by Jo Singer
Have you heard about Oskar the Blind Kitten, the internationally acclaimed feline star whose video (scroll to the bottom to watch) is currently widely circulating the Internet? His story was so intriguing, and the kitten so enchanting that I contacted Mick Sydlowski, his owner, to interview him.
According to Sydlowski, it was only by chance that he and his wife ran across Oskar as the result of an unrelated passion for collecting old musical instruments. As the story goes, their life with Oskar began after Mick followed up an advertisement on Craigslist for an old autoharp manufactured by the Oscar Schmidt Company.
But Mick and his wife Bethany had no idea what was really in store for them when they hopped into their car for a drive into the country to check out the instrument. Upon arriving at the farm, they quickly discovered the seller had an ulterior motive; not only was he showing them the harp, but he also wanted to introduce them to a tiny brown tabby kitten, the last of the litter. Since the little guy was totally blind, the seller’s concern was if the kitten did not find a home quickly, he would be killed by a predator, or ultimately end up in a shelter.
Fortunately for the tiny ball of fur, the Sydlowskis fell in love with him. But they weren’t sure it was wise to take him home. They didn’t want to upset Klaus, their resident cat, since he had openly displayed his displeasure with a kitten they previously tried to adopt.
But after discussing it over lunch, they returned to the farm to pick up the kitten who had stolen their hearts. Stopping at the vet on their way home and receiving a clean bill of health, the kitten, who was born blind due to a genetic abnormality, became their newest family member. In honor of the autoharp, he was named Oskar.
Sticking to his guns, Klaus initially had no interest in becoming Oskar’s big brother. But after slow and careful introductions, Klaus, a former stray with damaged ears, started to take to the little tyke. And in return, Oskar, an insatiably curious and playful kitty, awakened Klaus’ inner kitten. Now, like inseparable brothers, they constantly are hanging out together. Taking on a protective role to prevent serious mishaps, Klaus keeps a watchful eye over his little brother.
Mick and Bethany were concerned that due to Oskar’s blindness, he might get into trouble, not find his litter box, or get hurt bumping into things. However the kitten’s other senses have compensated well for his missing eyesight. This adaptable kitty has absolutely no difficulty dashing around the house, chasing Klaus, or galloping through the long hallway outside their apartment under close supervision. Oskar also has an ample supply of bell-filled toys with which he and Klaus enjoy playing.