Tuesday, January 6, 2015

How hard is it to live with a blind cat?

Lucy the blind cat in her bed
"Just how hard is it to live with a blind cat?" It's a question I get asked a lot. In fact, almost everyone who finds out that I have a blind cat asks me how much time I have to devote to her care and well-being on a daily basis.

Before I had Lucy, I would have asked many of those questions myself. After all, it just seems reasonable to expect that cats who can't see would need a lot of extra things that sighted cats just don't. And since I'm the caregiver, it would make sense that I should provide those things.

But in reality, it's just not that hard to make life good for a blind cat. In fact, independent blind cats like Lucy really don't want you to do anything at all for them.

Lucy will submit to a weekly grooming session, in which her ears are cleaned, her nails are clipped and her fur is brushed. That's great, as her long hair gets tangled so quickly. I just brushed her on Sunday, for example, and she looked raggedy for this Tuesday photo shoot. It's hard to keep her tidy.

But if I tried to brush her every day, I don't think she'd tolerate it. She barely hangs on for the 10 minutes I mess with her once a week right now.

And she absolutely will not let me pick her up and carry her around. She wants to do things herself, thank you very much, and she isn't much interested in allowing me to help her get up the stairs, onto her favorite bed or down from my bed. She wants to use her own muscles.

Playing with her is also a bit of a challenge, as she doesn't like the idea of being manipulated. She won't chase after jingly balls I throw, and she won't attack rattling bits of paper that I am toying with. She will sometimes bat at paper if I'm trying to wrap a package, but that's about it.

And as for her health, she needs very little. Her eye issues were resolved with a surgery she had done as a kitten, and she needs no followup care at all. 

So basically, I don't need to spend time on moving her, grooming her daily or engaging her in interactive play sessions. She's independent. She enjoys hanging out with me while I go about my day, and should she need something, she gets it herself.

Lucy the blind cat resting

So if the idea of an intense time commitment is keeping you from taking home a blind cat, I encourage you to think again. In most cases, these little guys don't take up any more time than does an average cat. And you'll get so much in return. At least I have.