Birdie, who is blind, and Lou, who has limited vision, nap together at their forever home.

Imagine being a shelter pet without the benefit of eyesight to guide you. Surely an animal in this situation would be frightened and hopeless, right? Not if you ask Lou and Ray! 

Palmetto Animal League rescued the 5-month-old sisters from a rural shelter. Lou had limited vision and, sadly, Ray lost what little eyesight she had left, leaving her completely blind. 

Lou immediately came to her sister’s aid, taking on the all-important role of Ray’s seeing eye cat! Their story touched many people back in September 2020, including PAL supporter Nicole Lucignoli, whose two beloved cats had recently passed away. 

“I remember when Nicole came in to look at Lou and Ray the first time, she was in love at first sight,” said Sally Dawkins, PAL adoption coordinator. 

Nicole had no previous experience with special needs pets, but that didn’t matter to her.

“Lou immediately came down to me from where she was perched,” said Nicole. “I noticed her eyes were a little different. I started playing with the other cats and then noticed Ray had no eyes. I went back out and read their profiles and my heart just melted.”

Nicole learned that Lou and Ray had been at PAL for almost a year, and that was it! She went home and told her boyfriend, Paul Steinberg, that they had just adopted two blind cats.

Six months after adopting Lou and Ray, Nicole came back to PAL and asked if we had any more visually impaired cats up for adoption. That’s how she and Paul fell in love with a blind cat named Birdie.  

“We found out Birdie had a little buddy named Belle who was just as cute,” Nicole said. “We knew we didn’t want to split them up, so we adopted both.”

They may be blind, but Lou, Ray, and Birdie navigate their home just as gracefully and masterfully as sharp-sighted Belle.   

“Don’t be afraid to adopt an animal just because they look a little different or need a little extra care,” Nicole advises others seeking to adopt. “We really don’t consider them special needs. You would never know they’re blind.”  

Nicole and Paul saw the beauty in three blind cats and gave them a forever home but say it’s their life that has changed for the better. 

If you are considering adopting a pet, visit Palmetto Animal League’s No Kill Adoption Center, located at 56 Riverwalk Blvd in Okatie’s Riverwalk Business Park Monday through Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. 

Lindsay Perry is the marketing coordinator for Palmetto Animal League.