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This story has a very sad beginning, but a lovely ending and it is about a beautiful cat named Gieu, who lived in the countryside of Italy,.

 Gieu became blind at about 4 years old . . . .
 
Some years ago, I lived on a famous wine estate in Chianti. This is a beautiful region, but what many don't know is that it is still an area where there are many hunters, hunters that don't have a lot to hunt for and whom by law, have the right to shoot any cat who strays more than about 400 yards from a house. 
 
I think you know where this is going. One day, on a very special occasion for me, and when I was at a castle (yes a castle) about 5 miles away I was waiting for my friends to arrive, I became very anxious that they were very late. When they arrived, they had very sad news,  lovely, bright, wonderful  Gieu, had been shot, at close range, with buckshot. Her face was full of buckshot. I am telling you this because it is an incredible story of survival and the will to live. My heart was broken, and on this very special day for me, (I was in charge of an art opening taking place at the castle) and I just wanted to be home with my lovely Gieu, but I could not because I had to wait until the opening had ended. 

For days we nursed our darling Gieu, and she had such a will to recover; I could only imagine the pain she was in, I was so angered and so very sad. Our Gieu lived. Slowly the buckshot worked it's way out of her face, somewhat like shrapnel does. But, she had buckshot in her eyes. How she lived for years with the buckshot in her eyes is a wonder of the way that animals can heal and live with their wounds that I will never understand. Gieu of course already knew her way around, but now she was blind. After Gieu healed, you could hardly tell that she was blind; it did not take that long before she could get around the house as if she could see perfectly, only occasionally bumping into something that had been moved. Eventually, I let her go outside, she would not be kept in. I know that some people would say we were insane, but the most incredible thing is, Gieu, was able to get around marvelously.  Gieu was not spayed, and she even had a litter of kittens a year later. Why had I not spayed her? She was such an intelligent "indoor outdoor" kitty, loving, caring and intelligent, I did not want to "end" her line. I actually did not think that she would have kittens again, I was amazed. So Gieu had a litter that year and the year after, after which, I decided it was time.  Gieu lived for many years and had you not known that she was blind, you could hardly tell; she stayed the wonderful, intelligent, loving Gieu she had always been. She knew her way around marvelously.  

Unless you have lived with a blind cat, you will never know just how capable these cats are; cats do have a sixth sense and they can get around blind better than
we do with sight. 

Because a cat is blind is no reason to put them down, or worse, to abandon them. A blind cat can be a loving and wonderful companion, as our Gieu was all the years that she lived.

Christy
Mercatale di Cortona, Italy