Libby, the Seeing-Eye Cat

by J.D. Roth on 14 August 2008 · 9 comments

in Behavior,Interspecies

Lynn sent me an item that’s been making the rounds as an e-mail forward. Though I’m reluctant to post something that I cannot properly credit, I’m going to do so. I like it that much.

Terry Burns from Middleburg, Pennsylvania shared this photograph and caption with an unknown magazine:

The text reads:

Cashew, my 14-year-old yellow Lab, is blind and deaf. Her best friend is Libby, 7, her seeing-eye cat. Libby steers Cashew away from obstacles and leads her to her food. Every night she sleeps next to her. The only time they’re apart is when we take Cashew out for a walk. Without this cat, we know Cashew would be lost and very, very lonely indeed. It’s amazing but true: This is one animal who knows what needs to be done and does it day in and day out for her friend.

If you know where this originated, please let me know so that I can offer proper credit!

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Gary 09 September 2008 (16) at 16:11
Jude 09 September 2008 (19) at 19:30

I saw the story at readers digest, but I didn’t see the picture there. My friend also sent it in an e-mail. The location I saw it was


Paul Baughman 08 August 2010 (11) at 11:57

So, when is a dog to handicapped to go on? That poor dog…

Maybe he’s happy and active, or (actively running into walls)

A sad story. I’m sorry I read it.


emily 02 February 2011 (11) at 11:15

I’m so amazed at animals’ nurturing and protective natures. We as humans could learn much from them in terms of acceptance and getting on with it, to lead a happy life.

Please don’t feel sorry for this dog. I’ve worked with blind humans for many years. I don’t feel sad for them, I help them when needed, and learn from them always.

Pity is destructive to everyone.


Melanie 08 August 2010 (09) at 09:04

I don’t know anything about where the story originated, but just wanted to comment and say thank you for posting it even if you didn’t have proper credit at first. It’s such a great story and I totally believe it to be completely true – animals are so amazing. JD – are you a cat lover? (Or obviously a lover of all animals? – more than likely that is the answer!)

Anyway, if you are a cat lover we have the cutest cat and I will send you some pics. Maybe you would like to do a post on this particular breed of cat – called a “Scottish Fold” (google it and look at the amazingly hilarious pics). We actually rescued ours (he doesn’t have papers, but who cares) from the SPCA and then began finding out the story about this breed. They are quite unusual and he replaced our kitty that we had had for almost 15 years. We all almost died when Kitty died, so we got “Sam” 2 days later. I will send you some pics if you would like to write about this very cool breed of cat. We have talked to a couple of breeders (not many breeders even exist!) – and purebreds sell for between $2,000-$2,500!!! We were so amazed to learn all of this and can’t believe he was close to being non-existent – papers or no papers!!! Email me and let me know if you’re interested in this info and some pics from us of Sam. I wish we had a video camera and could get you some good video, but we don’t, so all I can send is pics, but don’t want to send stuff to you that you might not be interested in.




Dawn Wilson 10 October 2010 (18) at 18:26

Dear J.D. Roth,

I searched, and found a pic from the URL:

“Clipped From”, is what is says at the top of the clipmarks page…..

The exact link is here:

Then, I did…….. “View page information” and found it is from Mon Oct 29, 2007 from a Referring URL:

That’s as close as I could make of anything…..of course you know the owners name…..and city, state as:

Terry Burns from Middleburg, Pennsylvania

Maybe this will get ya there…….;)

Good Luck,

Dawn Wilson or


Dawn Wilson 10 October 2010 (18) at 18:39

J.D., I also found this:

submitted on 10-24-08 by member name: luckystar at the forum listed below.

ASPCA Cat of the Year
ASPCA: News Alert: October 22, 2008

In 1998, a six-week-old kitten abandoned in a pet store was found to be so severely malnourished that a veterinarian warned she was unlikely to survive. She was taken home by Terry and Deborah Burns of Middleburg, PA, who soon discovered that her rough start would not deter this intuitive little feline—whom they named Libby—from performing a very special task.

In her new home, the kitten met the Burns’s seven-year-old Lab/shar pei mix, Cashew. Terry Burns remembers how their relationship began: “Cashew would poke her head into the kitten box for nuzzles, seemingly just to let Libby know that she wasn’t alone.” The two spent the next seven years together.

By the time Cashew was 13 years old, she’d lost the use of her eyes and ears. Libby, who’d had no training as a therapy pet, began to care for her friend. She guided Cashew by the shoulder to her food and water dish, through doorways and to her dog crate, where the two slept together. If Cashew walked too close to the furniture, Libby would immediately position herself between the canine and the item to keep her from colliding. “Libby was also protective about people entering their sleeping area,” says Burns. “If we came in, she would look intently at us as if to say, ‘Please stay quiet. I just got her settled and sleeping.’”

When Cashew was taken on her daily walks around the property, Libby—who liked to hang out on the patio instead of being indoors—would randomly show up. “It was as if she was checking on us to make sure we were providing proper supervision for Cashew,” says Terry. “After taking a look, she would race back to the house and wait at the driveway for her friend to return.”

When Cashew passed away at age 15, Libby missed her deeply, and continued to sleep in their bed and watch for her return. “The only time they had ever been apart was when Cashew went for her walks,” says Terry.

For being an intuitive and extraordinary guide cat, Libby was named the ASPCA Cat of the Year for 2008, and this ten-year-old tabby shows no signs of giving up her post as caretaker. Burns informs us, “Libby has now moved on to protecting her shy feline sister, Lucy.”

Dawn Wilson


Dawn Wilson 10 October 2010 (18) at 18:50

ASPCA Cat of the Year Oct 24, 2008


Brendan 03 March 2011 (13) at 13:23

What a very touching story.


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