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  1. #1
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    Has anybody ever owned a BLIND cat or dog?

    I just adopted an 18 year old, blind tomcat from the Humane Society. We have been jonesing for a new boy since our old one left us in Feb. this year, at the ripe old age of 19.

    So I know how to take care of old animals, give injections, etc. but I've never dealt with a blind one before. We got him separated from our two females.....right now, he's confined to the front bedroom, which is about 50 times bigger than the cage he was living in at the shelter. This is pretty challenging to him...it seems like he can't jump up on the bed, due to not being able to see the trop. He jumps down ok, though. He's learning the room dimensions now, but if anything is moved, he gets confused.

    So if anybody here has ever owned a blind animal before, do you have any suggestions? I don't intend to take him back or euthanize him.
    Re-Cycled Person who rides a mountain bicycle.

  2. #2
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    Seems like you are doing an incredible job creating a safe environment for your boy! What is his name?

    I have not had experience with a blind pet, but my dog was totally deaf and his vision very poor the last 2-3 years of his life. Keeping routines consistent, (food and water bowl and bed in same place), gating off stairs, letting our presence known.. try not to startle. I would reward Rocky for good behaviour with small treats, and cuddles

    I think that it is amazing that you have adopted an elderly or sensory disabled pet but I think pets are very adaptive to their environments. Just keep it safe and predictable if possible.
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  3. #3
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    I am afraid I have no experience with this, but I would think keeping things consistent is important as Licious says. I do have to say that I think it is wonderful that you have chosen to make this guy's fading years some years with some love and good care. More power to you, and him, you have brought a lump to my throat
    It's all Here. Now.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclelicious View Post
    Seems like you are doing an incredible job creating a safe environment for your boy! What is his name?

    I have not had experience with a blind pet, but my dog was totally deaf and his vision very poor the last 2-3 years of his life. Keeping routines consistent, (food and water bowl and bed in same place), gating off stairs, letting our presence known.. try not to startle. I would reward Rocky for good behaviour with small treats, and cuddles

    I think that it is amazing that you have adopted an elderly or sensory disabled pet but I think pets are very adaptive to their environments. Just keep it safe and predictable if possible.
    I'm hoping this one will adapt to a set of three carpeted steps, so he can get up and down off the bed, couch, etc. So if anybody knows anything about them, especially which ones that are good for blind animals, I'd love to hear about it.
    Re-Cycled Person who rides a mountain bicycle.

  5. #5
    gobsmacked Moderator
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    Ooooh! First of all...YOU ARE AWESOME!

    I don't have a blind pet but from what I've read, they are very very adaptable. One of my friends had a dog that went blind and they kept things off the floor and the dog managed great. I don't think they get the same pain as us when they stub their toes on the corner of the sofa or coffee table. :P

    I've seen those stairs that you mentioned at Petco and Petsmart. Probably could make them pretty easily too. The carpeted ones are nice since they have nails than can help their grip. I used a simple stool as a jump spot for mine when she got older and more frail. I think one of those copy boxes with some weight in them could work too if you want something before you commit on the stairs.

    Good on you, Ray! I would give you a hug if I could.

    some links:
    Blind Cat - 8 Ways to Help a Blind Cat
    How To Care For Blind Cats

  6. #6
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    Here's another AWESOME! for you Ray! You got some good karma coming your way from the powers that be.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by girlonbike View Post
    Ooooh! First of all...YOU ARE AWESOME!

    I don't have a blind pet but from what I've read, they are very very adaptable. One of my friends had a dog that went blind and they kept things off the floor and the dog managed great. I don't think they get the same pain as us when they stub their toes on the corner of the sofa or coffee table. :P

    I've seen those stairs that you mentioned at Petco and Petsmart. Probably could make them pretty easily too. The carpeted ones are nice since they have nails than can help their grip. I used a simple stool as a jump spot for mine when she got older and more frail.

    Good on you, Ray! I would give you a hug if I could.
    Thanks. I'm gonna get some of those. Thing is, he's 18 years old, so I don't really know how much he CAN adapt.
    Re-Cycled Person who rides a mountain bicycle.

  8. #8
    gobsmacked Moderator
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    hmm...I've had some pets that got very old and I have to say, they adapted way better than I will getting old. They're made of tougher stuff than us, those little beasts.

