Adopting A Blind Cat: What You Need To Know

We here at CITF feature a lot of blind kitties in our Bachelor/ette of the Week posts, but some of you may need more information on what it’s like to adopt a blind cat before you consider it. I have partnered with my trusty friends at Tree House Humane to bring you the answers you need to decide if you’d like to make a blind kitty part of your family.

Doc Watson of Tabby's Place

Doc Watson of Tabby’s Place (photo courtesy of Tabby’s Place)

Crepes: What’s the most important thing to know about adopting a blind cat?

Tree House: They can’t see, but blind cats use their other senses (and most importantly their whiskers!) to compensate and can get around fine once they know the floor plan of their home. They can do just about anything a seeing cat can do. Don’t think a blind cat is a good choice because they won’t jump on your kitchen counters, not true! They can jump and climb just fine!

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C: What’s the acclimation to a new home like?  Are there any special precautions that someone would need to take to keep the kitty safe?
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TH: They will get to know their environment using cues like  the texture of the floor, etc. Some people say you can’t ever move your furniture. That isn’t true. The cat will learn to adjust to those kinds of changes although it is nice to leave their food bowls, litterboxes, etc. in the same place if possible.
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Kady from Tree House had this to say about acclimating her own blind cat:
“When I first acclimated my blind cat to my house, I showed her where everything in her acclimation room was first. I didn’t have to do this with every room in the house, because as she got more confident she started to explore things on her own. At first, I had pet stairs leading up to bed for her and she used them, but I quickly found out that she absolutely didn’t need them! She gets around just as well as all my other cats do. In fact, lots of people ask me if she is really 100% blind! She is.”
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 C: Does the acclimation process differ for a cat versus a kitten?
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TH: I don’t think it does. I would say a kitten born blind will have an easier time adjusting than an adult cat who becomes blind later in life, but the acclimation process is the same.
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C: Can a blind cat be left home alone in the same manner as a sighted cat?
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TH:  Yes!
Chief Big Tree of Tree House

Chief Big Tree of Tree House

C: Are there any specific health problems that blind cats are more prone to?
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TH: It depends on the condition that left them blind in the first place. Cats can become blind due to common health issues that are left untreated like: hypertension, diabetes, hyperthyroid, upper respiratory infections, and internal parasites. The good news is that all of these are treatable conditions and many of them can be avoided in part with a good diet. Regular check ups, watching for signs of illness, like changes in eating, drinking or litter box habits, and a good diet are all good ways to keep your blind cat (and any cat) healthy.
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C: Are there any other things you’d like to add about living with a blind cat?
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TH: I think that living with an animal with any kind of disability can be awe-inspiring. Cats are especially resilient creatures and to see them go about their day as if nothing is wrong is wonderful to experience. Blind cats can be especially interesting to watch as they navigate with grace and ease without the use of their eyes. Since most humans rely so heavily on their eyes to get around, it is something most of us can’t readily relate to, making it quite amazing to watch them.
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And don’t think that blind cats don’t play with toys! Kady’s kitty loves them!

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My blind girl is older and not quite as playful as my some of my younger cats, but she does love catnip! She can find it anywhere it lurks. She does play with toys as long as you can make them audible. She also loves to sit in windows when they are open, listening to and smelling everything that is happening outside.
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There you have it! We hope that that takes away some of the mystery and apprehension you may have had about adopting a blind cat. When you’re next looking to adopt, please consider these wonderful animals! Even though they’re blind, they’re likely going to open your eyes to a whole new world of love.
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Special thanks to Jenny, Kady, and Sydney at Tree House!
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Love,
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Crepes.
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Some of our recent blind bachelor/ettes:
ChiefBigTree_full bachelor
Also, please vote for the Inheritance, because we really want to win this year. -Crepes.

25 thoughts on “Adopting A Blind Cat: What You Need To Know

  1. Very interesting. It is cool to see that blind cats get around their disability so easily. I assume that all of the other senses take over for the missing visual sense (just like in blind humans). I know someone who is interested in starting a rescue for blind cats and I will pass this post along to her. 🙂

  2. Last year at BlogPaws, my human had a great time getting to know Odilia, a blind kitty that Connie from Tails From the Foster Kittens brought with her. She was a wild little girl and everyone fell in love with her.

  3. This is such good information! Like Layla, we have a one-eyed cat, and we are big proponents of adopting visually impaired cats. The more peeps know, the less they will be afraid of adopting cats who are a little different but have a lot of love to give!

  4. I loved reading about this topic as I have wondered how they got along. I have read some of the bloggers info occasionally but this is much more informative as it is centered directly on blind cats. Thank you for it.

