*Today we have a guest post from our friends at PurringPal*
Of all the animals known to mankind, cats are one of those that are known to possess exemplary eyesight. Nobody can contest a cat’s capacity to accurately see things in the dark.
In fact, humans and other animals may be lagging behind when it comes to this power possessed by the feline family. It is thus hard to imagine a cat being blind.
A cat’s blind state can be caused by an illness or trauma. Diseases like glaucoma, cataracts or even high blood pressure can result in partial or total loss of vision of your cat. Other causes of blindness may be an accident or by harm done by humans.
No matter the cause of your cat’s blindness, our feline friends are typically very good at adapting to these changes. Because of this, pet parents may find it a challenge to determine whether their cat is having issues with its eyesight or not.
Signs and Symptoms
So what are the signs to look out for? Here are just a few:
Cats are known for being able to easily navigate tight spaces and accurately assess heights when jumping from tall surfaces. If your cat is suddenly having trouble getting around with bumping into furniture and walls, it could be because the cat is losing its eyesight—maybe not completely at this point, but it’s already something to consider.
Other signs to watch out for are the following:
- Your cat gets startled easily
- Your cat has discolored or inflamed eyes
- Your cat’s pupils do not contract when exposed to light
According to Dr. Chris from PurringPal, these symptoms all point to the possibility of your cat being blind. If your cat shows these symptoms or more, a visit to the vet is needed to ensure that your cat is correctly diagnosed.
Vets can conduct a series of tests such as physical examinations and bloodwork to correctly determine the cause of these irregularities. To be sure of the diagnosis, your vet may also recommend a veterinary ophthalmologist.
Caring for a Blind Cat
Although your cat’s sense of sight is of great value to them, a blind cat may be able to compensate for their blindness by relying on other senses such as hearing and smell. As long as they’re kept safely inside, you can expect your cat to adjust to its blindness with relative ease.
The adjustment period may vary, depending on the manner in which the cat was blinded. Sudden blindness caused by an accident or harm done by humans may take weeks or even months to adjust to. This is the time when you need to be patient.
On the other hand, cats that go blind gradually tend to adjust better than those that have suddenly become blind. This is because, as the cat is losing its sense of sight little by little, it is able to adjust before going completely blind.
So how do you take care of a blind cat?
A Blind-Friendly Home
First things first – make your home blind-friendly.
A blind-friendly home is ever consistent. Are you considering moving your furniture around? This is not the right time to do that. It’s also generally not a good idea to carry your cat from point A to point B, as this can disorient them and make it harder for them to learn how to navigate on their own.
Instead, just be there to stand by and supervise while your blind cat is learning to get around without the help of their eyesight. This will allow them to adjust to their new condition and hone the other senses they need to lead happy, healthy lives. If your blind cat goes is allowed to go outside at all, they should only do so under close supervision from their human caretakers.
Other tips to create a blind-friendly home include the following:
- Keep your house neat. Blind cats can easily get startled by clutter and stray objects. Aside from startling them, things like medicines, cosmetics and specific plants may be dangerous to your blind cat as well.
- Food and water dishes should be kept in places that are familiar to your blind cat.
- Toilet lids should always be closed.
Re-introducing the Litter Box
If your cat’s blindness is sudden, you may need to re-introduce your cat to the concept of finding the litter box. Place your cat in their litter box and let it navigate its way throughout your house and back. You may also want to invest in a second litter box so that your cat never has to travel to far to relieve themselves.
Developing Alternate Senses
A blind cat will still be reactive to toys; rattles and toys with bells are ideal for blind cats. You can also use the sound of these toys to help guide your cat through the house as they learn to navigate on their own. Just keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t accidentally ingest rattles and other noise makers.
Other popular toys include catnip scented options. We all know how cats react to catnip. These toys offer a good way to develop your cat’s sense of smell. You may even want to consider sprinkling catnip around the house to create a sort of walkway that your cat can follow. Make sure the walkway leads to your blind cat’s favorite part of the house, such as a place where they usually play or take naps.
Blindness should never prevent you and your cat from leading happy and fulfilling lives. Yes, there may be an adjustment period, but with patience and proper planning, your cat will be able to navigate your home again in no time.