‘The spirit behind the eyes’

Dot, the eyeless cat, gets second chance at life

COURTNEY HAYDEN/Sun-Gazette Dot, the eyeless cat, sits on a desk at the Beckoning Cat Project. Since Dot’s rehabilitation, she has become part of the Beckoning Cat Project family.

A small kitten named Dot was brought to the Beckoning Cat Project in July 2017 with two ruptured eyes and has had an excellent rehabilitation since having her eyes removed. Dot was found in the woods and was taken to New Beginnings Feral Rescue in Wilburton, where they then brought her to Beckoning Cat.

Nearby the woods where Dot was found, “a garage had just been demolished and there was a lot of feral cats living in the garage,” said Kerry Perry, one of three original founders and director at the Beckoning Cat Project. The people who found Dot tried to catch some of the cats but couldn’t — Dot was the only one they could get because she “was totally blind,” she said. “She was the only one they could catch that day.”

Through spaying and neutering, the Beckoning Cat Project’s main service, they are able to work with New Beginnings Feral Rescue. New Beginnings contacted Beckoning Cat to see if they could help Dot.

The Beckoning Cat Project began in 2013, with their clinic opening in 2014; since, they have been able to spay and neuter 16,000 cats. They aim to spread compassion for animals and their mission is to help the population problem and feral or stray cats like Dot.

Dot was born in May, so when she was brought to the Beckoning Cat Project in July, she was only 7 to 8 weeks old and 1.2 pounds.

Since “both of her eyes had ruptured, they were bulging — they had to be removed,” Perry said. “We have seen some ruptured eyeballs because we do work a lot ferals and strays, but this was both eyes and she was just so tiny she could fit in the palm of your hand, she was that little.”

Ruptured eyes like Dot’s happen from severe upper-respiratory issues, Perry said. Although the Beckoning Cat Project’s primary service is spaying and neutering they did remove Dot’s eyes.

A lot of people thought Dot should be euthanized because of her eyes, although those who met her fell in love with her spirit and story. In particular, those at the Beckoning Cat Project, Perry said. Her story was shared over social media and people wanted to adopt her, but her home is now with the Beckoning Cat Project.

Dot was, and still is, a happy, perky and playful cat — she runs, plays and jumps like a normal cat would — even with her ruptured eyes, she said. Dot also would be sitting on people’s shoulders and even snuggling in their hair.

Perry, and those at Beckoning Cat, fell in love with “the spirit behind the eyes,” she said.

Although Dot did come from a feral colony and was a feral cat, she adapted quickly — becoming social — as she was brought in as a kitten, Perry said.

Feral colony’s of cats form because there is food, shelter and water, like the garage Dot was found near, Perry said. The best way to aid this problem is not through euthanization, but through spaying and neutering.

“If you go in and take a colony of cats and you say ‘I’m just going to trap them all and euthanize them,’ it’s going to fill right back in and it’s called the vacuum effect,” she said.

“Her life is worth saving just like the mole that is in the ground and the bird that sings in the sky, they all are here for whatever reason and you don’t just discard animals,” Perry said.

Dot had her eyes removed, one at a time. This is not a service the Beckoning Cat Project provides for pets as it is full service and should be done through one’s veterinary, she said. With Dot’s eyes removed, her other senses have been heightened.

“We weren’t 100 percent sure she was going to make it because you don’t know what else is going on and don’t know how bad it is,” Perry said.

“We are amazed everyday. We all just sit here and we love watching her. We love having her here,” Perry said. “Animals aren’t people, but they don’t get beat down. They are just like ‘this is what I am, this is what I have, this is how I deal with and on goes life.’ “

Since Dot’s rehabilitation, she has become the mascot of the Beckoning Cat Project and is a part of their family. Since arriving in July, she has made a best friend at the clinic, Martin, also called “Marty,” a fellow cat that resides at the Beckoning Cat Project.

When visitors stop by the Beckoning Cat Project, they typically do not know Dot does not have eyes while playing with her because of her spirit and energy until the employees tell me or they get a glimpse, Perry said.

“This is a cat that was in extreme pain, she was blind, she was just out there by herself,” and “this cat wants to have a life and she was worth saving,” Perry said. “We could see this behind her.”

For more information about Dot and her story, visit “Dot, the cat that doesn’t know she’s blind” on Facebook.

For more information about the Beckoning Cat Project, visit www.beckoningcatproject.org.