by Anita Kelsey – UK’s leading cat behaviour consultant
I often work with cats that are blind and one of the things that I’d like to talk about now is getting it right when it comes to toys. Therefore this blog post will concentrate on the best toys for blind cats and how we can improve their quality of life.
Just like a human, who is visually impaired or blind, other senses becomes stronger and it is no different for the feline species. A cat will rely on smell, hearing, touch and vibrations to survive and blind cats do very well indeed. It never fails to amaze me actually.
Whilst blind cats can cope extremely well indoors, memorising where objects are placed and remembering distances for jumps on the bed or width and depth of stairs, toys and playtime can become a tad boring because the wrong toys are considered.
What we have to remember with a cat that no longer uses its eyes, is that the other senses kick in so toys with a strong sense of smell, such as catnip and valerian, or toys that make a sound such as rod toys with a bell on, or a ball with a bell, can perfectly entertain. Even textures such as fur or cardboard puzzle toys such as a toilet roll sealed either end with holes in the middle and treats inside, can be a great fun toy to bat around, with the smell of the treats as a guide.
Some cats, who are not totally blind, can see some light so any ball toys that give off light are great.
Words to google, when looking for the best toys for blind cats are cat toys with bells on, cat balls with bells, cat balls that light up, Crinkle cat toys, real fur hunting cat toys (with a bell on), catnip or valerian toys.
When it comes to climbers. Cats can judge distances extremely well and blind cats are no different. To give a helping hand I would concentrate on cat trees that have a ramp such as:
Or one’s that have platforms close together:
You can guide your cat onto a cat tree by scent such as catnip leaves, the smell of favourite treats or the jingle jangle of a favourite toy. They will soon love exploring their new cat tree and will soon be familiar with the distances of the platforms.
Some cats can even be walked on a lead when blind. If very much depends on whether the cat is confident and showing signs of wanting to go outside. If the street outside is quiet and your cat has taken well to lead training and shows an interest in wanting to explore a little outside then why not! Let them guide you.
Life doesn’t stop with a blind kitty. Get the right toys and climbers and your cat will love you for it.
There are some very famous blind cats that are a real inspiration such as Honey Bee below:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7mJmJ4q53c]
Or Oscar:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNpeTCEPrRk]
A blind rescue cat can be one of the most amazing companions so don’t walk past if you see a blind cat in need at a rescue. I have met the most incredible blind cats and they are some of the most affectionate cats I have had the pleasure of spending time with.
Thanks for reading!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anita Kelsey holds a first class honours degree in Feline Behaviour and Psychology (work based BA Hons) and runs a vet referral service dedicated strictly to the diagnosis and treatment of behaviour problems in cats. She is also a qualified cat groomer and specialises in grooming aggressive or phobic cats. Anita writes for Your Cat Magazine and is on their experts panel answering readers questions on cat grooming. She also advises on feline behaviour for the CFBA (Canine and Feline Behaviour) magazine as well as being a full member. Anita, a strong advocate of a vegan lifestyle, is based in Notting Hill, London but consults all over the UK as well as international requests. She lives with her husband, a music producer, and two Norwegian Forest cats, Kiki and Zaza.
Her debut booked, pictured left, is published by John Blake and is called Claws, Confessions Of A Cat Groomer.
Available from Amazon and all good book shops. Click here for an Etsy author signed copy with your message.