  5. We are sure blind kitties make wonderful companions! The Mom has severe vision impairment (but not fully blind) and she understands what living with a disability is like. Hers is thinking about getting a blind kitty someday. The special needs kitties are very special in many ways.

  6. Having fostered a blind kitten (Odilia mentioned above) I can tell you they are absolutely amazing. Everyone constantly asked me if she had some sight, but lacking eyeballs that simply wasn’t possible.

    Odilia did, and continues to do, things that amaze people who know she can’t see. Being born blind, she had no preconceived notions that her life was limited, so she simply lives life with out limits..

  7. I have always wanted to adopt a blind cat and would do so in a skinny minute except there are way too many cats here right now. And it wouldn’t be fair to the any cat to bring them into this house of cats. But it is good to know all those facts. Where can I find info on blind cats that need homes?? I would love to put them on my blog etc. Thanks for this info.

    • I usually check at places like Tabby’s Place or Tree House humane because they are no-kill and tend to have a higher percentage of special needs animals. There’s also a Blind Cat Rescue that I haven’t worked with personally but have heard great things about. – Crepes.

  8. I have four blind cats. I love this blog posting. With my cats, I do move furniture every two months because it allows them to explore and learn the environment again. I do keep some things in the same spot, but we are moving items like furniture and climbers to keep them active. They live with normal cats and they have a blast. Thanks for having a blog with blind felines. God Bless.

  9. I watch Blind Cat Rescue’s cam all the time and those cat’s are amazing. They don’t even know they are blind. My elderly kitty went blind at the end but; he still got around pretty good. This is wonderful information to have.

  10. I agree with Layla as I learned first hand what it was like when Phoebe lost most of her vision from hypertension a few months before going to the Bridge. She acclimated fast and amazed me with how well she did. I would not hesitate adopting a cat with a visual impairment in the future, they are just as fun as any other.

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  14. I have a blind cat that I rescued as a kitten and was unaware she was blind. A vet opthomolist on examination found that it was permanent. I admire her so much, she is fearless. Her senses are developed to the extent that she actually catches flies out of the air. I moved and she actually acclimated to my new home faster than my seeing dog. She will actually jump from the couch and off of the bed with no fear. Her food and litter box are never moved but I don’t do anything special regarding shoes or items left on floor. She has her own toy basket and she has her preference of certain toys that she litters the house with.
    She is curious of the outdoors and has walked out but is quick to return inside where she is comfortable. She is loving and an absolute joy.

  15. Our cat Eddie has been blind from birth..no trouble at all, don’t have to make any special adjustments for him, he gets about just fine. Our kids are messy and leave things where they drop. Eddie avoids them like magic.

    We take him into the garden on one of those 10m extendable leads and a harness sometimes and he plays with anything, especially loves sheets of paper on an old magazine. The only things we do that are special are.

    1. Careful with open windows, because he is brave and will explore, even on the 3rd floor
    2. We never put anything on the stairs, only because he loves running up them as fast as possible (which is pretty fast)
    3. Food and water always in the same place
    4. Litter box in same place, but a top tip here…get the largest litter tray you can. Also place it within a rectangular cardboard box the same size (or cut to fit) and cut off one end. The 12-14 inch high walls of the cardboard box are a very useful guide for a blind cat in a littler tray and the box itself catches litter that gets kicked about. Any accidents are well contained.

  16. I adopted a newly blind adult cat yesterday from a rescue and will be picking him up today. I can’t wait to welcome him into my home. Thank you for the information. It is very helpful. Any advice on getting him acclimated to my other three sighted kitties (who are all seniors)? Do they react (know) differently to blind cats? Will my new blind cat be terrified? Thank you.

    • Congrats on your new friend! From our understanding, most kitties will treat a blind kitty as any normal cat. My advice would be to follow the usual protocol for introducing cats to each other. Start with them separated, then allow smell contact, followed by sight contact (for the sighted kitties) and then touch when you think it’s time. Don’t let them alone together for several weeks or months, depending on how they are progressing. Work with the blind kitty to make sure he understands the layout of everything and allow him a safe space and plenty of voice contact from you to keep him comfortable and at ease during introductions. He’s going to rely a lot on smell and sound, so make sure he’s able to hear the kitties and smell them well prior to first physical contact. You know your cats best so you’ll be able to gauge how things are going. When we let our feral cat into the house recently, he’d been on the outside with visual and smell contact for so many months that introductions in person could not have gone smoother. Don’t rush things and stay patient. Good luck!

      Alana.

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