Do you have a dog or cat that is blind or is seemingly going blind? Odds are the disability is of more concern to you than it is to your fur-baby; he can get along just fine, thank you, by relying on his senses: smell and hearing.
Just as people tend to need glasses as they age, so does vision tend to deteriorate in older cats and also in dogs. But the animals adjust to the deficit and make accommodations so successfully that owners often are surprised to discover that their aging buddy has become sightless!
Eye disorders can affect the vision of pets at any age at all, but are more common in older animals. Cataracts turn the clear lens of the eye cloudy and opaque, and ultimately, the result is blindness. Older pets also can suffer glaucoma—an increased pressure within the eyeball which leads to blindness. However, treatments are available but expensive and limited to specialty veterinary ophthalmology practices.
Keep in mind though, a blind pet—old or young—can have a wonderful, happy life, and is no less loving.
Here are some steps you can take to improve the safety and comfort level of your blind pet…
Do not change the locations of food and water bowls or pet beds and litter boxes, and you should also avoid rearranging the furniture in your home.
Safeguard danger zones.
Pad any sharp edges of furniture until your pet learns to avoid certain danger. You should also block off steep stairways with baby gates.
Some blind pets become more dependent on you, act more clingy than they used to, and follow you around. You should get in the habit of speaking to your cat when you enter or leave a room to help her keep track of your whereabouts.
If you have more than one animal in your home, another cat or dog may end up serving as a guide for the blind pet. You can help your blind pet also by attaching a bell or other noise maker to the other animal’s collar.
Blind pets tend to startle more easily, so you should always speak to your cat before petting him to avoid being accidentally nipped or swatted in reflex.
Remember, blind pets typically are still very content. They will continue to enjoy and remain engaged in life and the world around them—including you.
Above all, they still and will always need … our love.