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Is my cat blind?

(21 Posts)
Passmethecrisps Sun 31-Jan-16 20:10:56

Wee cat is approx 15. We rehomed her from the sspca at roughly 2-3 years olds and she had been a joy.

She developed hypothyroidism which we treated by a month stay at the Royal vet school for radioiodine therapy. She then showed symptoms of idiopathic feline cystitis which we treat/manage by cystophan supplements and feliway plug ins around the house (as well as no dry food, multiple litter trays cleaned every day and fresh water in bowls around the house).

Now we think she is blind sad

Initially we thought it was only in low light as we gently shone torches towards her and she seemed to react. But now I suspect she is completely blind. She has walked into my legs numerous times today both in broad daylight and in Lowe light.

Does anyone have suggestions on how to make her life more comfortable? We have a 3 year old who adores her 'sister' but is is hard managing their interactions given how much old cat seems to come and go.

Not sure what I am asking. Happy endings anyone?

Passmethecrisps Sun 31-Jan-16 20:12:03

Gosh sorry for typos. Have greasy fingers which is messing with my screen

BatteryOperatedBoyfriend Sun 31-Jan-16 20:15:43

Do you/can you keep her inside? Lovely comfy bed, lots of cuddles and nice food/treats. Just fuss her and keep her loved and safe.

And a cuddle from me.

My 4 year old only child has a Labrador as a sister grin

Passmethecrisps Sun 31-Jan-16 20:17:36

Aw thank you.

She is already an inside cat. Always has been. She likes a wee wander with us occasionally but comes back in quickly.

Could it come and go?

BatteryOperatedBoyfriend Sun 31-Jan-16 20:24:17

I don't know anything about the blindness. My cat is deaf sad and she gets a fuss.

Hopefully someone more knowledgeable will come along soon.

TamzinGrey Sun 31-Jan-16 22:22:09

Our 19 year old cat suddenly became blind about nine months ago. First sign was that she started bumping into things. The vet hasn't been able to find anything physically wrong with her eyes, and her pupils still respond to light, so the theory is that she has a brain tumour, or has suffered a stroke.

It's taken a long time, and was very very upsetting at first, both for her and for us, but she's gradually got used to finding her way around the house and appears very happy and content now. She finds her way around by touching familiar things - e.g. she will feel the rug in the dining room against her paw, and know that she needs to turn right to reach her food in the kitchen. To get upstairs she taps every step with her nose and can then gauge exactly where to place her foot. Various items around the house have become her place markers, so we've learned not to move stuff about unnecessarily. We also have strategically placed cushions all over the house to stop her bashing into sharp corners, or getting stuck in difficult places.

Going blind so suddenly did cause her a lot of distress and confusion at first, but she really does seem to be enjoying life again now. She relies a lot on her sense of smell, and when the weather is nice, she loves nothing better than an escorted stroll around the garden sniffing away at everything. We don't let her outside alone now as she is so vulnerable without sight.

Our girl also had radioiodine therapy for hyperthyroidism which involved a month in animal hospital and it seems so unfair that, having got through that, she's now got this blindness to contend with. As a result she gets spoiled rotten, which includes lots of cuddles and raw king prawns on demand.

Jitterybug Sun 31-Jan-16 22:32:39

My now departed lovely cat went completely blind for no apparent reason at the age of 7 and lived happily until he died aged 14.

The vet did various tests to check if he could see at all, torch in his eyes, floating bits of fluff in front of him, it was really sad watching him fail every test.

We made life at home as easy as possible, he already knew the house layout well, we just had to make sure we were all ultra tidy, so he wouldn't trip over things. If I noticed him struggling to judge distance when jumping or finding his way, I would click my fingers to guide him. Furniture, food dishes etc didn't get moved about. He loved playing with balls with bells in them. We talked to him lots on approach, so he wouldn't get surprised.

He actually did still go outside, never very far but he loved lying in the sun in the garden.

He was such a fab cat smile.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 31-Jan-16 22:50:32

Older cats who go blind should be checked by a vet as a significant number of them have high blood pressure which causes retinal detachment. If treated soon enough some can have retinal reattachment.
The high blood pressure can be secondary to kidney disease or a primary condition.

Mookbark Sun 31-Jan-16 23:10:44

Agree with the PP. You need to see a vet ASAP. Our 19 year old cat went blind in November. She has kidney disease and high blood pressure. The vet said her sight may come back, but she wasn't hopeful. It hadn't come back on the follow up visit 48 hours later and the vet said it was now unlikely too. However, after about 5 days it did! smile
Renal diet, two lots of medication daily costs a bloody fortune, but it's worth it.
Hope your cat recovers. If not, as an inside cat she can still have a good quality of life.

timtam23 Sun 31-Jan-16 23:29:45

My old boycat went blind aged about 17, to my great shame we only noticed something was wrong when he fell off the sofa but with hindsight he had been getting under our feet for a while so it had probably developed over weeks or perhaps a couple of months.
As mentioned above you should take your cat to be checked out for high blood pressure as the cause of my cat's blindness was retinal haemorrhages due to very highbloid pressure. He had also had hyperthyroidism the previous year (treated by surgery) so it's likely that the blood pressure was either thyroid or kidney-related.
We had to give him blood pressure medication for the rest of his life (just over a year) and we kept the furniture etc in the same place so as not to confuse him. Also we did not leave him on his own for long periods of time (e.g. for holidays - either me or DH would stay with the cat and the other one would go on holiday with children) - this may sound a bit extreme but we didn't want unfamiliar situations for him like a cattery or house sitter, and I worried that if left for longer than 24 hrs he could get stuck somewhere.

