Need advice for blind cat

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Cookies mom
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Need advice for blind cat

Post by Cookies mom » Fri Nov 14, 2014 3:01 am

My 6 year old calico cat, Cookie went in on Monday for dental surgery, the drug they used was ketamine. When she was in recovery, she stopped breathing and they intibated her. She had no use of limbs and was non responsive. The next day she started using limbs a little but she went blind. She is walking now but a little wobbly, no purring yet and has not started grooming. No form of sight has not come back but her I have noticed that I can see more of her eye color and less pupil. She comes home tomorrow. I do have a spare room I have set up a bed, litter box and eating area. In baby steps she will learn her home once again. Where can I find information to help both Cookie and I adapt and what problems we may face and how to manage and cope? Any information at this time is deeply appreciated.

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bobbys girl
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Re: Need advice for blind cat

Post by bobbys girl » Fri Nov 14, 2014 9:12 am

Good Grief! Poor Cookie. What has the vet said about this?

Willow had dental work done 2 weeks ago. It left her a little groggy but there were nothing like the problems you have had! I can't help feeling - there but for the Grace of God.....

I hope someone here can help you. More importantly, I hope Cookie's sight returns.

(Hugs) to you and gentle fusses to Cookie.

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meriad
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Re: Need advice for blind cat

Post by meriad » Fri Nov 14, 2014 9:22 am

Oh no, what a worry for you (((hug)))

there are a few people on here who have / had blind cats and hopefully they soon will be along to give advice.

I think starting Cookie off in a smaller room is a good idea and I know that the general advice given for blind cats is to not move any furniture unless you absolutely have to and also to let Cookie explore at her own pace and on her own. Yes she most likely at the start will bump into things but don't be tempted to pick her up for a cuddle; she needs to work out what is where so she can learn to avoid the furniture.

And obviously - no going outside :(

Fusses to your girl and I do hope that as the effects of the ketamine wear off some - if not all - of her sight is restored.

x

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Crewella
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Re: Need advice for blind cat

Post by Crewella » Fri Nov 14, 2014 10:12 am

Oh poor Cookie, I really feel for her, and you ((((hugs)))).

Our cat, Alpha, lost first one eye and then the other to glaucoma a few years ago (we sadly lost her to cancer later on). Her second eye was a mess before she had it removed, and we thought she probably couldn't see out of it, but when we brought her home after the op to have it removed she was so stressed and disorientated that we realised that she must have had at least some vision remaining in it. Different cats will have different reactions, but personally I wouldn't suddenly put her in an unfamiliar room. We found that Alpha was least stressed when we put her in her usual spot on the sofa, and we did actually sleep downstairs with her for the first couple of nights as she was comforted by us being around. For the first few days, her distress and disorientation are likely to be as much of an issue as the problems of just finding her way around.

As has been said, try not to move things around too much, and try not to leave random things like shoes and bags on the floor. She will be reliant on her sense of smell to get around and also for comfort - her usual places will still smell of her and will help her, and it might be an idea not to wash the floor for the first week or two so she can follow her own scent on her usual routes to the litter tray and her food bowl. Don't suddenly change where things go unless you really have to.

Do you have other cats?

I really hope that her sight comes back, it's an awful thing to happen.

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sarie
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Re: Need advice for blind cat

Post by sarie » Fri Nov 14, 2014 10:28 am

Oh I'm so sorry to hear about Cookie, that's awful :(

Although it's rare, temporary or permanent blindness and neurological damage are side effects associated with Ketamine and can occur even when it's used properly. Some cats can react very badly to it and a large drop in BP in recovery can cause these side effects; it sounds like this has happened to Cookie :( Some cats do recover some, if not all of their sight but it can take a few weeks or even months. Poor wee thing :(

I've never had a blind cat so unfortunately I haven't got any real advice I can give you as to how to deal with her condition but I'll be thinking about you both and I really hope she continues to improve and regain some of her sight xxx

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lilynmitz
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Re: Need advice for blind cat

Post by lilynmitz » Fri Nov 14, 2014 12:06 pm

Really sorry to hear this sad news. It will take her a while to adjust, but eventually she will cope fine. I unwittingly adopted a blind cat (we only found he was blind, after 2 years in rescue, after we brought him home). I suspect he went blind gradually (poor blood supply to his retina - probably congenital). But he had to start from scratch when he came to our house. He coped really well and had a happy life with us, till we lost him to cancer. Some tips we learnt.

