Caring For and Training a Blind Cat


I am needing some help badly!

About a month and a half ago my husband and some other guys at his work rescued some kittens. Their mother had been hanging around his shop and they knew she had kittens so they left her alone until they came to work one day and she had been hit and killed by a car. So they went and found the kittens and four were already dead. Four were still living. My husband brought home two and the others went to other guys from his work.
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I took them to the vet and she guessed they had to be about 3 weeks old. We nurtured them and hand fed them and "hand pottied" them like their mama would have. They were just starting to drink their kitty formula from a saucer and getting curious about the litter box when tragedy struck!

I had to run to the store and left my older teens in charge. My 7 yr. old and 3 yr. old were fighting over the kittens and because they were so young we kept telling the 3 yr. old he could only hold them when we helped him. He kept getting told he couldn't hold them right now and he wouldn't put them down. So when one of the older kids started to come to him to get the kitten he threw her toward the couch. Only instead of landing on the couch, she flew over the couch.
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We live in a split-level home and so she hit the foyer wall and then fell about 8 feet down onto a stone tile foyer floor. Two of the other kids was downstairs and didn't know what was going on, one of the older kids ran down to get the kitten and before they knew it the 3 yr. old was throwing a tantrum and starts throwing everything he can grab, including the other kitten! Thankfully, she did not hit the wall and was fine.

I arrived home within five minutes of this happening and rushed both kittens to the vet, which is only five mins. away. They said there wasn't much that could be done except get a sterrhoid shot to take care of any swelling in the brain, but to wait and see. I was horrified! Needless to say, our "special K" (special kitty) survived and is just that, our "Special K". The first few days she just laid around. We had to force feed her and we were back to "hand pottying" her too. Slowly she started getting up and around and would walk in circles only and now walks all over. Right after the accident she was completely blind also and slowly got her sight back as well.

So my dilemma's are this:
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1. She will not go potty in the litter box. I don't know if this will get better with time or not. She keeps sneaking under my furniture and going #1 and #2.

2. Her sister, who is on normal level wants to play with her all of the time. At first we were very protective of her but she started showing signs of being able to hold her own and defend herself. But this week the sister has been ruthless and very rough and "Special K" hasn't been able to keep up. They start out playing and then it gets rough. She has hurt her leg twice this week and limps on it pretty badly.

We keep getting asked why we didn't put her down, but she is just such a special kitty. Partly out of guilt, but partly out of care and concern, I just think she has potential to be a wondeful companion to someone, if not for us. We have tried to think of what could be done to accomodate her that wouldn't be too confining. I suggested to my husband making a sort of port a crib for her. But she surprised us this week and has been jumping up on the furniture so she may try to climb out of it.

I am just confused as to what we can do to help the potty issue and then decide if her sister will be too much for her to be around her. Any suggestions? We love her so much!

Tawnda

Answers:

Caring For and Training a Blind Cat

Tawnda,

First I want to commend you for NOT putting the kitten down. We've had several kittens with birth defects and found a blind kitten about 3 weeks ago. We had one kitten who had severe birth defects and our regular vet was very supportive and encouraged us to raise him; however, when we had to take him to another local vet for an emergency, the vet acted really "grossed out" but our kitten and said with great disgust, "Most people would put down something like that." No, I've never been back to him again. Anyway, I think it's a wonderful thing you are doing.

Some things that may help with the potty training issue: When the kitten first wakes up, put him in the box. If he doesn't go then, put him in the box again in 5 minutes or so. Like us, animals usually have to go when they first get up. If you see or hear the kitten getting ready to go to the bathroom, quickly stick it in the litter box. Sometimes you can catch it this way. I have to honest with you, however. We have one kitten who was born with deformed front paws and he just doesn't like to use the litter box so I do a lot of cleaning up.

I like Susan's idea for using a squirt bottle on Special K's sister when she gets too rough. I've had great success with using a squirt bottle for training.

You might want to try sticking Special K in a large pet carrier for protection when her sister gets too rough. We laid down a towel in the bottom of one of our carriers and were putting our blind kitty in it along with a snuggle toy and some water. He was very content in there, but he's toughened up a bit and the other cats have gotten used to him so I haven't put him in the carrier in over a week now.

I've found the special kittens like this give even greater joy than regular kitties, who spread tons of joy and love themselves.

