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In Memory of Phaedra, the Blind Cat Who Inspired an Animal Rescue Group

She died of an apparent heart attack, but her owners' efforts will live on in her name.

Angela Lutz  |  Apr 1st 2016


We are sad to report that Phaedra, the blind kitty who inspired her humans, Fred and Marty Hoewe, to form the rescue group Phaedra & Phriends, has passed away from an apparent heart attack.

The news was reported via Phaedra’s Facebook page on March 27: “It is with a heavy heart that we let our phans know that we lost our dear sweet Phaedra,” the message reads. “She passed away in her sleep last night/early this morning. Dr. Heitman believes that she most likely had a heart attack — it would have been quick and painless as her eyes were closed and she was in her bed.”

Though Phaedra is gone, her legacy lives on.

Though Phaedra is gone, her legacy lives on.

Since the group was founded in 2012, Fred and Marty have focused on trap-neuter-return efforts for feral and community cats, as well as advocacy and adoption efforts for special-needs kitties such as Phaedra, who was born with a condition called micro-opthalmia, which means “tiny eyes.” In 2013, Marty and Fred had rescued six blind kittens from the feral colony near their home with this condition.

When Catster spoke with Marty three years ago, she said blind and special-needs cats deserve a chance at life as much as any others.

Phaedra and fellow blind kitty Keller.

Phaedra and fellow blind kitty Keller.

She added that a common misconception about disabled cats is that they are “disposable and need to be put down immediately.” Through her experiences with her many special-needs cats, who have disabilities as disparate as blindness, hip dysplasia, and claustrophobia, she knows that exactly the opposite is true. Her blind cats, especially, have amazed people with their ability to live life to the fullest despite their lack of sight.

A drawing of Marty and Phaedra by one of Phaedra's "phans."

A drawing of Marty and Phaedra, by one of Phaedra’s “phans.”

“Most people who watch them play wouldn’t even know they couldn’t see, because they use their whiskers, tail, hearing, and sense of smell to run around the house like all other cats,” Marty says. “Yes, they do run into things from time to time — but so do I.”

Via Phaedra’s Facebook page, which has nearly 7,000 followers, Marty has created a forum for animal rights advocates across the globe that will certainly live on even though Phaedra is gone. Fred has recently created t-shirts honoring Phaedra to raise money for their rescue efforts. Get one here.

Photos courtesy of Phaedra & Phriends.

Read more from Angela Lutz:

About Angela: This not-crazy-at-all cat lady loves to lint-roll her favorite dress and go out dancing. She also frequents the gym, the vegan coffee joint, and the warm patch of sunlight on the living room floor. She enjoys a good cat rescue story about kindness and decency overcoming the odds, and she’s an enthusiastic recipient of headbutts and purrs from her three cats, Bubba Lee Kinsey, Phoenix, and Salvador.