1. Always rub your fingers before you stroke her. That way it won't make her jump when you touch her.

2. We also used this method to guide Mitz through mazes of legs, feet, shoes, chair legs etc it he was getting confused.

3. Try not to move stuff around too much, and don't leave shoes, shopping bags etc on the floor where she'll trip over them. Put them on worktops, or at the side of the room.

4. Mitz tended to fall down the narrow bit of the stairs where they go round the corner, so we put a scratching post at the top of the stairs at this point to direct him to the middle of the staircase.

5. She'll find food and litter no problem - Mitz managed well from day one.

6. If you pick her up and move her to another part of the room/house, keep your hand on her side until she's reoriented herself and knows where she is. She will work it out by smell, sound and texture, or if she has some residual sight (as Mitz did in bright daylight), by light and shade.

7. Try to avoid sudden movement or sudden loud noises, particularly in the early days.

8. Mitz would sometimes get confused or lost and shout for help. I found giving him a quick cuddle always settled him down again.

9. Don't leave stuff on the edge of the bed or sofa, as when she jumps up, she'll land in the middle of it and possibly fall off. Always put it in the middle of the bed or back of the sofa.

10. Obviously you'll have to be very careful about letting her out. We made the back garden safe for Mitz, and once he plucked up the courage after about 3 or 4 months, he loved a little stroll around the garden, but we always kept an eye on him. I suspect he'd been a house cat before we had him, so he wasn't too adventurous in trying to escape, and would never jump up higher than his paws could reach, so as far as he was concerned the fences could have been ten feet high. The garden alone was enough for him. But your puss may be used to climbing the fences etc if she's familiar with them so be watchful for this.

11. As others have said, let her re-learn the house a room at a time. She will still bump into things from time to time, it goes with the territory, but make sure there's nothing sharp/projecting at her eye level, as she won't have a blink reflex to protect her eyes in time. Poor Mitz once gave himself an awful black eye when he walked into the end of a rod sticking out of a box I left on the floor. I never did it again, poor lad.

12. She may still be playful, once she is feeling more confident. Rustly toys or strong catnip is good. Mitz loved scooting around on sheets of tissue paper on the floor, so the house was liberally littered with the stuff! He also loved "helping" make the bed - he would appear from nowhere when I stripped the bed and play with the flapping sheets for ages!

I'm sure there's lots of things I've forgotten, but it does come as second nature to you after a while, and they're only small adjustments you need to make. Take things gently with her, and she will adapt. Obviously her behaviour will change, and it will be very sad watching that happen, but all is not lost. Despite his problems we adored Mitz, he was such a character, and such a gentle soul, and we still miss him today, almost two years since he died.

Good luck with Cookie. I do hope some of her sight returns, but I'm sure you'll help her cope and give her a happy life.
Last edited by lilynmitz on Fri Nov 14, 2014 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Need advice for blind cat

Post by Crewella » Fri Nov 14, 2014 12:48 pm

Sorry - I'd had to rush out and came back to post more, but (as always! :) ) Lilynmitz has covered everything pretty comprehensively.

The only thing I can add is don't be tempted to keep picking her up and moving her, the sooner she finds her own way the better. As well as voice, we also used to encourage Alpha to follow us by doing little stampy 'fairy steps' in front of her so she could follow the noise. She did bump into things at first, and we used to say 'ooops' as she walked into something. Over time, we would say 'oops' if she was about to bump into something and she learnt to stop and go more carefully when we said it.

For blind cats in a new house, I would agree on letting her explore one room at a time, but for a newly-blind cat in a familiar house I personally would let her go where she wants as long as there's no danger - it might be more confusing for her if familiar routes suddenly become blocked. Do watch for things like gaps between the bannisters where she could fall, though - she's unlikely to suddenly go that way, but you don't want to take the risk.

Like Mitz, Alpha did like to go out in the garden, but wouldn't jump higher than she could reach. We did make sure it was secure, and only let her out when we were around to keep an eye on her. She loved to sit on the gravel, as she could then hear if anyone was approaching.

If you do have other cats, you do need to watch how they react to her. Blind cats don't conform to normal 'cat etiquette' body language norms, and can unwittingly upset other cats and also barge into their personal space by accident. As Lilynmitz says, they don't have a blink reflex, so can't protect their eyes from a swipe.

Alpha did cope very well in the end and was a happy cat. She even managed to present me with a mouse in her last year - I've no idea if she caught it herself, but I'll never forget how proudly she marched up the garden with it!

