Although you might think of vision loss in cats as exclusive to elderly felines, cats of any age -- including wee kittens -- can have blindness. Though all kitties begin their lives blue-eyed and blind, a few never get their eyesight. Blindness is certainly a possibility for young cats.
Many things can cause blindness in kitties. Some kittens never have full vision for a day in their lives. Others lose their vision very early on. In some cases, blindness is hereditary. In others, vision problems are related to injury or eye infection. Possible causes for kitten blindness include eye inflammation, progressive retinal atrophy, roundworms and congenital glaucoma.
If your fluffball is unable to see, consider any physical accidents she might have experienced, and any health conditions. Any of these factors could have triggered or at least contributed to her blindness.
If you suspect that your precious pet might be blind but you aren't sure, be on the lookout for some key signs. Some notable symptoms of feline blindness are excessive squinting, clumsy behavior, persistent vocalization for no apparent reason, cloudy eyes, eye discoloration, general disorientation and pupils that are especially large.
One especially telling indication is if your wee one seems to be startled and surprised frequently. When a kitten just never seems alert or vigilant, there usually is an underlying cause.
Once you start noticing signs of vision difficulties in your kitty, take her to the veterinarian immediately for a detailed examination. If possible, seek out a vet that specializes in feline ophthalmology. Through diagnostic tests -- everything from blood count to visual tracking -- the vet should be able to tell you exactly what is going on and whether your kitten's vision problem is associated with another overarching medical condition, such as cancer.
Certain breeds are more vulnerable to blindness. The ASPCA states that Persian, Abyssinian and Bengal cats are genetically more susceptible to progressive retinal atrophy, a possible cause of kitten blindness. If your kitten is from one of those breeds, pay especially close attention to her eyesight.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.