We all know that cats normally have fantastic vision. Their ability to see in the dark is well know.
Unfortunately, for many different reasons, a cat may go blind or even be born blind.
Our initial reaction is sympathy and pity. However cats are extremely resilient and have many other abilities that can make up for their lack of site. Don’t disregard a blind cat because a blind cat can live a long, happy and purposeful life.
If you do end up owning a blind or partially sighted cat there are some simple things you can do to make their lives easier and more comfortable.
The trick here is to try and put your self in the paws of your cat. What will they bump into? what obstacles does the layout of your home throw up? Basically you need to go around your house and remove problem areas such as items that are easily knocked over, broken or could cause injury. Maybe add some soft furnishings at cat height.
Your cat is smart and will learn its new environment pretty quick. So try and keep it constant. If a door is normally open, keep it open. Don’t move furniture around too much. Keep a tidy house and do not leave things like shoes or clothes around.
A cat’s remaining senses will become tightened with the loss of its eyesight. He or she will use sound as a measure of where they are in you house. For example road noise from a window or the soft hum of a heater or refrigerator helps you cat orientate themselves. When you play loud music or have the TV too loud this can hinder that orientation.
On the other hand it is great for all members of the household to announce their presence – this really helps your cat know where you are.
It’s ok to pick up you cat for a cuddle. But don’t pick up you cat and then move them somewhere with out helping them get their orientation back. You can really confuse a cat by picking it up and moving it to another room or even placing it on another level such as bed or couch. Rely more on calling your cat so they can “picture” constantly where they are.
Changes to their environment will be a negative influence on a blind cats orientation. They need consistency and daily rhythms. Loud noises, banging and even bringing in visitors will make a blind cat feel anxious.
This will help you cat feel safe and secure in their environment. Dinner times and locations should be the same every day if possible. Sleeping arrangements should be sorted out early. The more constant routine you can provide for your blind cat the happier they will be.
The introduction of another pet will throw off the routine your cat has built around your home. However a blind cat is still a very resilient cat and may love the added play and interaction another pet may provide. So don’t discount completely another animal but manage it as a slow introduction and measure your cats response.