I really hope you don't need any of this advice and that your girl gets her sight back, but if she doesn't she can still lead a very happy and active life. Give her a gentle fuss from me.

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lilynmitz
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Re: Need advice for blind cat

Post by lilynmitz » Fri Nov 14, 2014 1:06 pm

Good point there Helen re other cats. Lily never understood Mitz's blindness and felt very threatened by him blundering into her personal space all the time, so he did quite often get a swipe. He had a nasty scratch on his nose the day I brought him home, and Lily got him in the eye one time when he wasn't able to blink in time, and he ended up with an eye infection that took quite a while to heal, poor thing. However, equally they did turn to each other in times of trouble, and Lily was quite often his guiding beacon if something frightened them in the garden - Lily would tear indoors with Mitz hot on her heals, following her much faster than he could have done on his own. I did catch her grooming Mitz when she thought I wasn't looking, so deep down they were buddies. She just thought he was a blundering idiot. Mitz never walloped her back though, and would often have to sit and wait for her to move out of his way rather than get another swipe if he tried to push past her.

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Re: Need advice for blind cat

Post by bobbys girl » Fri Nov 14, 2014 1:24 pm

There are some really great tips there. As Helen says hopefully she will get her sight back. But if not, cats are amazingly adaptable.

Did you see the programme last week - I think it was 'the secret life of cats'? There was a blind cat jumping onto a tree trunk and climbing up. Something to do with their wonderful whiskers, a sort of radar. Amazing! :)

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Re: Need advice for blind cat

Post by Crewella » Fri Nov 14, 2014 1:26 pm

Poor Alpha had five other cats to contend with. Two of them, Minnie and Grumpy Nellie, would just avoid her pretty much as they would do any other cat, Daz was OK with her and thankfully didn't try to chase her as she never moved fast enough to spark his interest, and Giddy was a good friend, used to curl up with her on the sofa and was definitely a source of comfort. Only Merrick, who can be a miserable little git, used to take offence sometimes and deliver the odd swipe.


I did see that programme - it was amazing how well that cat got around! :D

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Re: Need advice for blind cat

Post by Camdengirl » Fri Nov 14, 2014 3:54 pm

Anna has covered pretty much everything I think! The only thing I would add is that to begin with she may run into things from time to time. I adopted a cat who had just lost his sight and in the early weeks there were a few occasions when he got overexcited and ran full pelt into things like the doorframe (when he misjudged the doorway). It is upsetting to see, but most cats will learn pretty quickly not to move too fast while they get their bearings. My boy, Clay, soon started using his whiskers (they actually grew longer and thicker in the first few months) and would run towards something and then 'bounce' off just before impact, as if he was surrounded by an air cushion.

Not sure whether someone has already suggested it, but one thing I always did with Clay (if he was awake) was chat to him when I was going about my business in the flat, I figured that way he'd know I was there and giving him some of my attention. Although he may just have thought he had a very talkative human!!

It sounds as though poor Cookie may have more to contend with than just the loss of her sight, but hopefully in time she will make a good recovery and, even if she doesn't regain her sight, will come to cope very well. Cats have a huge advantage over us when dealing with blindness because their whiskers can help to compensate. I am sure she will be pleased to be home and I hope she is doing better soon.

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Re: Need advice for blind cat

Post by lilynmitz » Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:23 pm

" I adopted a cat who had just lost his sight and in the early weeks there were a few occasions when he got overexcited and ran full pelt into things like the doorframe".

Haha! I remember Mitz used to do that sometimes - he'd forget he couldn't see and go crashing into the furniture. Had I realised I was going to adopt a blind cat, I would never have designed the kitchen with cream floor, cream walls, cream units and cream paintwork! There was also a memorable moment in the garden - he learnt that he could run five paces before the lawn finished and the steps started. So he did his five paces at a loping run, but in the wrong direction, and ended up with legs in all directions in the log pile. Poor lad, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, so I just picked him up and gave him a huge cuddle. :roll:

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Re: Need advice for blind cat

Post by Walesgang » Fri Nov 14, 2014 7:48 pm

My 8 year old girl, Tips is blind.

She does amazingly well. We have taken a few precautions such as putting soft things (like cushions) Infront of areas she tends to run into.

To be honest it's easy to forget she's blind most of the time. Our adjustments like talking to her when we enter a room are second nature now.

Hope your kitty is ok

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