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How to Care for a Blind Cat

Learn some tips for caring for a cat that’s blind.

Cats can be born blind. They might also become blind later in life either suddenly or gradually. Age-related cataracts and blindness are less likely in cats than dogs (though it does occur), but some medical problems more commonly cause it, including:

Luckily, a blind cat can have an excellent quality of life with some adjustments on your part.

How to Train a Blind Cat

Training cats creates confidence and keeps a cat physically and mentally sharp. It also helps bond a cat and her human. A blind cat can benefit from training sessions just like a sighted cat. Here are some things you might have to do differently.

Clicker training is great for all cats, and it can be particularly helpful for a blind kitty. The clicker's noise can tell the cat much more quickly than you otherwise could that she is doing the right thing.

Use short commands and say them exactly the same every time. One good command to teach your blind cat is "Watch." Teach your cat by using a clicker and treats that, when you say that word, she should slow down and change directions because she's about to bump into something.

What Types of Toys Should You Get for Your Blind Cat?

Cats that are blind need to play to stay physically and mentally in shape. However, they can't see to chase and pounce on wand toys. Still, there are lots of ways you can help your blind cat play.

First, create a nice open, safe place for your cat to jump around and pounce.

Next, use toys that are either noisy or smelly. Catnip toys work well because your cat can use her nose to find them. Crinkle toys or other noisy toys can be used to play interactively with your cat because she can use her sense of hearing to chase them.

Also, blind cats should still have scratching posts. Their need to scratch is as strong as that of sighted cats. Once your cat knows where her scratching posts are, avoid moving them if possible.

What About the Litter Box?

As with her scratching posts, keep your cat's litter box where she's used to finding it. You can help her locate it precisely by putting a litter mat leading up to it. She'll learn that, when her paws feel the texture change, she has two or three more steps before getting to the box.

Use a shallow box without a cover, so your cat has less to manipulate around and through to get into the box. You might need to place litter mats well around the box on all sides in case your blind cat misses.

Other Tips for Living with a Blind Cat

As much as possible, don't move furniture or other objects around in your house. If you do, try spraying them with something scented so your cat will hopefully smell it and stop to investigate before bumping into the item.

Never let your blind cat go outside by herself. There are many dangers for cats outside, and these are heightened for blind cats. If your cat seems willing, you can work on getting her used to wearing a harness and take her for supervised walks outside on a leash.

Consider wearing a bell around your wrist or on your clothing while you're at home. This can help your cat find you and avoid being startled. You may also wish to put bells on the collars of other animals in your home to help alert your blind cat to their movements.

Block access to stairs and other hazardous areas. Alternatively, place something that is a different texture at their landings to warn your cat they're coming. If you're consistent with the texture you use to indicate similar obstacles, your cat should learn to interpret it.

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