  9. #9
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    The idea we have is to gradually expand the areas he can access as he gets familiar with the room he's in. We also have the issue of how he is going to fit in with the other cars. The H.S. listed him as 'good with other cat'. They claimed that he would be better off in a home with other cats. so far, it doesn't look that way.

    He also has other health issues. He had an upper respiratory infection that was supposed to be resolved with only a bit of sneezing left. But we are finding that he sneezes quite a lot at times, and the GF just discovered that he had fleas. The shelter was supposed to have 'Advantaged' him, and they gave me a thorough looking set of pages detailing his medical history, and lab tests. I got some Revolution to put on him at my Vet, so I put that on about an hour ago. Hadn't planned on applying it for at leas a week or two, but fleas are fleas, and that room was flea-free. So now I got a PO-ed human to deal with on account of that, too....
    Re-Cycled Person who rides a mountain bicycle.

  10. #10
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    The world needs more people like you Ray. There are so many animals that need end of life homes and no where near enough people willing to take them in. Earlier this year we adopted Karl. He's a 10ish yr old Boxer/hound mix who's not only blind but deaf as well. He uses his nose a lot to get around and he follows our other two dogs pretty well. The first few weeks were a bit awkward to say the least.

    I think you're on the right track. We only let Karl in the downstairs living room and dining room (baby gates) for a while. Once he gradually learned the house with us, we noticed he would follow us close as we moved around to learn where we walked. He still runs into things like our ottoman and half open doors once in a while and it's sad and funny all at the same time. When he's surprised by something he hits the ground, duck and cover!

    I'll post some pictures when I get home.
    The cake is a lie.

  11. #11
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    Re: Has anybody ever owned a BLIND cat or dog?

    My dear Nicholas was both blind and deaf. He did fine in a three story townhouse with six other cats. He even played! The trick to getting him to play was to shake a toy in his whiskers so he could sense it.

    Keep his world small to start. Make sure he's always proximal to litter box in that small initial space. Then gradually increase his area. This will help him with both with orientation AND getting into the pecking order with the other cats. Unfortunately, Nick was always the lowest man on the totem pole - but he didn't seem to care.

    The get the cat to use the steps up to the bed, put a cat treat or two on each step leading him upward.

    Our Nick was like a Roomba vacuum cleaner. He spun in ever widening circles until he bumped into something he could orient from.

    Oh - and he didn't like getting picked up. That would cause him to lose his orientation in his mental map. He wouldn't know where he was when we put him back down. Then he'd do his spiral trick to find a landmark and reorient. So try to minimize picking him up.

    Sent from my DROID BIONIC using Tapatalk 2

  12. #12
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    Kubikeman and connolm, thanks for the input. I'll try out some of your suggestions. This boy also may or may not be diabetic....his previous owner had a vet diagnose him as a kitten, and he had been on insulin until she relinquished him. That means 18 years of insulin. At the shelter, they gave him an initial shot, but when they re-checked him, his BG was fine. They put him on a special diet food ..."DM diet. Wet and kibble. Since he started to eat only that, his BG has been normal for over a month.

    In addition to blindness, he also exhibits nystagmus. Side-to-side movements of the eyes. My vet doesn't know what that may be due to, and suggests I take him to a veterinary opthamologist. I just got him a set of pet steps, and with some complaining from him, he climbed them up to the bed. Now if only he will remember to do it on his own!

    He's a big boned cat, at 18+ lb.s he is really not very fat at all. The GF finds him very hard to pick up, so he won't be getting much of that, I think. I'll remember when I pick him up to put him down on his blanket, so he'll know where he is. Good tip!
    Re-Cycled Person who rides a mountain bicycle.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockerc View Post
    I am afraid I have no experience with this, but I would think keeping things consistent is important as Licious says. I do have to say that I think it is wonderful that you have chosen to make this guy's fading years some years with some love and good care. More power to you, and him, you have brought a lump to my throat
    You really ought to have that lump checked out!

    But seriously, I think I benefited from taking in my old tom, the one who lived to 19, more than he did. He taught me a lot about cat behavior and such. That cat had an incredibly strong spirit.
    If anything, I think animal spirits are actually stronger than human spirits. The Big Brain thing really does not make a difference in that department.

    One of my favorite books by Kurt Vonnegut was "Galapagos". If anyone here hasn't read it, I highly recommend.
    Re-Cycled Person who rides a mountain bicycle.

