Do Old Cats Go Blind?

James Glover
by James Glover
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QuestionDoes a cat's sense of sight decrease with age? I have an older cat, and I suspect she doesn't see as well as she used to. (Glen - Columbus)

Answer

The physical deterioration of the body is normally apparent foremost in the senses. Although it is not always the case, very often the sight is the first sign of an aging cat. Cloudiness of the eyes is a sign that eyesight is deteriorating, as is a cat which bumps into things. A cat blind in one eye is easily startled by sudden movements on his blind side. Blind cats are easily disoriented and must not be allowed to roam; indoors only or indoors with access to an outdoor enclosure is best. He may enjoy walking in the garden using a harness and lead and these trips can be enjoyable for you both as you can observe what things attract the attention of your cat. Make sure he wears an elasticated collar stating his address and disability in case he escapes and becomes lost.

Blind cats rely on scent and memory to find their way around so keep furniture, food and litter in the same place and don't leave obstacles in unexpected places where he could walk into them. Carrying a blind cat around will disorient him so if you do move him, place him at floor level somewhere familiar e.g. his feeding or sleeping area so he can easily get its bearings. Sound is very important to a blind cat and many enjoy playing with jingle toys or rustling paper (e.g. paper grocery bags).

Disclaimer: This service is meant to provide advice only and is not meant to replace an appointment with a registered veterinarian. Users should always seek a second opinion. Unfortunately we are only able to answer several questions per week so not everyone gets a published answer. And, unfortunately we can't answer by email.
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