with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Traveling Blind Cat Dahni is in the News

Cover of Ma'Ariv magazineYep, Dahni is famous. Impressed with Dahni after a visit, a friend told her daughter, the magazine writer, about his accomplishments. The daughter called me for an interview with Dahni – and me. A few months later it was published in the Ma’Ariv Children’s Magazine which is published weekly in the national Hebrew newspaper. Here is Brent’s translation of the Hebrew article for your enjoyment.

For more on Dahni and his adventures, check out his personal web page, and for more on taking your pet on the road, visit Pets on the Road.

Dahni Doesn’t Know He’s Blind

by Meikhal Ben-David
Translated by Brent VanFossen

Dahni is a dumpster cat with no eyes, but that doesn’t prevent him from doing everything that normal cats do, and so much more. Have you ever seen a cat that does his business in the toilet? If not, then you need to meet Dahni, definitely not an ordinary cat!

Dahni uses the toilet like a good kitty! No clean up. Photo by Lynda VanFossenOur hero is Dahni, an extraordinary black street cat. Or perhaps, the hero is Lorelle, his owner, an American who has lived in the country for several years. She understood how special Dahni was and saved his life. She’s no ordinary woman!

A while back, I heard about a cat that did its business in the bathroom!

Yes, he sits on the toilet exactly like a human being. That seemed wonderful to me, but when I learned that Dahni was a blind cat, with no eyes at all, I was even more impressed.

The story begins two years ago. Dahni was born in the streets of Tel-Aviv, usually a very unlucky fate, because what is there to help him on the streets? Summer burns without water, winter is cold with no shelter, and hunger lasts the whole year. But life can be even crueler. At the age of one month, he was found critically injured on the street, with one eye out of its socket and the second displaced. It was a terrible sight. The woman who found him, a friend of Lorelle’s, tried to save him, but she had to leave the country, and so she asked Lorelle to take the young kitten to the
veterinarian to be put to sleep and out of his misery. But – fate intervened!

click to view enlarged version of the article - beware it is 230k in size On the day that Lorelle got Dahni, she was sick and couldn’t take him to the vet, so Dahni stayed at her place for five days until she got well. During this time, Lorelle discovered that Dahni was smart, clever, and loyal, and
it was impossible to separate them.

Lorelle saw that Dahni was able to manage in the house, despite all the furniture, flower pots, and appliances that blocked his way. He would often run into an unknown object, but when that happened, he would bypass the obstacle the very next time, his front feet serving him as a walking stick – and so he discovered all the obstacles.

Even from the first day he recognized his name, and the word “food” would bring him running.

Lorelle says that Dahni doesn’t even know he’s blind, and they don’t tell him… He gets around the house just like an ordinary cat, playing with a toy mouse and, unbelievably – he loves to play fetch. He begs for someone to throw him a ball or a toy and then he runs, finds it, and brings it back to be thrown again and again and again. Like a healthy cat, he loves to jump in the air, but because he doesn’t know when he will land, he gets in a landing position (while still in the air) and waits for his feet to touch down. He’s occasionally naughty or even annoying, and he’ll wait in ambush under the
sofa for passing legs or ankles, and then attack them with love bites that can be really painful.

Even in the bathroom, Dahni doesn’t mess around. He always hits into the toilet, except Dahni doesn’t like filth. So, if there’s no one around to flush the water for him, he prefers to use the floor. And when traveling? He travels on a leash (exactly like a dog) and peepee? Only in a pot!

Without a doubt, Dahni was lucky, but Lorelle thinks she was really lucky to find him. Lorelle says that she has learned a lot of things from Dahni and says that his determination and stubbornness to live like all other animals gives her inspiration. She’s learned not to give up, and that everyone can succeed!

Sidebar: The Trained Cat

Lorelle, who has raised cats her entire life, claims that contrary to what everyone thinks, it is possible to train cats, but you have to use a special kind of training. How? Simple. You have to patiently repeat each order until they understand and learn, exactly like teaching a parrot to talk – and it works!

For more on Dahni and his adventures, check out his personal web page.


  • Posted August 10, 2005 at 4:30 | Permalink


    I am adopting a blind kitten next week. He lost both of his eyes due to infection. Thanks for the info about Dahni and I hope Ray (his given name and I like it) will do as well. I also have 2 other cats and I think they will all get along. Any advice on adapting cats to each other? Teresa

  • Posted August 10, 2005 at 9:29 | Permalink

    Good luck with Ray and you are in for the life changing experience you cannot imagine. Life with Dahni taught me more about patience and unconditional life, and hope, than anything or anyone I’ve encountered before, and that is saying a lot for me.

    As for a new pet entering the household, there are tons of websites with advice and they all say the same thing. Keep the animals separated for three to seven days and slowly introduce them for short periods of time after that and reward them all for good behavior. Patience patience and more patience.

    It it weren’t for our lifestyle, I would have two cats, but since we often take our cat on the airplane, and the costs associated have quadrupled in the past few years, one is more than we can afford!

    Good luck and let me know how Ray does and the wonders you will discover about your self by having such a special love in your life.

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