  14. #14
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    Ray, how about a few pictures of your new buddy?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wishful Tomcat View Post
    Ray, how about a few pictures of your new buddy?
    I've never posted any pics before, believe it or not, I still don't know how, but the GF does. I'm gonna try and get her to show me, and post up a few pics of the various cats we have/had, including my late tomcat, who was known as the King of the cats.
    Re-Cycled Person who rides a mountain bicycle.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Raton View Post
    I've never posted any pics before, believe it or not, I still don't know how, but the GF does. I'm gonna try and get her to show me, and post up a few pics of the various cats we have/had, including my late tomcat, who was known as the King of the cats.
    Great!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by connolm View Post
    So try to minimize picking him up.
    I think a "trench" shaped bed may help with this, as the cat can only lay 1 of 2 directions in it, like this, our cat loves it,



    It is 2x4 in the fron, a 2x6 in the back, with a towel stapled to the top of each board to form a hammock and fleece laid on top. Actually, with one side taller than the other the cat would always know it orientation in that bed.

  18. #18
    gobsmacked Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Raton View Post
    I've never posted any pics before, believe it or not, I still don't know how,
    How did you find the internet? Just kidding. Kinda. Yeah, man! Let's see some pictures!

  19. #19
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    Hey! Connolm's wife posting this.

    Dude, if there were more like you in the world, this place would be so much better!!! As far as i can tell...you both got a good deal. Sorry to butt in...my husband showed me this post. I think they give you everyting and MORE than you put into it...so congrats...you did the right thing. Thanks for taking the buddy in! You rock!

  20. #20
    gobsmacked Moderator
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    I wish more wives read their husbands' posts.

  21. #21
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    Has anybody ever owned a BLIND cat or dog?

    Quote Originally Posted by girlonbike View Post
    I wish more wives read their husbands' posts.
    Mine does.

    Kudos Ray for adopting this old fart of a cat. All the advice so far has been great. I would add to keep clutter to a minimum but would also point out that wide open spaces might be disorienting.

    My wife and I had an old cat that was losing its sight and hearing. Not totally blind or deaf but enough to upset her. She adapted well mostly but would yowl at night. I think the dark bothered her because her loss of vision was probably exaggerated then. A night light helped (i got a motion sensing one). If this guy has any sight left, it may help him, too.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    Mine does.

    Kudos Ray for adopting this old fart of a cat. All the advice so far has been great. I would add to keep clutter to a minimum but would also point out that wide open spaces might be disorienting.

    My wife and I had an old cat that was losing its sight and hearing. Not totally blind or deaf but enough to upset her. She adapted well mostly but would yowl at night. I think the dark bothered her because her loss of vision was probably exaggerated then. A night light helped (i got a motion sensing one). If this guy has any sight left, it may help him, too.
    That sounds like a good idea, Nate. I'm thinking it will also prevent us from stepping on him, or more likely tripping over him. He's a big boy. 18 lb.s is gettin' lean for him.
    Re-Cycled Person who rides a mountain bicycle.

  23. #23
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    my cat is slowly going blind. he still manages ok. cats are good at navagating, give him some time to get used to things and he should be fine.

  24. #24
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    Props to you Ray.

    Lots of good advice already given in here, so I'll just add my $0.02 on a couple things:

    1. For the upper respiratory problem, or just a bit of help to the immune system in general, try adding a squirt of Enisyl-F to one or more meals a day. We use this for one of our cats that was adopted (as a kitten) with a chronic URI, and it definitely makes a difference in the frequency of symptoms (watery eyes & sneezing).

    2. Food-grade diatamatious earth for flea control, in the carpets and furniture. Makes a dusty mess when applied, but vacuums up fairly easily, and is non-toxic.

    3. Expanding on NateHawk's idea of the night light: Consider placing items throughout the expanding "territory" that have familiar scents, to help your buddy navigate. Maybe fabric that he's slept on a few times. Another idea would be something like battery-operated clocks that tick (not too obnoxiously).
    "Two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights make a left."
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  25. #25
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    Thanks, b-kuhl, the thing about this cat of course, is his age......everyone gets less adaptable as they get old. But after 3 days in the one bedroom, he has improved a lot, so I'm hopeful.

    random walk, thanks for the product suggestions, I will definitely look into them. He has already learned the lay of the land in the room we have him in...I'm a bit surprised, to tell you the truth. He's an old cat.
    Re-Cycled Person who rides a mountain bicycle.

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