Good luck with your Special K. (11/21/2004)

By FlaKathy

Caring For and Training a Blind Cat

I too want to commend you on not putting your Special K down. Special needs animals need homes too. But don't feel guilty if your home becomes not the right home anymore. It may happen that she needs more care than you can honestly give her, between also having children and other responsibilities. Sometimes the most loving thing we can do for an animal is find them a different home where they will be happy and taken care of. I am not saying that is true of your case, but keep it in mind that it is not something to be ashamed of.

We have a cat that had a hard start as well. He had such bad eye infections when he was found and dropped off at the Humane Society, that only one eye could be saved and it was quite a while before he could see from the other one as well. He also had a severly broken back leg that had already set wrong. The vet decided not to rebreak it since the blood flow was OK and the vet thought he would regain the use of it. Which he has. But it took a long time and it was painful for awhile after that. Now he just looks knock-kneed from the back and can't jump very well. But he is our special guy as well. He was named Captain Jack at the Humane Society, because of his one eye (like a pirate)! But just call him Jack, now.

He is almost 3 now. I'd say he was fully healed (as far as he was going to) by the age of 2. So healing can take a long time. But animals are amazing in their ability to heal and adapt. So don't give up on your Special K!

One thing you might want to try for the potty problem is confining her at night and whenever you are gone, to a room with her own litter box. One reason she may be not using the box is, experts say you should have one box per cat plus one more. Honestly, with 4 cats, I don't follow that! But if I had a cat that completely boycotted the box like that, I would consider giving her her own box. And confining her with it will give her the message that this is where she goes, not her preferable place (so do not put the box in the same room where she is being naughty!) and it also gives her a bit of added protection from her sister when you aren't around to supervise. This is just a temporary training measure until she can hold her own better around her sister and until she "gets it" about the box. But make sure you give her a comfy area to curl up in the room and some water. Food is unnecessary unless she will be in there longer then a few hours. So for overnight, a small amount of food (if you free feed, meaning you let them eat whenever they feel like it. If you feed them on a schedule, she doesn't need food with her).

Good luck. If she has made it this far, she will persevere!
(11/22/2004)

By plantgirl848

Caring For and Training a Blind Cat

Thanks for your ideas. I didn't mention in my initial posting that I do have two litter boxes. We got the second one because I knew from past experience that some kitties like their own space to go. I also put Special K in a kennel, with a towel, at night and when I leave the house. Partly for protection against "big" sister, but also to avoid potty accidents. I have tried putting her in the litter box and she just wants out. I have tried standing there keeping her in it and she gets mad and growls. However, she went once for my husband when he did it. So it may just take more time. She is no longer blind, however, I don't think her vision is 100% as she will go to attack something and she jumps several inches to the left or right of it. It is quite comical, we have to laugh at times I must admit. But I will look on the websites offered for more tips. Thanks again! (11/22/2004)

By Princess Frogee

Caring For and Training a Blind Cat

I used to have a cat that went blind due to glaucoma. The most important thing is to not move the litter box once you have a convenient place for it. This needs to be a place that your kitty can get to easily without having to make any detours. Put her in the litter box first thing in the morning and last thing at night, also after she eats. When she messes under the bed, put her in the litter box then too. You may have to get a covered litter box for her so that she will feel more secure, you may also look at having two litter boxes, one for each cat. I would also have these separated from each other. Even though my cat was blind, after we "showed" him where the litter box was he went to it every time. Your kitty is probably going under the bed because she feels secure and its private, also she knows exactly where that place is. We still had accidents every once in a while but that is to be expected. He would get close but not quite make it there.
As for the fighting between the two, you may have to separate the kittens for a while and slowly reintroduce them. I would put Special K in a room by herself with toys, bed, litter box, etc and in the beginning only let the two of them get together when they can be supervised. Any sign of rough play talk sternly to the other cat and separate them. Cats usually come to terms after a while. My cat, even though blind still loved to play, he just learned to move around slower. I think its great that you are looking for ways to halp acclimate Special K, she will make a very loving and loveable addition to your home. (11/22/2004)

By Missy

Caring For and Training a Blind Cat

I understand about your "potty issues" and it's perfectly normal for "special" animals. I used to have 2 kittens that would p00p & pEE all over the place, then i took them to the vet and he recommended using this technique: Get the pet a little area like a child's playpen or something like that and put food and water and a blanket and the litter box in it and nothing else and don't take the animal out till' it "trained itself".
(11/23/2004)

By kittygurl

Caring For and Training a Blind Cat

If you decide to use a squirt bottle for training the aggressive cat, shake it first and then squirt the water. My cats stop now when they hear the shaking and I don't have to squirt anymore. Do not let the kids squirt the cat. Do not squirt the cat in the face. Be tender with Special K. He may never use the potty correctly, judging by his disorientation with other things.

Good luck! (11/23/2004)

By Anna

Caring For and Training a Blind Cat

UPDATE ON SPECIAL K

Well for two days we have somewhat secluded our kitty to the bathtub (we have three bathrooms so we can sacrifice one tub for a few days) with sliding doors and put her litter box in there with food and water and a towel for a bed. We let her out to exercise. I try to do that after I hear her scratching in her litter box so that she will correlate the reward with her going potty.

I wondered if she would even comprehend whether or not she was pottying on her bed or food, etc. Apparently she knows, because she has only used the kitty box while she is in there. Unfortunately, once she is let out to play (that is her reward with lots of hugs and "good kitty") she forgets. I am going to continue for the next few days and see if it sets in. With her having a head injury, she may not, but it is worth a try.

FYI-if anyone else tries this, I would highly recommend placing a washrag in the drain to avoid litter and food going down into the drain clogging it up. (12/02/2004)

By Princess Frogee

Caring For and Training a Blind Cat

Just a suggestion, don't crate her in the same area as her sister, from personal experience with two dogs that are crated at night, cats tend to pester and pick on an animal in a crate, which cannot run away, and cannot defend itself as easily. Good luck with your "babies" and congrats on not putting her down. (12/13/2004)

By Siren

Caring For and Training a Blind Cat

We have a cat called Arnie that we got as a kitten. He had been mistreated quite badly, and I think he's a bit brain-damaged as a result. When we first got him, he wouldn't use the litter tray - he used to do wee's and poo's on the beds! I persevered and made a HUGE effort to put in the tray straight after he'd eaten, and several times in between. He's very good now, but it took about 4 months. He hasn't had an "accident" in about 3 months.

Just as a side comment - we have another cat called Soxy (who just had 3 kittens & I think one is blind). She didn't take too well to Arnie at first, but after about 2 weeks she decided she really did like him, and she taught Arnie how to wash himself and would cuddle up with him to sleep. I partly feel that she has helped him just as much as what we humans have! (01/18/2005)

By Rachel

Caring For and Training a Blind Cat

Tawanda,
I, too, commend you for NOT putting kitty down. We recently had to make a very hard decision to have our 10mo/old kittens eyes removed; first one, due to infection, then the other, a week or so to follow. We struggled with whether this was the humane thing to do but we could not consider putting him down without trying to save him. He made it through both surgeries successfully and although he seemed confused and a little disoriented, he is adjusting. I know how hard it was to make the decision to save Special K but it sounds like it was the right one. Thanks for being a caring person who gave Special K a chance.

Good luck to you and Special K. Remember, someone reminded us that cats/animals don't ponder things like human beings.. they act and react in order to get their needs met; its quite possible we are much more emotionally effected by our kitties' blindness than they are.
Tracy (02/16/2005)

By Tracy

Caring For and Training a Blind Cat

Hi Tawnda,

I know it's been more that a year since the last reply. I was wondering how Special K is since I have a very similar case.

I met Helen, my new cat, at the vet. She was dropped by a little boy when she was only a month old and she completely lost her sight. I decided to keep her, since her previuos owners weren't very fond of th eidea of having a blind cat. She too used to walk around in circles, but she's improving.

Our biggets issue with her is the potty training. She won't use her litter box! So we have excluded her to a small room in our house, cause we can't have her pooping the entire house, but she still won't use it.. help!! We've tried putting her in the box when we notice she has to "go", but she will never do it on her own..

I also have another cat, who still hasn't adjusted to the fact that we have a new kitten, and always hisses or tries to poke her head when she's nearby. Any advice on how to manage this?

(06/22/2007)

By Lynette

Caring For and Training a Blind Cat

For my blind cat I...

1. got a large very textured litter mat from PetSmart-it's Rubbery with a Ramen noodle-like texture instead of flat or like turf.

2. put a large DOG training litter pan in the middle of it, because it has a low opening in one of the sides, easier for my brain damaged blind cat to climb into, then

3. use the favorite litter of all 3 of my cats: Dr. Elsey's (not the Cat Attract, which I haven't tried, but the regular)-it only seems expensive, but comes out cheap because it lasts long since the waste doesn't spread but is kept in very tight clumps

The hissing problem of my older cat in response to the presence of the younger blind cat hasn't gone away much (it's been 2 years), but they have bonded in a rather weird way, sitting on the window ledge together or hanging out, even though the "top cat" will hiss quite often, he seems to really like him anyway and having the young blind one around has made the top cat more active. I spoil the cats separately and lots and they get jealous, but I give each quality time--they both come at the sound of me stroking the brush bristles. When the old cat hisses I firmly say "Boo!" and sometimes put them together and Boo then licks Magoo and everything's cool. Just takes time. (07/04/2007)

By Magoo's Mom

Caring For and Training a Blind Cat

Lynette,

I too have a blind kitten (well cat now). He is a really handsome orange tigerstripe cat with white fur also. Anyway, he was just born blind. His eyes didn't open like his siblings, but later they did.

We have never really had any trouble with him being litter trained. His mother taught him. Since this is the case, I don't think the fact your kitten is blind may be the problem with litter training. The way we had to do it with other kittens that a different mom didn't teach was this: we took a bit of their poo and placed it in the box. Keeping them confined to one room (linoleum floor preferred) or a small area seems to work after this. Just let them have a bit more room when they do well. Also, remember some cats just plain WON'T use a litter box that another cat uses. Strange but true. Also keeping the litter clean is very important, likewise some cats would rather leave you a "tootsie roll" on the carpet than use a soiled box.

Usually cats get the hang of it before too long, I would suggest using Google to find other tips, remember I don't think the cat being blind has too much to do with it.

We decided to name our cat "Radar" as a bit of a joke. He is so cool! It's downright eerie how tuned his other senses are. He can sneak up on you twice as good as other cats. Also NOTHING gets past him! He knows where you are and such no matter what. Its sort of neat to see him jump from the bed to the floor, he is instantly in "landing mode" as soon as he leaves the bed! He is quite a fun cat, loves to play just like other cats and everything.

At first we wondered if putting him to sleep would be more humane, but quickly decided against it! Blind cats really have no "disadvantages" per say. He makes a great pet and is perfectly happy and well adjusted!

One odd thing... when we first took him to the vet the vet asked my wife if she pried his eyes open when they were closed. Of course not. Then the vet asked in a nasty tone if she had removed his eyes! What in the world was this guy thinking?!! Thats downright crazy! My wife was very angry with him thinking she would do such a thing and went to another vet.

Hope this helps! (07/05/2007)

By boogieman

Caring For and Training a Blind Cat

When I brought Raye home from the animal shelter she was a few weeks old. I confined her to the bathroom for a few weeks where she used her box. She has been roaming the house for a few months now, using the big cats boxes (we have four more). She was using them diligently until about three weeks ago. Now she poops and pees behind and under the couch. Why the change? I clean the boxes regularly, haven't changed brands and haven't moved them. We haven't moved the furniture either. Is is psychological or is she just a little slow? I have googled and we all seem to have the same problem. Is she destined to a life in the bathroom? (10/02/2007)

By kris

RE: Caring For and Training a Blind Cat

Caring For and Training a Blind Cat

My brother has a blind cat and he use to do that until they changed the litter box cause it was too big for him and I guess he was too scared to climb in. Try leaving more than one litter box around the house and try using unscented litter because blind cats have better noses and it will bother them if the litter is too strong also try putting the litter box where there aren't many people in and out all the time good luck. (10/15/2007)

By jen

Caring For and Training a Blind Cat

I'm very torn at what I should do.
Recently, my boyfriend and I found a cat running around an industrial area near his work. The cat had clearly not had a home for a long time, is missing both of his ears (due to frost bite, I believe), is missing half of his tail, and is completely blind (from what I can tell).

Somebody from my boyfriends work was going to take the cat until he found out he was blind. He doesn't want the responsibility of taking care of an animal that needs that much help. Now, the cat is staying at the shop until we figure out what to do with him.

He is so friendly, enjoys being petted and even rolls around on the floor when you scratch his chin. He also gives little kisses on your hand when you pet him, probably because he hasn't had any affection in a while.

