Blindness in cats

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If your cat is clumsy, bumps into objects or sleeps excessively, she may be blind. Here’s more on cat blindness.

Blindness is loss of vision in both eyes. Some cats become blind in one eye and some in both eyes. Your cat could be born blind or become blind due to age or illness. Blindness could also be a sudden or gradual. Gradual blindness is due to conditions like glaucoma, progressive retinal atrophy or cataract. Sudden onslaught of blindness occurs owing to injury, hypertension, stress and diabetes.

Watch out for…
It is difficult to notice that a cat is actually blind especially if blindness happens gradually. You may never know that your cat is blind. A cat’s sense of scent and memory compensate for the loss of her sight. Also whiskers become more important to blind cats to judge her proximity to an object. Sudden blindness in cats is more evident as the cat seems confused to things, time or place. She can bump into things and looks hesitant in walking.
Symptoms of blindness include clumsiness, bumping into objects, excessive sleeping, inability to find common objects, easily scared or startled and changes in usual behaviour. Take your cat immediately to a vet if you find your cat showing any of these symptoms.
Minimise blindness impact with love…
You can bring a lot of happiness to your lovely and intelligent blind cat by keeping her safe with love and care. Blind cat can lead a perfectly normal life as a sighted one as she memorises the position of furniture and objects in a room and can move about with perfect ease. But your carefulness as a perfect pet parent is needed. So, take care with these tips in mind:

  • Avoid rearranging furniture often as this might confuse your blind cat.
  • Keep her indoors and never let her go outside except under strict supervision.
  • Place her litter box, food dish, bed, etc, at fixed spot.
  • Guide her with your footsteps, speaking or clapping.
  • Interestingly, sighted cats are tolerant of bumpings by blind cats.

(Sudhersena, an avid animal lover, is a volunteer at Blue Cross since 1998; she has 9 cats and 3 dogs. She is associated with a number of animal welfare campaigns and programmes. For further info, contact: Blue Cross of India, 72 Velachary Road, Chennai–32, or e-mail: bci@bluecross.org.in)

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