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How to care for a disabled cat

What should we 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.

When we bring our cat home after an operation, we should always keep them inside until the wound is fully healed, as we don’t want them to be unsteady. While our cat is recovering, we could provide steps or ramps to sofas, beds and any other places our feline friend is used to venturing.

We should make sure to keep an eye on our cat when they are using the litter tray or grooming themselves, as these tasks may prove challenging to begin with.

Looking after a blind cat

Like humans, a cat can suffer sight problems as a result of 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 might be a struggle for our cat as they adjust to having reduced vision, so we should keep a careful eye on them as they move around the house.

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 you approach the cat from the side where they do have vision to avoid startling them, and talk to them as you do this to make them aware of your presence. We should take extra care when letting our cat outside if they are partially sighted or blind, as they will be more vulnerable, and be mindful of dangers around the house, like open fireplaces or windows.

Looking after a deaf cat

According to a study by Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine white cats with one or two blue eyes may be born 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 we should 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 we can do to help. Catchat recommends walking heavily or tapping on the floor as this will help them recognise our presence using their sense of touch. We should not touch a deaf cat when it is unaware of our 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 caring for a disabled cat are endless – and we’d love to hear your experiences. Let us know on Facebook and on Twitter

28 March 2017

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