Thursday, December 31, 2020

How Can I Make Life Easier for My Blind Cat?



A cataract developed on Carmine's left eye when he was young. As time went on, the cataract continued to grow in his left eye, and he eventually developed a cataract in his right eye, too. Now, at nearly 16 years of age, Carmine is completely blind in his left eye and can see very little out of his right eye.

Carmine and I have always shared a very special bond. I believe his progressive vision loss has only brought us closer. As someone who is legally blind and struggling with progressive vision loss myself, I can relate to what Carmine is going through in a way few other people can.

Despite the challenges progressive vision loss brings, Carmine has adapted quite well to being nearly completely blind. In fact, if you didn't know him, you probably wouldn't guess that he has any vision issues here at home.

Over the years, I've learned quite a few ways in which I can make life easier on Carmine. I want to share what I've learned in hopes that it will help others with blind cats, too.

Keep Resources in the Same Place: Never change the location of your cat's food and water bowls or litter box. If you've just adopted a blind cat, help him learn the location of his food, water, and litter by placing him directly in front of his food and water bowls and into the litter box. Let your cat find his way back to where he wants to go by himself so that he can memorize how to get to these essentials from various parts of the house.

You may need to show your kitty where his food, water, and litter are located several times before he learns their locations. Be patient. Your kitty will learn where these essential items are located.

Don't Move the Furniture: A blind cat memorizes where things are in his environment. Moving the furniture could confuse and disorient him.

Block the Stairs: Use baby gates to block the stairs at both the bottom and the top until your cat learns where they are. This is going to be especially important if you've just adopted a blind cat or if your cat has gone blind suddenly.

Keep a Tidy Home: It's easy to come home and kick your shoes off wherever you want, leaving them there for the next day, but leaving clutter around can be dangerous for a cat who can't see it. Keep clutter, such as shoes, clothes, children's toys, and bags off the floor as much as you can.

Help Him Orient Himself: You can help your cat find his way around your home using his sense of touch. A cat's paws are very sensitive; you can use this to your cat's advantage. Place differently textured throw rugs on each door threshold in your home to help your cat orient himself to his surroundings. For instance, you can put a wool rug in the threshold between your hallway and bedroom and a cotton rug in the threshold separating your kitchen and dining room. You can also put carpet runners in your hallways to help orient your cat.


Identify Other Pets: Though cats have a strong sense of smell, putting bells on the other cats and dogs in your home may help your blind cat know where other pets in your home are. If you have more than one other pet in the home, you can put bells with different tones on each pet to help your blind cat identify which other pets are near him.

Identify Yourself: Try not to sneak up on your blind cat and touch him without warning. I always start talking to Carmine before I touch or pet him to let him know I'm there. I know how frightening it can be to be touched or grabbed by someone you don't know is there.

If your cat is sleeping in a bed when you want to pet him, let him know you are there by giving the bed a couple of gentle taps or a light shake.

Put Him Down in Familiar Spots: If you pick your cat up and move him, it's very important that you put him down in a place he knows very well. You could put him down in front of his food and water bowls or in his litter box. You could also put him on one of the textured throw rugs in your home.

Whenever I pick up Carmine, I put him down either in his heated cat bed or on my bed. He knows these two spots incredibly well, so I know putting him down in one of these spots will not disorient him.

Engage His Other Senses: Carmine doesn't have enough vision to play with fishing pole-type toys, so I get him toys that engage his other senses. Carmine loves the smell of Yeowww! catnip toys and has several throughout our home. He also has an egg-shaped toy that chirps when he bats it with his paw.

If your cat enjoys catnip, catnip toys are great toys to give him. You can also try silvervine and valerian-scented toys. Toys that make noise are also great for blind kitties. If your cat has a little vision, he might like a toy that lights up, like a ball that flashes light when he bats it with his paw.

Just because your cat can't see doesn't mean he wouldn't enjoy an open window as much as a sighted cat. Get your cat a window perch so he can enjoy the sounds and smells of the outdoors. Make sure the window has a secure screen so your kitty can't accidentally escape to the outdoors.

Provide Contrast: If your cat has even a little vision, providing contrast may help him find objects more easily. I've found that Carmine can find his treats much easier if I place them on a piece of white printer paper than on the carpet. I also buy him toys that stand out against the flooring in our home.

Don't Trim His Whiskers: You should never trim a cats whiskers; they help him navigate his environment.


Never Let Your Cat Go Outdoors Unsupervised: You shouldn't let cats spend time outdoors whether they can see or not. If you want to take your cat outdoors, use a leash and harness or pet stroller so he can experience nature safely. Enclosed catios are also great for allowing cats to enjoy the outdoors.

Microchip and ID Your Cat: It's recommended that all cats get a microchip. When a cat has a microchip, it's more likely that you'll be reunited with him if he gets lost. An ID tag is also beneficial if your cat gets lost. You may want to note your cat's blindness on his tag so others are aware of his vision issues if they find him.

Blind cats are loving and wonderful companions. You can help your blind cat live a happy and fulfilled life with just a few modifications to your home and your lifestyle.

Do you have any other tips to share? Please share them with us in the comments section!


  1. That is all common sense, but I would not have thought of half of the items you listed. Thank you so much - I'm saving this page as a favorite just in case I ever need this info. Wonderful article.

  2. The idea of having textures, like different rugs and carpets, is so very smart! At this point, we have a kitty with limited hearing, but one never knows what the future will bring.
    Happy New Year!

  3. That was so much information and Carmine is such a sweetie and we know how much he loves you and appreciates your love and care.

  4. You are the best kitty mom, that Carmine could ever ask for! Kudos to you for helping him adapt, and hugs to you all!
    Happy New Year, too:)

  5. Carmine you are a lucky fellow to have such a loving Mom. Happy Mew Year Friends!
    Timmy and Family

  6. Happy New Year tp you and dear Carmine and Tynan !

  7. Such an informative post, Sierra. Carmine is so fortunate to have such a loving and attentive mom!

  8. There is a lot of good information here including things I would never have thought of. You are the best cat mom he could ever wish for.

  9. Excellent post. I will share this with my mom as her cat is now blind and deaf. I am sorry Carmine has lost most of his vision. XO

  10. This is all such great advice. You are very smart about what a cat with impaired vision needs.

  11. Very helpful Sierra. I’m pet sitting for a blind kitty right now and the ideas of putting treats on paper and playing with toys that make noise or have high scent value is great.