How to Help Your Blind Cat
19 August, 2013

My friend, Susan, adopted a blind cat and wants to give her new kitty a happy life.  She is off to a good start by adopting him and bringing him into her loving home.  And, even if your cat is not blind, it is very common for a cat to lose his or her sight over the years due to age.  Believe it or not, normal cat vision is close to humans, or perhaps just a little less.

Just as we humans tend to need reading glasses as we get older, the same vision changes start to develop in almost all cats over the age of five. This normal change, called nuclear sclerosis, results in less flexibility of the lens, a hazy appearance, and your cat loses the ability to focus on close objects. Pets still see pretty well, despite the bluish tint to their eyes.

Blind cats can still live a great life

Blind cats are not in pain and can still live a great life.  In fact, blind cats are more comfortable with the lack of vision and can adjust readily; it is we owners who are usually the most worried!  When your cat becomes blind, he or she will become reliant on his sense of smell and hearing. In many cases, vision loss is gradual, and cats can sometimes accommodate so easily that we don’t even know that our older cat has become blind.

Below are some tips to help your blind cat navigate your home with ease:

1.  It is important to keep the food, water bowls, litter box, and pet beds in the same spot, so your cat knows exactly where he can find his necessary belongings.

2. You can put certain scents on the important objects that you can’t needs to find such as lemon or peppermint so you cat can smell what he is looking for.

3. For obvious reasons, try to avoid rearranging your furniture. Blind cats will learn where everything is and once he or she does so, it is hard for him or her to relearn it.  Moving any items around can and will confuse your kitty. It’s not at all unusual for a blind cat, for instance, to still insist on making floor-to-counter leaps with confidence as long as her memory remains fresh and accurate.

4. Try to put soft objects or padding in areas that could potentially be dangerous for your cat.  For example, pad the sharp edges of furniture with carpet or bubble wrap until your cat learns to avoid the danger.   Put up a baby gate on stairways that could be hazardous for your kitty.

5. Get in the habit of speaking to your cat when you enter or leave a room to help her keep track of your whereabouts.  Your cat, as she loses her sight, will become much more reliant on you and your voice.  Blind pets also startle more easily, so always speak to your cat before petting him to avoid being accidentally nipped or swatted in reflex.

6. If you have more than one cat, try attaching a bell or other noise maker to the other animal’s collar.  That way, the blind cat won’t collide into your other pet and start a fight!

7. Try putting a bed or blanket in each room so that your blind cat has a place that is hers and where she or he can feel comfortable going to as a safe haven.

Remember that blind cats are still very happy and can live a fulfilled life.  They continue to participate in the world around them and will love you as much as you love them!  

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