Diesel stalks and pounces like any pet cat, regularly “hunting” the people in the lab where he lives and leaping into the air to catch flies between his paws. What makes Diesel so remarkable is that he’s blind.
Member of the Olfaction Research Group at the Weizmann Institute of Science found Diesel when he was a kitten, nearly dead with severe feline herpes. He survived, but a vet had to surgically remove his eyes. Now two years old, he’s thriving, as you can see in the video above, posted by the journal Current Biology.
Diesel’s owners explain:
Diesel makes one re-think sensory processing of space. Visitors rarely notice his blindness. He moves around the ever-changing environment of our lab, never colliding with objects or people. His propagation is so fluid that many people simply don't believe he is without eyes. For us humans, space is visual. For Diesel it is auditory.
For sharks, the scientists point out, space can clearly be derived from smell (turns out, at least some sharks figure out which direction an odor is coming from based on when the scents arrive, rather than solely on their concentration).
That’s pretty cool, but in my book Diesel’s remarkable feats of auditory spatial localization are the cat’s meow.