How to care for a disabled cat
What do you do if your cat becomes unwell or has an accident and, as a result, develops an injury or disability? It might be that they’ve lost a leg or their eye sight has deteriorated with age. Whatever the reason, disabled cats do require care and consideration but the rewards, as with any cat, can be priceless.
Cats who have recently lost a leg (for example, due to illness or an accident) will need an extra bit of support as they adjust. The writers at Petful have their own three-legged cat and recommend providing step-ups or ramps to sofas, beds and other places that your feline friend may be tempted to venture up to. Using the step will help your cat build up the strength across its remaining legs, whilst also helping to regain the balance and confidence that may have been lost.
Make sure you also keep an eye on your cat when using things like the litter tray or going outside, as these tasks may prove challenging to adapt to.
Like humans, cats can go blind, and it isn’t uncommon for them to lose their vision as they get older due to conditions like glaucoma, cataracts and high blood pressure. Or they may have been born without the working use of one or both of their eyes. Daily tasks may be a struggle for your cat as they adjust to having reduced vision and they may be forced to use other senses, which could strengthen them, for example their sense of smell.
For cats with limited vision, Cats Protection advise not moving litter trays, food and water, so they don’t have to struggle looking for them. If they are blind in one eye always make sure to approach your cat from the side they do have vision in so as not to startle them, and talk to them as you do this to make them aware of your presence. Be sure to take extra care when letting your cat outside if they are partially sighted or blind, as they will be more vulnerable.
Similarly, with a deaf cat, they will rely more heavily on their other senses, especially their sense of touch and smell. According to a study by Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine white cats with one or two blue eyes may be deaf due to a genetic defect, this is a problem that affects 65 to 85 percent of white cats with blue eyes. Some warning signs to look for include, failing to respond, no longer being startled by a loud noise or clawing at their ears.
Communicating with a deaf cat can be difficult, but there are things that you can do to help. Catchat recommends walking heavily or tapping on the floor as this will help your cat to recognise your presence using their sense of touch. Be sure not to touch a deaf cat when it is unaware of your presence or asleep, as this will scare them, so instead, tap on the area around the cat to get their attention.
Cats can suffer from lots of different disabilities, but with enough love and patience, the benefits of owning a disabled cat are endless. Have you had any experiences? Let us know on Facebook and on Twitter