Does A Blind Cat Need Special Care? Is There Much Difference Between Looking After A Sightless Cat And One That Can See?
It is a sad fact that blind felines offered for adoption are frequently passed over.
This is a great shame, because these cats are just as capable of being loving and affectionate companions as are cats that can see.
Just the same as any feline, a blinded cat will enjoy playing with you, they will purr contentedly while you pet them.
They will try to hog all the warmth by lying in front of the fire, ravenously eat all the food that you serve them one day and turn their nose up at the same food the next day.
They will be little angels and little devils.
They need love and care, but that care really is not much different to the care that all cats need.
However a sightless cat really does need keeping as an indoor only cat for his or her own safety.
There are potentially many dangers outdoors even for a cat that can see, but for a cat that does not have the benefit of sight the dangers are, of course, increased.
By indoor only cat we mean a cat that is not free to roam. Your sightless cat may like to occasionally feel the warmth of the sun on her coat, or like to sniff at the breeze.
Training him or her to walk with a leash and harness, or supervising him or her in a Cat Enclosure can allow your cat to safely sample these things.
At least one website recommends watching a blinded cat wander around outdoors a few times, then when the animal is confident, permitting him or her to roam unsupervised.
Whilst it is true that cats that have lost their sight can cope amazingly well, we would never make that recommendation. In town or in the country there are too many hazards outside.
As all indoor cats are at risk of managing to get outside, it is a good idea for your cat not only to have an ID tag on her collar, but also for there to be a note on the tag that she is blind.
Apart from an indoor life there is usually very little in the way of special concessions that a blind, or partially sighted cat needs.
Food and water dishes, bedding and the litter box need to be kept permanently in their own special place so that your sightless cat can easily find them.
This is normally the case with any cat, cats do not like things moved from their normal place, because change causes them stress, but a cat that cannot see needs to be extra confident that things are where they ‘should’ be.
Try always to approach your blind cat slowly and quietly, talking softly and reassuringly as you do so.
Let her know that you are there before you touch her, she will still enjoy petting and stroking, but being touched suddenly may spook her, especially when she is still getting used to her loss of vision.
Sudden noise is also best avoided. But that is very difficult in a busy home, so if your pet is startled, softly reassure her until she is calm. As she adjusts to her blindness she will likely not be so alarmed by sudden sounds.
Stairs should not prove much of a problem or too much of a danger.
Once your blind pet has memorized her way around your home she will likely tackle stairs, both going up and down, pretty much the same way as any cat. A balcony however would not be a safe place for an unsupervised sightless cat.
Your sightless cat will appreciate toys that make noise such as those with bells inside and those that squeak, rattle or crinkle.
Your cat may also appreciate catnip toys, even if he or she doesn’t respond to catnip, (some cats don’t,) she will be able to find the toy by smell.
You may be tempted to carry your blind cat around the house but doing so will not help him or her memorize their surroundings.
All cats rely to some extent on scent trails deposited by their paws, a cat that has lost his or her sight is very much more dependent on those trails.
It does not take felines long after the advent of blindness to learn the way from room to room.
There is a significantly different experience for a cat between going blind suddenly, a cat going blind gradually and a cat that has been blind from birth.
If a cat loses his or her eyesight over a
period of time they are usually able to cope pretty well by increased
reliance on their sense of smell, hearing, memory, and use of their
whiskers to guide them.
A cat with progressive loss of sight may manage so well that his or her human does not notice what is happening.
A cat that has been unable to see from birth knows no different of course and, provided he or she is lovingly cared for, copes and thrives and enjoys life.
Sudden blindness on the other hand is very likely to leave the feline confused, fearful and stressed. (Imagine suddenly finding yourself plunged into a world of darkness.)
There are usually many indications that the cat has total vision loss, he or she may collide with furniture, become withdrawn, highly vocal and perhaps aggressive, become slow and clumsy, and refuse to move from where they feel the most secure.
It will take time for the cat to adjust to being sightless, but with your care and love he or she will be able to have a happy and rewarding existence.
In short, passing over adopting a blind cat, or a partially sighted cat, means missing the opportunity of a sweet loving pet that really needs little more care than any other cat.
If your cat loses her sight through illness, injury or old age, it does not mean a life of misery for her or much in the way of extra care from you.
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