It was all quite intense at times and I have to say life has been more relaxed since he died, but as long as his quality of life was OK we wanted to keep going as he had been part of the family for so long.

Passmethecrisps Mon 01-Feb-16 06:38:47

Thank you everyone. I will try to get her to the vet ASAP.

timtam23 Mon 01-Feb-16 10:16:25

If it's any help my old blind boy actually seemed pretty content, he found his way around the house very well and would jump up onto things etc. He used his whiskers a lot more, to judge gaps. We had to be quite firm with the children about not leaving toys lying around downstairs so as not to muddle the cat. Ours had been an outdoorsy cat and obviously that couldn't go on but he still managed the catflap from time to time and he enjoyed going out for walks with DH, they would wander around in the yard/alley for a bit of fresh air and then come homehome. The tablet could be crushed so we mixed it with a bit of wet food and he took it absolutely fine. Good luck at the vets.

cozietoesie Mon 01-Feb-16 10:35:53

Keeping to a routine and having furniture in the same layout is very important I reckon. Seniorboy's eyesight is probably hardly there these days but he manages fine and is still a happy cat. He's been to his vet of course but she was of the view, especially given his breed, that he has age-related retinal atrophy/macular degeneration. (Difficult to tell clinically in a cat.) Nothing to be done at his age, really and it's mostly come on quite gradually.

I tend to keep some extra single lights going in rooms he likes to visit - just to act as a sort of 'pilot' in case he has some light and shade perception. It's more for his comfort than anything else though.

JonSnowKnowsNowt Mon 01-Feb-16 10:49:18

As a blind person, my tips for a comfortable life for your cat would be

- keep furniture always in the same place, don't pull out chairs or shift tables etc.
- have a routine about when things get done and where things get put (e.g bucket of washing always in exactly the same position on the same stair)
- keep channels of movement free of clutter (don't pile things in doorways etc.)
- have your cat's food/water bowl always in exactly the same place, not a millimetre difference
- keep doors always open or always shut, not at different angles
- when you approach your cat, talk so she knows you're they're and approaching, and always put your hand out to her in the same way (whatever she seems to prefer, e.g. holding it to her nose first, then moving to stroke her head and body) - make sure you're not grabbing her or plonking your hands on her when she doesn't know it's coming
- chat to her as you move around / go past, so she hears a comfortable voice and gets a sense of 'all's well'

she will adjust and have a happy life if you can do things like this which enable her to be independent and mobile (no projection here, honest, well maybe some!)

timtam23 Mon 01-Feb-16 10:52:20

YesYes great tips from JonSnow! I forgot about the chatting! I used to talk to old boy all the time, click my tongue when food was put down, he was very quick to pick these cues up.

cozietoesie Mon 01-Feb-16 11:25:34

Great tips indeed, JonSnow. I also forgot about the chatting but then chatting is a standard with Seniorboy. He's a very (*very*) vocal cat who is always answered so he probably has a fairly good idea of where everybody is in the house.

JonSnowKnowsNowt Mon 01-Feb-16 11:53:02

<considers new career as Blind Pets Advisor> grin

Don't rule out the outdoors, either. Setting out an interestingly sensory garden space for your cat will make her life more interesting. Same rules about things being in the same place. And put tactile markers (change of surface etc.) at any danger points like steps. Plant some things with nice smells (I don't know what cats consider a nice smell ...) and have some toys around (possibly attached to ground/permanent objects so they can't move too far away?) Try and make it easy for her to find/reach the cat flap/open door or whatever, so that if a noise startles her, she can dash back without obstacles.

Poledra Mon 01-Feb-16 12:02:49

I was just coming on to say that you should consider taking him to the vet, as FluffyCat seemed to lose his sight in the last few weeks of his life (and became very scared and hid in one room sad). He had retinal detachment, congestive heart failure and the beginnings of renal failure. Sadly, the meds didn't help him and we took the decision to have him put down shortly afterwards. I do think that the misery of his other conditions affected his quality of life - we could have managed with the sight loss but the fluid retention and shortness of breath and all the other symptoms of his heart/renal failure were too much for him to cope with.

I don't know if you'll remember me, cozie, but you were one of the people I talked to about taking on FluffyCat and his brother when they were 10 years old. We had 3 lovely years with him, and we still have his brother who appears to be in the rudest of health.

cozietoesie Mon 01-Feb-16 12:32:33

I do indeed remember, Poledra, and I'm so glad that you all had that time together.

As for his brother? Well - Seniorboy is now 21. A bit frail, I grant you, but still happy with his life and loving.

Just saying. smile

Passmethecrisps Sat 06-Feb-16 18:32:30

Wee cat update.

Vet thinks that her sight is deteriorating but no associated health conditions.

Thanks very much for the tips on managing it so she is happy and healthy.

I am very relieved!

cozietoesie Sat 06-Feb-16 20:12:10

That's good news. smile

All the best to you both.

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