Raising a Blind Cat

Kitty's sense of smell helps her to compensate for blindness.

Kitty's sense of smell helps her to compensate for blindness.

Cats are resilient creatures. If your kitty is born blind, your special attention and care are all that are necessary to help your furry prince or princess. Blindness doesn't have to stop your kitten from living a full, happy, and adventurous life.

Read up on what it means for your feline friend to be blind. Cats possess a very distinct sense of smell. Their sense of hearing is superior to that of their human counterparts. These two important senses mean that a blind cat can still live out her days quite well and can adjust to blindness, so make no mistake: If you choose to adopt a blind kitten and raise her, it doesn't mean her lack of blindness will deter her from having a purrfect life. The nose of a cat is an integral part of her sensory world. It bears 19 million cells that help her detect various odors. For perspective, human noses have around 5 million cells. Kitty's whiskers help with her sense of balance and location. Blind kittens can be very adventurous and love exploring their world just like kittens who can see.

Set up a feeding and water station for your precious furry feline. Her feeding station needs to stay in a dedicated area. The same goes for her litter box. When you introduce her into her new home, show her where her litter box is by gently placing her in it. Show her where her food and water bowl are as well. You can do this by placing her in front of them and letting her sniff the food. If she becomes confused at times, gently lead her with the sound of your voice instead of picking her up and carrying her. This will help her learn how to navigate to where she needs to go on her own.

Speak to your kitten when she seems disoriented. It is normal for a blind cat to become confused. She may meow as though to ask, "Where did you go?" Calling out to let her know you're still in proximity to her, or speaking softly if within reach of her, will give gentle encouragement. Talk to her often, and pet her occasionally to comfort her. Avoid carrying a blind kitten or cat around the house to different locations, as this can confuse her. Without sight bearings, she won't know where she is. Instead, let her walk on her own. When she falls asleep, don't wake her up by touching her. Instead, gently talk to her and let her wake up on her own. Touching her while is asleep may scare or startle your kitten.

Practice consistency within your home. You may feel like rearranging the furniture or buying an entirely new set of furniture, but for a blind kitten or cat, consistency is very important. When you get new furniture, try to arrange it in the same way the previous furniture was arranged. Keep your home as clean as possible -- don't leave shoes, socks and laundry baskets thrown about. Kitty needs her normal pathways to be free and clear at all times.

Items you will need

  • Litter box
  • Food bowl
  • Water bowl

Tip

  • If you notice your cat bumping into things or behaving confused, take her to see her veterinarian. When your cat is treated early on, full blindness is preventable, according to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
 

Photo Credits

  • David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images