Blessed Dalai the cat struck down by mysterious illness

Tracie Knight with Dalai in her garden. Picture: Jon Savage

Tracie Knight with Dalai in her garden. Picture: Jon Savage

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A CAT blessed by the Dalai Lama has just days to live unless its owner can conjure up £2000 for a life-saving MRI scan.

The 12-year-old feline, named Dalai – after the Tibetan religious leader – was discovered lifeless in a plant pot last week, not far from his Morningside home, suffering from kidney failure.

Tracie Knight knew days earlier there was something wrong with her pet, after his pupils dilated to an unusual size and he began drooling in his sleep.

He is now suffering from sight problems among other health complications, and needs an MRI scan so experts can find the root of the problem.

In 2005, when the Dalai Lama visited the Capital, Dalai the cat was blessed by the Buddhist leader, who “cuddled and kissed him”.

Tracie – herself a Buddhist – worked as a photographer for the Dalai Lama while he was here, and took the first opportunity she could to introduce her “special” pet to him and retrieve his blessing.

Tracie, a mum-of-one, said: “Dalai was cuddled and kissed by the official Dalai Lama when he visited Edinburgh.

“From the moment he was born, I knew there was something special about him – he’s like a human inside a cat’s body. He is named after the Dalai Lama, but he was named before he actually met him.”

After noticing Dalai’s pupils were bigger than usual two weeks ago, Tracie took him to the vet, where she was told there was nothing seriously wrong, but to keep a close eye on him over the next few days.

However, early last week, Dalai went missing after Tracie let him out for a brief time. Three days later, he was discovered by a neighbour, lying “soaking wet” in a plant pot.

Tracie said: “I can’t keep Dalai like this any longer, it’s heartbreaking. It was horrid to see him lying in the plant pot, soaking wet like that.

“If we can’t raise money for him to have the scan and then treatment, I think there will be no other option than to put him to sleep, we can’t keep him like this – it’s just not Dalai.

“People often assume that 12 is old for a cat, but it isn’t really.

“Dalai still has so much life left inside of him and he loves the outdoors. I won’t rest until I know I’ve tried everything, he is a very special cat and putting him down is the last thing we want to do.”

As part of the fourth World Parliamentarian’s Convention on Tibet, the Dalai Lama travelled to Edinburgh and visited a variety of locations, including the Usher Hall and the Scottish Parliament.

Tracie has started an appeal on website gofundme to pay for Dalai’s treatment.

courtney.cameron@jpress.co.uk