The first two pics are of the blue gray male cat, Buster Catlett1 Johnson. His pics didn't come out too well, partly because he wouldn't sit still and partly because I was using a $20 camera. This cat happens to be blind. Unlike some non-blind human actors who ham up their characters' blindness (e.g., the actor2 who played Jody Foster's character's blind friend in Contact), it's not immediately obvious that Buster is blind. He "looks" at you if you address him, and he navigates pretty well, including walking up and down stairs. Apparently, he has memorized the layout of my mother's place. Oddly, there's not even a false step when he gets to the top or bottom of the stairs; it's almost as if he knows how many steps there were. Also, his eyes appear fairly healthy and normal (though if you look closely, you notice his pupils are a little dilated).
Incidentally, some woman recently got a book published about her blind cat, but her cat looks pretty dreadful (it was born with no eyes and had them sewn up). She also targeted her book to adults. I think a book about a blind cat would work better as a children's book. I just need to find an illustrator and some time and I'll be in business.
This photo is of the female cat, Buster's sister Polly. This came out better because she was at eye level on a cat condo, and perched up there, was less inclined to move around. She isn't blind. The only thing that she can do that Buster can't do in terms of moving around is that she can jump. Buster gets to the same places by climbing.
1That middle name, "Catlett" is a new addition. I had Cheryl read this exchange from a comment thread on Fred Wilson's blog between me and a fellow who "would give an appendage on the left side" of his body to have ever met "George Catlett Marshall". I never knew that was George Marshall's middle name. Cheryl decided it would make a good middle name for a cat.
2William Fichtner, same actor who played Van Zant in Heat:
Neil McCauley: What am I doing? I'm talking to an empty telephone.
Van Zant: I don't understand.
Neil McCauley: 'Cause there is a dead man on the other end of this fuckin' line