Blind Cat Spotted Drowning Is Rescued by Neighbors, Maps Out New Forever Home by Feel, Sound

BY Epoch Inspired Staff TIMEMarch 17, 2023 PRINT

The story of blind cat Baby’s finding his forever home begins in the water. A neighbor with binoculars spotted “two little triangles” off Tampa Bay’s seawall that were actually cat ears piercing the surface.

How It Started

“[My neighbor] had been watching the cat swim aimlessly, pulled along by the current, meanwhile birds were circling and swooping down,” Lindsay Buchanan told The Epoch Times. “She then went outside to find help, when she saw me and told me what was happening.”

Buchanan, who had been heading to work that morning in 2014, alerted family members to the cat’s plight. Just as her sister was about to swim out—it was a good ways off—a male neighbor appeared with a paddleboard and ladder and offered to help.

As Tampa Bay lacks a shoreline and is surrounded by a concrete, unfenced seawall, anyone (or any cat) can easily fall in.

“Just a couple weeks earlier, [the male neighbor] and I had been discussing the danger of the seawall, and how animals and people would have no way to get out if they fell in,” Buchanan said. “And that conversation had inspired him to purchase the ladder.”

Epoch Times Photo
(Left) A view of the water near Lindsay Buchanan’s home in Tampa Bay, Florida; (Right) Lindsay Buchanan’s neighbor rescues the cat from the water. (Courtesy of Lindsay Buchanan and @bubbsybabyboy)
Epoch Times Photo
Lindsay Buchanan’s neighbor with the cat on his paddleboard. (Courtesy of Lindsay Buchanan and @bubbsybabyboy)

Placing a small container to carry the cat on his paddleboard, the neighbor paddled out while Buchanan kept binoculars trained on the flagging feline in case it went under.

“It was nerve-racking watching the neighbor paddle out,” she said. “He finally got there, grabbed the cat, and placed [it] on the paddle-board. He didn’t need to put the cat inside the container; the cat didn’t struggle. [It] was exhausted and meowing loudly the whole ride back to the seawall. We were all so relieved and thankful [it] was saved!”

Once they got the animal ashore, as it was so large, everyone wondered if it was a pregnant female though they soon discovered it wasn’t.

Buchanan named the cat Baby.

Baby’s Blind?

Baby’s misadventures weren’t over. Buchanan soon noticed it was running into objects while walking and wondered if Baby’s vision was impaired. When she saw a large infected wound on Baby’s back, she took it to the vet where they determined the cat was blind and wasn’t a pregnant female after all but a large male.

Epoch Times Photo
Baby the cat in various stages of his recovery. (Courtesy of Lindsay Buchanan and @bubbsybabyboy)
Epoch Times Photo
A shot showing the wounds on Baby’s back.(Courtesy of Lindsay Buchanan and @bubbsybabyboy)

“I’ve asked various vets about his vision and if there’s any hope of restoring it,” Buchanan said. “They’ve told me it’s likely he was born blind or went blind at a young age, so nothing can be done.”

The vet shaved Baby’s back, revealing more wounds. Antibiotics were prescribed and the cat underwent surgery, yet the wounds didn’t heal and more wounds appeared.

Tests showed that Baby had contracted a flesh-eating bacteria from the water, and though an aggressive treatment exists, there were risks. “If left untreated though, the bacteria would kill him, so we had no choice,” Buchanan said.

Treatment wasn’t easy. At times, he grew weak and mostly slept. Sometimes Buchanan thought he wouldn’t make it. She administered his medicines for many weeks and he received laser surgery for his wounds. It was hard, but Baby made it.

He would now face another challenge: living blind in his new home.

Though blind, Baby is just as capable and independent as other cats, Buchanan said. He maps out rooms quickly—memorizing every chair leg and corner of furniture—so when he hears cat food being opened he comes bounding, navigating obstacles with no problems.

Epoch Times Photo
Baby the cat after his recovery.(Courtesy of Lindsay Buchanan and @bubbsybabyboy)
Epoch Times Photo
Baby the cat enjoying some of the pleasures of his new forever home.(Courtesy of Lindsay Buchanan and @bubbsybabyboy)

But he is blind, after all. So they worked out a sound-based system: “I use auditory cues to communicate with him, and he knows certain words,” Buchanan said.

She’ll tap on the floor to help him locate a treat, dish, or object and make different sounds with her fingers to indicate if she’s feeding or offering to pet.

“I will pat the edge of the couch or the floor so he can gauge distances before jumping up and down,” she said. “If he hesitates, I will say, ‘Help?’” Baby’s body language indicates if he wants to be carried up or down, or if he wants to do it himself. The latter is often the case.

How It’s Going

How’s Baby today? “Baby is doing great!” Buchanan said. “We have gotten more cats over the years, and they all consider him the leader of the pack. They love to snuggle up with him, which is funny to see considering he’s a bit of a stoic, grumpy type, but he seems to enjoy it, too.”

Buchanan has searched for Baby’s owners, but to no avail. So, he has settled into his new forever home where, Buchanan admits, he gets treated “like a king.”

“I wasn’t intending on having pets at that time but when it became clear there wasn’t a loving home to return him to, I couldn’t resist making him a member of my family!” Buchanan said.

Share your stories with us at, and continue to get your daily dose of inspiration by signing up for the Inspired newsletter at

Related Topics
Epoch Inspired staff cover stories of hope that celebrate kindness, traditions, and triumph of the human spirit, offering valuable insights into life, culture, family and community, and nature.
You May Also Like