Taking on the adoption of a blind cat may seem like a daunting task. They need extra love, care and patience. We're here to give you the advice, encouragement and push you need to take home a cat that has special needs!
What Causes Blindness in Cats?
In most cases, blindness is caused by untreated eye infections that result in the removal of the eyes. This is especially true for stray/ feral cats that have no resources for resolving eye issues when they first arise. We oftentimes have cats that come into the cafe missing an eye or two due to this exact reason, and we are beyond happy to give them a chance at happiness!
Sometimes kittens are born with eye defects that leave them blind as well. Currently in the cafe we have blind kitten Ezra, who is learning day by day how to navigate this world using his other senses -- and he is quite incredible already!
Just like humans, a cat's eyesight could deteriorate over time. It is important to monitor your aging cats for any symptoms of loss of eyesight and have them checked out right away. Loss of eyesight with age is completely normal and never a reason for surrendering your cat. Use this article as a guide to creating a comfortable environment for your fur baby as they experience changes in their eyesight with age.
A blind cat may display symptoms such as:
Misjudging heights when jumping
Walking slowly with a wider stance than usual
Hiding and becoming nervous
Always contact your vet if you believe your cat could be experiencing these symptoms.
All cats function best on a strict routine, and most absolutely hate change of all kinds. Do everything you can to keep consistency when taking care of your blind cat. Avoid moving furniture around, as your blind cat has a mental map of the layout of your home. Do your best to keep dinner at a certain time in the exact same place every day. Your cat will thank you for keeping the consistency.
Stimulate other senses.
Scent marking- help your cat "see" what it is looking for by using strong pheromones in areas such as the litter box, cat bed, water bowls, etc. Stay away from essential oils, as many are toxic.
Create a safe environment: Bubblewrap sharp corners on the furniture in your house, keep the toilet seat down, etc.
Guide your cat with your voice.
Place collars with bells on other animals in the home.
Keep a safe, comfy bed in each room.
Block off staircases.
Startle your cat by petting or picking up before announcing your presence. Communicate with your cat and let them know you are there.
Let them go outside unless supervised.
Lift and place on a raised surface.
Leave an open flame, such as a candle .
Carry around the house. It is best to let your blind cat navigate on their own and not disrupt their mental map.
The most important takeaway: remember to always love your cat to your fullest ability and let them know they are not alone. Most cats with special needs are extra affectionate and will do anything to show their caretakers their gratitude!