Blind cats have big hearts

Blind cats and those with failing eyesight can be some of the most living and big-hearted pets.
 
They can also live near normal lives when given the right care and support that comes with a loving home.
 
Millie (picured) is a case in point. She is a very loving and happy ten-year-old blind cat who loves human contact.
 
When she was in our care, she rubbed herself over visitors, gave great kisses and craved a warm lap on which to purr herself to sleep.
 
Millie came to the National Cat Adoption Centre when her previous owners moved home and could not take her with them.
 
Like all blind cats, Millie needed to be an indoor cat. We also believe that blind cats  should be the only pet in their new home.
 
Some cats lose their sight because of injury but other times it can be because of illness, while others  are born with a disability. For many cats, blindness can result from accidents, disease or the degenerative effects of old age.
 
Aside from injury, some of the most common causes of blindness can be illness, high blood pressure, cataracts, tumour, diabetes, kidney disease or an overactive thyroid. 
 
Dependent on the cause, blindness can even be treatable, so it is always best to check with your vet if your cat is suffering from any symptoms.
 
Loss of sight is often gradual and owners don’t always realise how bad a cat’s eyesight has become until it is identified by a vet. 
 
So, what should you look out for as the early onset of blindness?
 
You may notice your cat bumping into furniture, particularly at night or in low light. They might also be generally may be startled by sudden movements. 
 
There could be a change in appearance of the eye – it may become enlarged, cloudy or change colour - or your cat may resent being stroked on the head or face and try to keep an eye closed. 
 
A cat that is suddenly blind can become easily disorientated, but certain precautions will help ensure that your cat adapts to the condition as smoothly as possible. 
 
Cats are generally very good at adapting their lifestyle to cope with a disability, compensating by using their other senses more, and allowing them to still enjoy a good quality of life.
 
You can help by paying more attention to your home, making their environment safe, and keeping things fun with toys that have sounds or texture.
 
It is also best to encourage your cat to get to know his territory. Let them walk around on their own, as carrying may add t the disorientation. Scent glands on their paws allow cats to leave a trail of scent to follow – this is even more important for blind cats.
 
Talking to a blind cat can help, too. If your cat is blind in one eye, try to approach him from the side in which he still has sight.
 
As blind cats rely on scent and memory to find their way around, you should avoid moving furniture, food and litter trays. Don’t leave obstacles in unexpected places where your cat could walk into them. 
 
If you have stairs, it is a good idea to place a barrier across them until your cat learns to use them again. Putting different textured carpet on the first and last steps can help your cat quickly learn when they have reached the top or bottom. 
 
As you can see, having a blind cat is no reason for great concern. They can live near to normal lives and make loving family pets.
 
Please contact Cats Protection if you would like to speak about homing a blind cat or caring for one of your own.