If you ask Gracie’s human, Laura, what Gracie is like as a cat, she’ll tell you that this five-year-old, dark-gray-and-white kitty is as fearless as they come. Gracie has no qualms about running up to any and all dogs who happen to pass by her abode in California, and her list of hobbies includes the very canine-like walking on a leash, plus “riding in the car, going to stores, meeting new people — and cows and a pig and a bearded dragon — and entering pet costume contests.”
Gracie is also a cat who’s deaf — and has, unfortunately, developed feline lymphoma.
Despite her medical setbacks, this is how Gracie goes about tackling life with such verve.
According to Laura, Gracie and her siblings were born to a feral cat near Laura’s workplace.
“They got separated and given to me,” she says, adding that she bottle fed the kittens. (Gracie’s mom was also successfully trapped, spayed and returned.)
It was discovered that Gracie was born deaf. After reaching the kitten milestone of six months, she also developed bad teeth, kitty acne, and allergies.
On daily basis, Laura says that being deaf affects every part of Gracie’s life.
“I had to teach her sign language,” she says. “She only knows two signs — goodbye and come here.
“Because Gracie can’t hear a sudden, loud or stern ‘No!’ it was very hard to teach her things like not to go on the counters. Also, she doesn’t know if something is falling near her or if something is coming at her fast from behind.”
Gracie’s lack of audio awareness has means Laura has developed a “heightened awareness of how dangerous the world is for her” and settled into a role as her guardian. She says that if Gracie were to ever escape the house on her own “she would surely be dead because she’ll just go and sit in the middle of the street or run up to a coyote.”
But with the right adaptations and care, “Gracie’s entire world is safe and wonderful.”
On a small scale, this means Laura’s stopped buying anything made of glass or ceramic as Gracie very much enjoys pushing objects off countertops.
“She loves to watch things shatter — it’s as if she enjoys the visual of something morphing into something new,” Laura says. “And since we have tile floors, everything that hits the floor does indeed shatter. Every piece of glass or ceramic I once owned is long gone.”
On a larger scale, Laura has vowed to let Gracie experience the environment outside of her home safely: “I have chosen to give her the best life she could ever have, and that means I take the time to take her for walks, bring her places and show her the world.”
Unfortunately, despite her happy home life, last year Gracie’s health took a turn for the worse. She and her feline brother, Joey, were hospitalized in intensive care with suspected food poisoning. While Joey “bounced back,” Gracie was diagnosed with feline lymphoma. (Specifically, she has developed small cell intestinal lymphoma.)
After getting news of Gracie’s health, Laura organized an online fundraiser to help with medical bills.
As she reasons, “I thought who in God’s name would euthanize a five-year-old cat who still has so much life to live and love to give? Gracie has continued her adventurous life and is doing very well on her chemo — she is happy.”