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Blindness

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
On 3rd August, our youngest (11 months old) cat was knocked over by a car. We feared the worst but gradually, over a few days he recovered really well apart from one major downside - he suffered serious neurological damage which has left him completely blind. We really want to make sure we do as much as we can for him to help him adjust to this major disability. The Vet advised he should really be a house cat from now on so I sealed the cat flap as well as taking care not to move furniture around, which might confuse him.

Tinker gradually grew in confidence. He found litter trays and food bowls with no problem at all and after just over a week following his accident, the little fella was becoming more and more adventurous around the home, climbing and exploring. At first, he was moving around a lot more carefully - for instance, he wasn't under my feet, tripping me up down the stairs first thing every morning like he used to, but he was sensing so many different things in a variety of ways. For instance, he was sniffing around a lot more, using his whiskers to guide himself and using his paws to gauge height, etc.

Well, it's now 7 weeks on and it's really got to the point where one could easily be forgiven for forgetting he's blind. The boisterous personality he had prior to the accident has returned. He trips me up down the stairs at every opportunity which is great! I bought him loads of noisy toys and a new 'deluxe' scratching post to try and save the furniture as well as stimulate him and they're doing their job - some of the time. I also bought him a harness and the girls take him for walks around the back garden.

The thing is though, he sneaks outside at every opportunity and we have to be so careful to keep doors and windows to outside closed in case he got lost. This is something I could really do with some advice on because on the occasions he has managed to dip underneath the extensive 'radars' that exist here and he's nipped outside unsupervised, he's been fine. He's even caught insects and spiders - his sense of smell, touch and sound must be sharper than ever. When he reaches a perimeter fence in the garden, he turns around and heads back into the middle of the lawn. He longs to be outside as often as possible and I wonder if we should allow him out by himself or whether the risk is simply too great that he would get lost, especially bearing in mind the original advice from the Vet.

I really do want the best for him - his recovery has been nothing short of amazing - but what do you think?
post #2 of 17
wow, thats a great risk to allow him outdoors!

don't want to be the one to say it but i will.....

are you prepared to lose him?



that is what you need to face everytime you allow him to get out.
if you can live with that, you are in the wrong place.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pjk5900 View Post
wow, thats a great risk to allow him outdoors!

don't want to be the one to say it but i will.....

are you prepared to lose him?



that is what you need to face everytime you allow him to get out.
if you can live with that, you are in the wrong place.
Hi - thanks for the swift response. We don't allow him out at the moment, but on occasions, he has sneaked out when we've been distracted. No, I don't want to lose him; we went to hell and back a few weeks ago and it was a most upsetting time. I don't want to go through anything like that again. So, I guess what you're saying is - he should remain a house cat and it will never be safe for him to venture outdoors freely again. I'm fine with that but I just know it will frustrate the hell out him, unfortunately.
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baggiesfaninuk View Post
Hi - thanks for the swift response. We don't allow him out at the moment, but on occasions, he has sneaked out when we've been distracted. No, I don't want to lose him; we went to hell and back a few weeks ago and it was a most upsetting time. I don't want to go through anything like that again. So, I guess what you're saying is - he should remain a house cat and it will never be safe for him to venture outdoors freely again. I'm fine with that but I just know it will frustrate the hell out him, unfortunately.
Yes... he needs to be inside!

I recently had to "re-train" 3 of mine to be indoor only.. it's taken almost a month, but no matter what, you don't let them out! Mine aren't blind, but it's way too much of a risk.
post #5 of 17
I'm so glad he's adjusted to his blindness! My opinion is to keep up the walks on a harness. Maybe make them a regularly scheduled thing so he can look forward to them! There are just so many dangers for him and even more so now that he is blind. I'm sure with time and things, he'll get adjusted to it. It's for his safety so even if he isn't so crazy about it right now. I think you've done well in getting him a variety of things to keep him occupied in the house.
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baggiesfaninuk View Post
I wonder if we should allow him out by himself or whether the risk is simply too great that he would get lost, especially bearing in mind the original advice from the Vet.
He's blind. He can't see danger coming, and he can't see safe havens to run to if it does come.

If you are unable to keep him as an inside only kitty (save for walks on a harness), then please, do him a favour and find him a home that can keep him inside. He's blind and he will never have the life he had before and that means being outside by himself. Not only does he need to adjust, but you do as well.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your replies. You've put my mind at rest that we're not being unnecessarily cautious by keeping him indoors.
post #8 of 17
That's what we are here for! Please keep us updated on Tinker! He sounds like a sweet kitty! (We wouldn't complain about any pictures you might like to post in the Fur Pics section either!) (Oh and welcome to TCS too!)
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baggiesfaninuk View Post
Thanks for your replies. You've put my mind at rest that we're not being unnecessarily cautious by keeping him indoors.
Nope. Not overly cautious. Responsible

And I agree, we need pictures in the Fur Pictures forum.
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
Nope. Not overly cautious. Responsible

And I agree, we need pictures in the Fur Pictures forum.
Yes - I will sort some out of all 3 cats.
post #11 of 17
I've got one blind kitty outta my 5....and she's the door darter.

