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After almost a year I can, I think , confirm what has always been suspected: Isis is unable to see anything beyond light and shadow. When she appears to be trying to ‘see’ either of these, she tilts her head as far back as it will go, and rolls her eyes upwards.
It was my neighbour B. who first pointed this out. He had noticed that she did this tilting when she smelled him in his garden and he went to the fence to ‘talk’ to her. She appeared to be attempting to see him.
It seems that there is a very tiny window in one or both eyes which lets in light at a certain, very specific angle of tilt.
She does the tilting too when it is very sunny and the big, black shadow of a tree frightens her. She drops down close to the ground, pushes back her head so that it is virtually at a right angle to her shoulders and stares upwards.
I mentioned that a few nights ago she came into the bedroom and immediately growled at the light from the Hudl. It was on a pillow, on my knees on the bed, just at the angle where it would be discernible to her rolled up eyes. At first I was surprised at the growling. Once she settles on the bed, she seems not to notice the Hudl light. Since she is usually fine once dozing, I had assumed that she was only grouchy because she was tired. But then it made sense. I guess that in fact she becomes more comfortable when her head is level with the light source because she can no longer see it.
Similarly, she doesn’t respond to an object being moved in front of her eyes but when trees or shrubs are agitated by a sudden strong wind, she crouches in fear tilting her head back.
It has taken a long time to put together the fragments of behaviour and make sense of them. But at least I now know her well enough to recognise when she is uncomfortable and apprehensive rather than just being a podengo.
Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact email@example.com or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk