Thanks to Sheba and their #FeedYourPassion campaign, I had the opportunity to go to the Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary (BCR) in St Paul, NC. I have a great video I can’t wait to share with you all but it’s still being approved by Sheba – as soon as I get the OK, I’ll post it to the blog. In the meantime I didn’t want to spare anymore time telling you about my experience.
I was both excited and nervous to visit given I’d never spent any time with sight-impaired cats but as you can see, they were quick to make me feel at home!
It’s truly amazing to watch the cats climb up and down the cat towers with ease. They don’t hesitate for even a moment and are incredibly trusting and loving.
I was lucky enough to be there during an Open House where some people drove over two hours to come and just hang out and love on the cats (many came loaded down with supplies for the Sanctuary). Some come every month to spend the time with the cats as a sort of therapy, a time to de-stress and visit old friends (the cats of course!).
The rescue was founded by Alana Miller in 2005 in a rather unplanned manner after fulfilling a lifelong dream of purchasing a farm (complete with horses her daughter had wanted and she of course cares for to this day!).
While at a local Petsmart she happened upon Louie, a 6-week-old kitten who had been found under a porch and was very sick, so sick in fact that he ultimately had to have his eyes removed. This is how Alana got her first blind cat.
As she states on the Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary website:
“If it were not for him (Louie) showing us that blind cats are just regular cats that just happened to not see, we might not have been brave enough to take in more. Louie has taught us what patience and true strength is!”
I guess word spread because after the 4th blind cat she rescued she decided to make it official and create a sanctuary for these sweet animals being put down merely because they were sightless. The Sanctuary accepts cats with 20% or less sight, but they are currently at full capacity with 89 cats.
It turns out many cats lose their eyesight due to untreated Upper Respiratory Infections (URIs) and even untreated worms! It’s sad to think that in many cases it can be avoided with proper health care.
This is a true sanctuary and cats that come here stay here forever and are not adopted out. Before my visit I was conflicted about this and wondered why these loving cats couldn’t be adopted-out to loving homes so that more blind cats might be rescued. But after speaking with Alana I better understand her philosophy.
So many of the cats at the sanctuary have been through so much trauma and various different shelters and homes. She wants to be sure they are never dumped again so she provides them all with their final forever home where they will live out their lives happy and in the lap of luxury.
There are two houses built specially for the cats with 7 large rooms in total – each with their own patio (or catio). While the kitties might not be able to see, the catios allow them to sit in sun puddles, hear nature, get fresh air and just have more space to roam in general.
Each of the cat homes is equipped with a washing machine and dryer and the cat beds and towels are washed every day! It’s amazing how odor-free the houses are.
The litter is scooped several times a day and Alana manages to do this all with only two full time employees, 4 part time employees and a handful of volunteers. This is definitely hard work and not for the faint of heart!
There’s a web-cam set up in a different room every day for 24hours if you want to experience the Sanctuary yourself. All you have to do is log into USTREAM. At 3pm EST they give a tour of all the cats.
It’s amazing how many people log-on every day and know the cats by name and if they’ve received any donations in the mail (supplies etc.) they open them up on the USTREAM channel live at 6:30pm each night.
During the two days I went to volunteer (read: played with the cats, I’m sure I was the worst volunteer ever!), there was a woman by the name of Fiona who had come from Asheville to volunteer at the sanctuary for an entire week.
The time spent at the sanctuary impacted her greatly and made me realize the greater impact of what Alana does, not just for animals but us two-legged creatures as well. I wanted to leave you with Fiona’s own words on how the sanctuary impacted her personally.
In Fiona’s words:
Many fans of Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary (BCR) don’t know that Alana Miller is a certified paramedic. She has saved many lives. These days she saves the lives of cats who would most likely be put down at shelters without question, then gives them a forever home. I want to tell you that Alana is still saving human lives too, whether she realizes it or not.
Here’s how BCR changed my life.
I had already decided that I wanted a career change that would let me do something I really cared about from the heart. Then I found out about BCR. I decided to spend a week volunteering, doing the cleaning and everything else that makes BCR such a great place for special needs cats. It was the experience of a lifetime. I learned so much – about cats, about hard work, and dedication.
After my experience at BCR I’m more convinced than ever that I want to work in a shelter or a veterinary office. I’m now looking into what I must do to become a Veterinary Technician.
This is how Alana helped to save my life.
A super easy way to help BCR is by voting for them in The Animal Rescue Site $100,000 Shelter+ Challenge.
- Just click here: http://www.thehungersite.com/clickToGive/ars/shelter-challenge?link=ctg_ars_shelter-challenge_from_home_MegaNav
- Fill in: Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary Inc., St Pauls, NC and confirm on the next page.
- You can vote once a day!
I’m so happy and grateful I was able to visit this amazing sanctuary. I don’t think I could do what Alana does day in and day out.
These cats are very happy to have found her. And I would have no second thoughts about adopting a blind or sight-impaired cat in the future. They are truly like any other cat and have no idea they are different.
Do any of you have sight impaired dogs or cats? Or have you had a chance to interact with any? If so, what did you find most surprising about them.
Disclaimer: My trip to Blind Cat Rescue was sponsored by Sheba as part of their #FeedYourPassion campaign. All opinions are my own.