I am extra cautious, for awhile, I shut her in a bedroom so that there were 2 doors between her & outside if the outside door was going to be opened.

You can try taking him outside on a harness & leash, my blind girl is harness/leash trained.
post #12 of 17
There is no way he can get out accidently if you are prudent. All of my cats are indoor only cats and one of them wanted out in the worst way the first year of his life. He absolutely loves to smell the outdoors. However, he has his siblings, his humans and all his toys inside and he is now very happy inside, although he still sometimes smells our shoes when we come in to smell the outside. To make sure he never ever gets out we only use the garage door to exit the house which leads to the kitchen. Once the kitchen door is closed, only then is the garage door opened. Same for coming back in. No opening kitchen door til garage door is closed. If you are always, always prudent, he will not get out. I do this for my beautiful Douglas so he will have a long, happy life, which he would not have outdoors with all the dangers.
post #13 of 17
If you have a back yard, some extra space and some spare cash, you could build or buy a cat enclosure. It would allow him to be outside smelling the smells and listening to the birds and bugs while still being secured. An enclosure could be something you build or buy pre-made and they come in all shapes and sizes. Here are some sites with lots of ideas:

http://www.stanford.edu/group/CATNET...nclosures.html
http://www.purrfectfence.com/
http://www.cat-world.com.au/cat-worldenclosures.htm
http://www.geocities.com/holmescathy...enclosure.html
post #14 of 17
Aww, that is great that your kitty is adjusting so well! He sounds happy despite the disability!

During times when there is a lot of activity (or am returning from a store with a lot of bags), I also lock my cats in a room so they don't dart out (they are not blind, but I don't want them to get lost or kit by a car or something). Other than that, I approach every time I open the door as a potential "high escape risk" time and am extra vigilant..and windows can only be open an inch or 2 (it sucks, since I have a nice patio door and I'd love to get a breeze coming in, but it's a sacrifice I feel I must make)..if there are kids and/or other people in the house, it has got to be incredibly hard to have complete control over not letting the cat slip out, but by emphasizing the importance, hopefully everyone can get on the same page and pay attention. When my cats are stalking the doorway when I am trying to get in, I open the door a crack and shake the keys and they move....and when I am leaving and they are at the door, I shake and then throw something for them to chase.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloud_shade View Post
If you have a back yard, some extra space and some spare cash, you could build or buy a cat enclosure. It would allow him to be outside smelling the smells and listening to the birds and bugs while still being secured. An enclosure could be something you build or buy pre-made and they come in all shapes and sizes. Here are some sites with lots of ideas:

http://www.stanford.edu/group/CATNET...nclosures.html
http://www.purrfectfence.com/
http://www.cat-world.com.au/cat-worldenclosures.htm
http://www.geocities.com/holmescathy...enclosure.html
this is what I was going to say. I have a "cat pen" for my cats. They get to enjoy outdoors in a safe enclosure and I don't have to worry about them being iin danger, even though they are all sighted.

Also, since he is young and it was a neurological injury, did the vet say anything about the possibility of him regaining his sight? Brain injuries can sometimes heal over a long time period, especially in the young.
post #16 of 17
I also think that for this cat, enclosing your yard would be a great option. If you make it so that it's 100 percent secure, he could go outside whenever he pleased and enjoy it, and still be safe.

I too wonder... if he's catching flying insects, is it possible he has partial sight or has regained some of his vision?
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by lady20 View Post
There is no way he can get out accidently if you are prudent. All of my cats are indoor only cats and one of them wanted out in the worst way the first year of his life. He absolutely loves to smell the outdoors. However, he has his siblings, his humans and all his toys inside and he is now very happy inside, although he still sometimes smells our shoes when we come in to smell the outside. To make sure he never ever gets out we only use the garage door to exit the house which leads to the kitchen. Once the kitchen door is closed, only then is the garage door opened. Same for coming back in. No opening kitchen door til garage door is closed. If you are always, always prudent, he will not get out. I do this for my beautiful Douglas so he will have a long, happy life, which he would not have outdoors with all the dangers.
I just have to pipe in here and say that not all of us have the advantage of having an attached garage. We don't and Mika has quickly slipped out while we were entering with hands full. Fortunately we saw the little dickens run out and went and promptly picked her up. We know we just have to be as diligent in watching out for them as we possibly can and yet it has still happened on occasion.

I agree that you are right to keep your beautiful kitty in. As you have already stated and know, it isn't safe for him outside where he cannot see danger. You sound like a good and responsible owner and I'm glad you came to our site for advice. There are a lot of good and knowledgeable folks here.
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