December 1, 2016 7:42 pm
Updated: December 2, 2016 1:12 am

Blind kitten rescued in Regina

(Warning: graphic content.) It's a tale of survival. A tiny kitten weighing less than two pounds and without proper eyes has been saved from the cold. Jules Knox reports on the unlikely story of a cat called Oracle.

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Oracle isn’t a typical kitten. She was born blind without any proper eyes.

The eleven-week-old cat was diagnosed with microphthalmia, which means her eyes are underdeveloped and not visual, Brie Hamblin, Regina Humane Society’s veterinary care director said.

Oracle was found outside in an industrial yard and brought to the Regina Humane Society a couple of weeks ago.

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“Basically, she does have eyes, but they’re very, very tiny and for all intents and purposes, she’s blind,” Bill Thorn, Regina Humane Society’s director of marketing and public relations, said.

“When she came in, she was very fearful, and she would hiss at any movement, any sound, in a defensive way,” Thorn said.

He doesn’t know how Oracle ended up outside by herself, but he suspects somebody dropped her off.

“She was found by herself, that’s all we really do know. She may have been dropped there by somebody,” he said.

“It’s possible she was from a litter nearby, although typically if there was a mom with some kittens hiding in a shed she wouldn’t let the kitten wander off like that.”

Thorn said it was concerning that Oracle was found outside in the cold.

“The dangers from traffic, from people, from toxins and this time of year the cold. We get a lot cats in that have frozen ears, sometimes worse, sometimes deceased because they’ve literally frozen to death,” he said.

Oracle is now in a foster home with a staff member who has experience rehabilitating feral kittens.

“So far she’s responded quite well to her environment, starting to learn that the world isn’t as scary as it seems and starting to play a little bit more like a kitten,” Thorn said.

Oracle needs to have her tiny eyes removed, Brie Hamblin, Regina Humane Society’s veterinary care director, said.

“They’ll build up debris and be at risk of infection and whatnot for later in life, so we’re just waiting for her to get bigger so we can perform those procedure,” she said.

Blind animals usually have heightened senses such as hearing and touch, Hamblin said.

“In her case I imagine she hears very, very well,” she said.

“She will develop a blind map of her environment eventually in the future and be able to navigate around whatever home she goes to quite well.”

Hamblin said it’s common for animals to have one eye affected by micropthalmia but not both eyes.

“Animals usually do quite well without sight,” said Thorn. “We’ve seen them here at the shelter on a somewhat regular basis. They come in and they can’t see or there’s some sort of infection, but they do tend to be very resilient.”

The Regina Humane Society estimates it will cost almost $4,000 for Oracle’s surgery and care if there are no unforeseen problems. The Regina Humane Society is hoping donations to its faith fund will help cover Oracle’s costs.

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