributes her fair share of 'noise', too.

Despite her disabilities, Bella loves to explore. She doesn't run into things so much now because she knows to use uses her whiskers as radar!  We make it easier for her, by not moving any of the furniture.  When she gets off course I pick her up, and she starts over again.  She walks softly and carefully, 'mapping out' her surroundings.

Bella loves to keep moving, so we are going to 'gift' her with some outdoor freedom by training her to walk using a harness and leash like Angel Scribe's cats do.

We cannot heal Bella's eyes and ears, but she's learning that she is loved.  When we pet her, she rubs her head against us and purrs. It feels like we are making progress.

Bella sets a wonderful example of love, patience, having a positive attitude, and the will to live through the harshest of life's trials and tribulations; she is a great teacher, sweet and special! Taking care of Bella is rewarding and our family is grateful for this 'honor'. We hope she lives for another ten years. Bella is definitely a cat well worth her 'weight in gold'!"
Bella's facebook page:


Be aware of blind and/or deaf pets' compensatory heightened senses: 
- To aid in room orientation, place differently textured rugs on floors and unlit candles of varying scents into each room.
- Deaf pets respond to vibrations; tap out different "Morse code-like" vibrations by, for example, tapping your toes on the floor, knocking your knuckles on a wall, or slapping a hand on the steps to alert them to feeding time, outside time, or bedtime.
- Memorizing the outlay of your home gives them freedom from mishaps; rearranging furniture or forgetting to put things into their "proper" places, can lead to harm.
- It is cruel to startle any pet.
- The warmth of your lap and your gentle touch help to expand and fill their silent and/or dark, world.
- Remember that Helen Keller had many limitations, but blossomed through patience and perseverance.
- When  you can no longer care for a pet, take it to a humane society.
Adopt An Appreciative Pet!
Tips 'n' Tales proofreader Beth Vento is available for professional proofreading:, with a reference to proofreading in the Subject line.
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