Seeing Eye Cat: Compassionate Cat Guides Blind Dog Around
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Sometimes it feels like people can learn a thing or two from animals about showing compassion and true friendship. Case in point: the unlikely friendship between an 14-year-old farm dog named Tervel and a stray cat named Pudditat.
You see, Tervel is completely blind and partially deaf, and while there are plenty of tools and solutions to help people who are visually impaired, there is not much available for assisting our furry friends who suffer from limited eyesight. In fact, before meeting Pudditat, the blind dog almost never left the safety of his own bed.
Fortunately, Pudditat’s love for Tervel knows no boundaries, and what he does for his pal is completely unprecedented.
Terfel The Blind Dog
Terfel’s upbringing wasn’t a happy one. According to his current owner, Judy Godfrey-Brown of Holyhead, North Wales, Terfel’s previous owner threw him against the wall as a puppy, which tragically caused him to go partially deaf. It also altered his vision.
Life took another unfortunate turn for Terfel when he was eight years old. Veterinarians spotted cataracts on his eyes, and soon they turned a foggy, milky white. Over time, it became increasingly more difficult for him to see, until eventually he couldn’t see anything at all.
Eventually, the already-partially deaf dog couldn’t walk through the house without bumping into the furniture and hurting himself. He learned to stay in his dog bed most of the time so he didn’t risk any injuries.
This was not an ideal life for a farm dog who needed plenty of exercise to stay healthy. He would have likely slept in his basket for the rest of his life – if Judy hadn’t gotten a brilliant idea…
Meet Pudditat The Cat
One day, while Terfel was curled up in his basket, Judy took in a stray cat she named Pudditat, who was apparently “a very mean cat”.
“He’s not very nice to the other cats,” Judy told NatGeo. “He will bully the other cats a bit into submission.”
But while Pudditat may have been a bully to Judy’s other cats, he did make one friend at her new residence — Terfel! As unlikely as it seemed, the blind, deaf dog had warmed Pudditat’s cold demeanor.
Pudditat “prefers Terfel to any of the other cats,” Judy said. “I think he must have known Terfel was blind because he sort of bonded with him straight away.” Judy added, “I’ve never seen anything like it — most cats and dogs hate each other.”
Judy couldn’t say enough about Pudditat’s intuition — a sixth sense, as she called it. “I think Pudditat must have realized that Terfel was a bit vulnerable,” she said. “He just seemed to know that there was a need there—somehow.”
Still, this friendship went far beyond just a few late-evening snuggles in the shared bed where Terfel and Pudditat slept side-by-side. Pudditat took on another role entirely in Terfel’s life.
A Seeing Eye… Cat!
Pudditat offered Terfel more than friendship – he also offered his friend his services as a seeing eye cat!
According to Judy, Terfel relied “on [Pudditat] to help him get around and avoid bumping into things.” Somehow, through an inexplicable bond, Terfel became more confident with his feline helper around.
Make no mistake, this wasn’t a case of Terfel making friends with every creature that rubbed up against him. Judy owned five other cats before Pudditat and he didn’t show them the same affections. Pudditat and Terfel’s relationship was truly unique!
So how does the duo get around? “He uses his paws to guide him,” Judy explained. “They are glued to each other.” Indeed, Pudditat would often lead the blind pooch from his spot on the couch to other parts of the house. He would even paw open a door or two for him!
Pudditat didn’t limit himself to helping Terfel avoid bumping into couches, corners, or chairs. The cat also helped Terfel get back to his farm dog roots by guiding his canine friend outdoors, too!
“It’s often when they’re out, they’re nose to tail with Pudditat in the lead and Terfel following him,” Judy said. “It’s lovely to see, especially when you’re used to dogs chasing cats.”
Thanks to Pudditat’s guidance, Judy didn’t have to take Terfel on walks anymore — a relief in her old age. The cat could open the door and take his buddy outside for some fresh air all by himself.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen [a dog-cat duo] that have got on quite so well as these two, and they relied upon each other in that same way,” Judy said. It’s tough to think what these fellas’ lives might have been like without one another!
Without Pudditat in his life, Terfel would have undoubtedly wasted away indoors, and Pudditat would have likely lived a life of solitude with no interest in his feline companions.
It’s amazing that these two could put aside their interspecies rivalry and depend on each other for affection, guidance, and confidence.
Check out the full NatGeo video about these incredible friends: