If your cat is blind or visually impaired, lifestyle changes can be made to help make life easier for them at home.
Most cats adjust well to coping with blindness especially if the vision has been lost gradually. If blindness occurs suddenly it may take several weeks for them to adjust. They will learn to rely on their other senses eg. hearing and smell. Your cat should continue to have a good quality of life despite their loss of vision and will grow in confidence daily.
Below are a list of hints and tips which may help to make your visually impaired cat's lifestyle easier:
- Try to avoid loud noises or sudden movements. If people approach your cat, ask them to talk gently so as not to startle them and take extra care if there are children around.
- Always keep their food, water and litter trays in the same place. Some cats may find it beneficial to have a drinking water fountain so they can hear the location of their water.
- Communicate with your cat by calling their name and using words like 'dinner' at meal times. Your voice will help orientate them to where you are.
- Always speak to your cat and stroke them before you attempt to pick them up so that you do not take them by surprise. If you place them back down again, make sure it is an area near their food or litter tray so they can re orientate themselves.
- Playtime is still important for your cat. Use noisy, jingly toys so they can easily locate them. Catnip infused toys will help them use their senses to find them.
- Try not to move your furniture around in the home or leave any obstacles like bags or shoes in their path.
- Visually impaired cats prefer to stay in their own surroundings so if you are due to go on holiday, try to use house sitters instead of a cattery as the environment will be unfamiliar for them.
- If your cat usually sleeps on your bed remember that jumping down could be difficult for them. This can cause accidents either urination or defecation on the bed or falling off. Try and supervise them until they are comfortable.
- Some visually impaired cats still like to explore outside. If your cat is newly blind always go outside with them to ensure that they do not become disorientated. Try to ensure that they are suitably identified either by wearing a collar or having a microchip in case they escape.
- Scented plants in the garden like mint add interest and your cat will use them for orientation.