How to Test a Cat's Vision

Blindness in cats is difficult to test.

Blindness in cats is difficult to test.

Vision is important to your cat's well-being. It is involved in orientation, interaction, navigation, hunting -- both real and pretend -- and general happiness. If your cat is bumping into objects, has cloudy eyes or is no longer interested in playing, you can test her vision to see if blindness or other problems are to blame.

Examine your cat's eyes for changes in appearance. Cloudiness, an altered reflection or increased redness may all indicate vision problems. If any changes are present, make an appointment with your veterinarian for a complete eye examination.

Move your hand slowly toward your cat's eye, making certain you do not cause any air current. She should be calm, but awake. If she blinks or turns away, she is likely seeing your hand approach. If she does not move, she may have a vision problem.

Shine a small, bright light into your cat's eye and watch for turning, blinking or squinting. Failure to respond indicates possible blindness.

Hold your hand above your cat's head and drop a small feather or piece of cotton wool in front of her. A cat with healthy vision will watch the item fall slowly to the ground. A visually impaired cat will have no interest.

Place objects in places your cat normally walks, such as in front of the couch or between the bathroom door and her litter pan. Because cats quickly adapt to their environment, even without the aid of vision, you'll need to block a usually clear path to test your cat's eyesight.

Set your cat up on an elevated surface and watch as she tries to get down. Do not place her more than 18 inches from the floor to prevent falling. Cats with poor vision will usually feel with their feet before attempting to jump or climb down, while cats with normal vision will just jump.

Watch your cat's pupils for a response when you shine a light back and forth in front of her eyes. A healthy pupil constricts when exposed to light, while an unhealthy pupil remains unchanged.

Items you will need

  • Pen light
  • Cotton wool

Tip

  • Sudden vision loss sometimes causes noticeable changes in behavior, such as appearing hesitant when walking around. Consult your vet if you notice such changes in your cat.
 

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