Compared to humans, a cat’s sense of sight is unique. They can see much better in the dark than we can and detect the slightest movement even at a long distance. Your cat has the instincts and vision of a hunter but eventually, that vision may start to fail.
If you’re wondering whether your cat is going blind, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll describe some of the signs to look for if your cat is suffering vision loss. We’ll also go over some common causes of blindness in cats and the adjustments you might need to make when living with a blind cat.
Signs of Vision Loss In Cats
Cats are remarkably good at navigating their home even when they start going blind. Because of this, your cat may be in an advanced state of vision loss before you notice any of these signs.
1. Bumping Into Objects
One clue that your cat is going blind is if you notice them bumping into objects around the house. If you keep your house in a similar setup, not moving furniture around or leaving large items on the floor, it may take you a while to notice this sign. Cats can build a mental map in their heads over time to help them navigate and may fool you into thinking they can still see well.
2. Night Blindness
When a cat starts to lose their sight, they also lose their night vision. You may notice that your cat doesn’t roam around the house at night like they used to. Sometimes, you may see them moving slowly or hear them vocalizing abnormally at night. Your cat may also be reluctant to go into dark rooms or go up and down the stairs in low light.
3. Walking Abnormally
A cat who can’t see well may walk around differently. You may see your cat walking slowly and cautiously, possibly crouched low to the ground or with their legs spread wider than usual. This allows them to use their whiskers to sense the environment.
4. Reluctance To Jump
If your cat suddenly doesn’t want to jump onto furniture or the counters, they could be going blind. This sign can also be seen if your cat is painful or developing arthritis so you may need to look for other signs of blindness as well.
5. Behavior Changes
You may notice changes in your cat’s behavior if they’re going blind. Your cat may start hiding more or acting scared or nervous. They may startle more easily or even show aggression in situations where they previously did not. Again, these changes can be signs of other medical conditions besides going blind.
6. Changes To The Eyes
Sometimes, the first sign you observe of your cat going blind are visual changes to their eyes. Your cat’s eyes may look cloudy or red. They may squint or have discharge from their eyes. Sometimes, you may notice their pupils are extra big or are different sizes in each eye.
Causes of Blindness In Cats
Like humans, cats can lose their vision as part of the aging process. They can also go blind from various eye conditions and disorders. Some of the most common eye problems that lead to blindness in cats are the following:
Sometimes, blindness is a symptom of another condition, such as brain disease or a tumor. Cats can also go blind if their diets are deficient in taurine, an essential amino acid.
If you suspect your cat is going blind, make an appointment with your veterinarian. They will be able to confirm or deny your suspicion and determine if there is a cause. Some causes of blindness are treatable, especially if caught early enough.
Living With a Blind Cat
If your cat’s blindness isn’t treatable, don’t worry. Cats aren’t as reliant on their sense of sight as we are and adapt by using their senses of smell and hearing more. Most blind cats can maintain an excellent quality of life.
However, there are a few things you can do to make your blind cat’s life easier. First, don’t change things around a lot in your house. Your cat will learn the locations of furniture and other objects and learn to move around them so long as they stay consistent.
Barricade stairs or other dangers such as fireplaces at least until your cat has adjusted to life without vision. You can also place texture clues, like area rugs or mats, near locations like the top of the stairs or doorways to alert your cat that they are nearing them.
Keep your cat’s food, water, bed, and litter box in a consistent location so they can continue to find their necessities easily. Give your cat toys that make noise so they can continue to enjoy playtime.
Make sure all other people and animals in the house are taught how to behave around a blind cat. Help children learn to move slowly and talk to the cat as they approach so as not to startle them. Also, be sure they know that the cat may not be able to move out of the way as quickly and the kids will need to watch out for the kitty as they run and play.
Supervise other pets to ensure they don’t try to bully the newly blind cat.
The thought of your cat going blind can be scary and overwhelming, especially before you know what’s happening. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your veterinarian or even ask for a referral to a veterinary eye specialist if needed. Getting all the information you need can help make the situation seem more manageable. And again, remember that most cats can still live happy, full lives even if they go blind, especially with some help from you.
Featured Image Credit: Anna Krivitskaya, Shutterstock