Living with a Blind Cat

In the right environment, blind cats can live happy, independent lives.

Blind cats adapt extremely well using their whiskers and incredible sense of smell and hearing. However, there are things their humans can do to make their lives easier.

 Blind cat image

Adopting a blind cat can be very rewarding but it pays to be prepared.

Blind cats can live long and happy lives provided they are looked after properly, and of course, given plenty of love and attention. Thanks to their excellent senses, such as smell and hearing, cats are very adaptable when it comes to the loss of sight. Although there may be extra precautions to take, blind cats can enjoy most of the activities that all other cats love.

What causes blindness in cats?

There are many things that can cause blindness in cats including injury, cataracts or disease, as well as some cats being blind from birth. Blindness can happen suddenly or gradually, and while some causes can be treated, others are unavoidable. If you are concerned about your cat’s sight it’s best to contact your vet for advice.

Whether you are adopting a blind cat or your feline friend is losing their sight, here are some tips that will help you help them live their best life.

Getting used to change

If your cat has recently become blind, or you are adopting a blind cat, you may want to confine them to a smaller space, to begin with. When they are used to this area you can gradually start to introduce them to the rest of the house. Also use this technique if you are moving house with a blind cat.

It’s important to be patient with your cat as it will take time for them to adjust to anything new.

Avoid moving furniture

Your cat will get used to where furniture and other items are in the home using their whiskers and incredible sense of smell, so moving things might get confusing for them. Try to keep things in the same place to help them feel safe and comfortable.

Start talking

Talking to your blind cat is really important as it will provide comfort and help them know where you are. This is also essential if you are approaching them or about to pick them up. It might even be worth leaving a radio or TV on if you are out as the sounds can help them orient themselves. Try to avoid loud or sudden noises though as this may spook your cat.

When you pick up a blind cat, continue talking to them, and make sure you put them down in a spot they are familiar with, such as next to their food bowl, so they can easily reorient themselves. Cats leave a scent trail when walking throughout the house which helps them create a map in their mind, so avoid carrying your cat around too much.

Hey, don't move my stuff!blind cat with food and water bowls

Just like your furniture, your blind cat will know exactly where their food and water bowls are usually situated, so moving them might become stressful for them. This is also true of the litter tray, so keep this in one place to avoid any accidents.

Keep them inside

It’s best to keep your blind cat indoors as they won’t be able to safely navigate the outdoors with limited or no sight. An enclosed garden or catio are good solutions to allow your cat some supervised time outside.

Create a safe environment

Think about ways to make your home safe for your blind cat. Add padding to any furniture with sharp edges, and place barriers in front of dangerous areas such as fireplaces or stairs. Make sure any cables are tucked away to stop them from tripping or falling.

Provide beds and areas for your cat to sleep but remember that these should be kept low to avoid your cat falling from high spots.

Provide enrichment activitiesblind cat playing with toy

Consider whether the toys you choose rely on sight to enjoy, such as fishing rod type toys. Instead, pick toys that make crinkle or squeaky noises when playing with your cat. Your cat may also enjoy playing with catnip toys which will be easy for them to smell. Here are some great ideas for keeping your cat entertained indoors.

Make sure they are microchipped

Although it’s important to keep your blind cat indoors, you should still make sure they are microchipped just in case they do manage to get outside and get lost.

Other pets

If you have other cats or pets in the home, it’s a good idea to attach a bell to their collar so that your blind cat can hear when they are approaching.

If you want to read more about living with a blind cat the book Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper is an amazing insight into how resilient blind cats can be. Homer had an extraordinary life and “...taught his human the most important thing there is to know in life: Love isn’t something you see with your eyes.” You can also find more advice via the links below.

More Information:

Cat Chat - Living with a Disabled Cat - Blind Cats
Cats Protection - Blind Cats
PDSA - Blindness in Cats

Contributor: Ella Street, Cat Chat Blogger
Published: January 2021