I want to take this cat home to provide a home for him because I know the only other alternative will be to take him to an animal shelter, and I'm really afraid they'll decide to put him down since he's a stray and in need of so much care and attention. How hard is it to teach a cat like this to use a litter box? And am I wrong for not wanting to take him to the animal hospital?

I really need some advise from people that are cat lovers like I am because I appear to be the only person I've mentioned this to that cares about the well-being of this animal. (12/11/2007)

By Leanne

Caring For and Training a Blind Cat

Try getting some of the Nutri-Vet Pheromon spray to calm both kitties down. There is also a litter out there (don't know the name) that is supposed to put off a scent that will attract the cat to the litterbox. Keep trying, I've done it and I know you can too if your heart is in it. God bless you for taking care of his little creatures. (02/29/2008)

By Diana

Caring For and Training a Blind Cat

Hi. I am thinking of saving a cat that has been tortured in the name of research at a local University. She is, as a result, blind. Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for such good information. This cat deserves some TLC for the rest of her days after all she's been through. The info you've shared will help me give her the best life I can. (03/16/2008)

By SG

blind cats.

I too have a blind cat, she was not born blind however so it has been harder for her to get the hang of things. We don't know why our cat went blind so suddenly and no vets can explain it either she is a 4 year old female calico cat. The first few days she was blind she fell and stumbled a lot but soon got the hang of it, our other cats at first picked on her and fought with her but eventually backed off. My advice to you is to give the cat some space and let her play with the other cats if that doesn't work you should give her to a cat shelter so she can be safe and happy. and for advice about your cat having accidents under the furniture you should take your cat to the litter box more often and let her know it is there. If that doesn't work you should ask your doctor (04/22/2008)

By Annabelle

Caring For and Training a Blind Cat

I have a blind kitten too. She is one in a litter of three from a feral cat colony. The other two are healthy. I call her the baby. She is the runt. I've had them in the house for a few weeks trying to tame them to give away. The baby is blind as a bat and she is the most playful of the three. She is very loving. She does use her litter box. She is very playful. She just runs and jumps in mid air thinking she is jumping up on something.

The vet said she has feline herpes and chlamydias in her eyes and after treatment she should get her eye sight back. Well that was three weeks ago. The other two kittens will play with her, but they don't sleep with her. I keep them in the master bath and the other two can get on the high things to sleep, but she can't. She hasn't let her blindness slow her down any. I let her out in the house sometimes and I will talk and she will follow my voice.

I would let them all 3 roam the house, but I have stairs and I'm afraid the baby will fall down them or fall of the balcony on to them and it is a long fall. I have to find the kittens all homes and I want a special person that will extra good care of the baby. I can't keep her. I have 4 cats of my own.

I have a feral cat colony and they won't let us get near them, but when they have kittens they will bring them to our porch. My husband built a cat house for the front porch. It looks like a duplex and the doors are just big enough for the cats to get and not dogs. I usually take the kittens from the mothers when they are 5 weeks to tame them. I keep them about 3 weeks and then find good homes for them. I live in Ringgold, GA if anyone knows of a good hearted person that wants a spunk special needs kitty.

I would keep her myself, but I already have 4 cats and 2 dogs plus the colony. All our animals except for one was homeless. I have a kitty that is about 6 months old. She was near death when I found her this past winter. Her eyes were matted shut along with her nose. She could barley breath. I took her in got the small bath ready with food, water, litter box. I put her in the litter box and she just sat there, so I thought I would leave her for a few minutes to get out on her own. I check back in 10 minutes and she was still there too weak to move, so I put her in her bed.

She had a upper respiratory infection. I gave her the meds and would run the shower on hot for a few minutes. Finally after three days she ate and drank a little. When she first pooped it was white (looked like bird poop). After about a week it was normal. She recovered fine.

I was planning on giving her away when she got well like have in the past, but I just couldn't let her go. She drives me crazy wanting to fetch all the time and she is a little meanie, but I still love her. I named her Scragly Ann, because she looked so bad. A hand to every one that has a heart to take these poor babies in. I've been out at 2:00am in the middle of winter in a brier thicket to find two kittens I heard crying. It took me for ever to find them but I did and they were about 4 weeks old, but they got healthy to give away. Again, my hat off two everyone with a kind heart! (07/03/2008)

By Wendy

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