When your cat starts to lose their vision, you might start to worry about how much harder it will get to care for them. Luckily, going blind isn’t nearly as big of a deal to your cat as it would be to you. Cats already rely so much on their refined smell and hearing that they can simply fall back on these other senses.
Granted, losing your vision is still tough, even for a cat. To help you and your cat get through the transition, we’ve gathered eight helpful tips that will allow you to easily care for your blind cat and make their life just as good as it was before they lost their vision.
Why Do Cats Go Blind?
There are many reasons why your cat might lose its vision, some of which are completely normal. As cats age, much like people, they start to lose their vision naturally. This starts around 6 years old when the cat undergoes nuclear sclerosis. While this sounds scary, it’s really just the loss of vision due to the lens losing flexibility and becoming hazy.
Of course, not every cat with vision loss is undergoing something this common. Some cats can lose their vision due to eye disorders like cataracts or glaucoma. Cataracts cause the lens of the eye to become cloudy, eventually leading to blindness. Glaucoma causes increased pressure inside the eyeball, causing not just blindness, but also pain.
How to Care For a Blind Cat? (8 Tips)
So, your cat’s vision has either become significantly reduced or your cat is now blind altogether. It’s not the end of a great life for your cat. By following these eight tips, you can help your cat to continue living a great life, even without the use of their eyes.
1. Make Dangerous Areas Safer
As your cat learns to adjust to the house now that it can’t see, certain things will become hazards to it. Some furniture has sharp edges that could be right at head height for your newly blind feline. Even the corners of walls could harm your cat when it runs into them. Pad these edges with bubble wrap or foam. While you’re at it, be sure to barricade the entrance to any stairs so your cat doesn’t fall down them!
2. Guide Your Cat by Voice
Even if your cat wasn’t particularly clingy before losing its vision, it could become much more so now. Your cat could grow to rely on you a lot more now that it’s missing one of its primary senses. At this point, you could become a guide for your cat, and they may tend to stay close to you, leaving rooms at the same time as you and following you around the house. You can help by using your voice when your cat is having a hard time following you. This will let your cat know where you are while learning to improve its ability to get around with hearing and no vision.
3. Keep the Litter Box in the Same Place
Your cat doesn’t have echolocation like a bat. Instead, it will learn to memorize many of the main fixtures in your home; particularly the most important ones for their own use, such as the litter box. If you move the litter box, your cat could have a very difficult time locating it again. So, once your cat loses its vision, try to keep the litter box in the same place from there on out.
4. Give the Cat a Safe Place in Each Room
Cats that can see always manage to get underfoot, so how much worse do you think it will be with cats that can’t see? You can mitigate this issue by giving your cat a safe place to go in each room, such as a comfy bed that it can always go and curl up in while still remaining near you.
5. No Rearranging Furniture
Just like with the litter box, your cat will memorize the layout of your home and furniture. While you probably won’t be moving around many walls, you could feasibly move around your furniture. Some people like to do this all the time. But doing so could throw your cat for a major loop. It can’t see the furniture anymore, so after crashing into it many times, it will start to memorize the maze, so to speak. But moving everything around means your cat has to start over again fresh, which means a lot more crashing into furniture.
6. Avoid Startling Your Cat
Cats are pretty easy to scare and startle, even when they have full use of their eyesight. But once a cat is blind, startling it becomes very easy. So easy that you’ll probably do it accidentally all the time. If you end up petting your cat without speaking first, it could nip you as a reaction, so make sure to let your cat know before you touch it.
7. Give Other Animals a Bell
If you have multiple pets in the home, your other pets can serve as a sort of guide for your newly blind cat, so long as your blind cat can hear the other pet. You can make this possible by simply attaching a bell to your other pet, which will always make it easy for your blind cat to find or follow your other pet.
8. Scent Mark Your Cat’s Environment
To help your cat find items it’s looking for, you might want to “scent” them with cat pheromones. Your cat will be relying heavily on smell to find what it needs from now on, so by scent marking some important items or areas, you can make that much easier.
Conclusion: Caring For a Blind Cat
Losing eyesight is a normal part of the aging process for many cats, though some cats can experience blindness as the result of an eye disorder. Whatever the case, you can still help your beloved companion to live a great life after losing the ability to see. Follow the eight steps we’ve discussed in this article and you’ll be well on your way to helping your cat continue its best life—no eyes needed.
Featured Image: Mahlebashieva, Shutterstock
- Why Do Cats Go Blind?
- How to Care For a Blind Cat? (8 Tips)
- Conclusion: Caring For a Blind Cat