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Old November 3rd, 2011, 07:46 PM
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dbg10 dbg10 is offline
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How do you find out if your senior cat is going blind?

Tiger is 11 years old and until last year used to be very skittish around people, spending most of his day hiding in various spots and only come out for feeding. He has been with me since he was a kitten and this behaviour never had an explanation. However, in the past year he has reverted to being very friendly, always coming for pats and scratches, crying for food when he's hungry etc, much like my other 3 cats. I would class his behaviour now as being normal.

He has always had a habit of blinking a lot, much more than my other cats. There has never been any discharge from his eyes and the vet never commented on this blinking. In the last few months along with his change in behaviour, he has started going to the water dish and appears to be testing the water level with his paw, before drinking. He also does this with his food. He doesn't blink like he used to, much more normal blink rate than before. I wondered the other night if he might be going blind when I watched him check the level of the water before drinking. He also often won't drink normally out of the bowl, he will dip his paw in and suck the water from his paws repeatedly until he gets enough water.

He appears to have no trouble getting around the house, but on the very odd occasion when he's got outside, he acts confused and runs back in the house. All my kitties used to go outdoors until 5 years ago when a new neighbour threatened them. I decided my best course of action was to keep them inside, which I have done successfully. Occasionally one or two get out, but this usually is only once every few months.

Does anyone have any idea how you would tell if your kitty was going blind? There may be a totally different explanation for his change in behaviour and his checking of the water and food dishes, but I just wondered if anyone had experienced this particular behaviour in any of their kitties?
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Old November 3rd, 2011, 08:23 PM
Jim Hall Jim Hall is offline
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yeah that might be an indicatiom I would talk to your vet the good news is that cats are very good at no being able to see best of luck
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Old November 3rd, 2011, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbg10 View Post
appears to be testing the water level with his paw, before drinking.
All my cats do this, and they all have totally perfect vision. Cats don't have great depth perception at close distances, so it's actually quite normal for them to test where the water level is with their paws first before drinking. However, if this is a new thing with Tiger it might not be a bad idea to mention it to the vet the next time he's in for a check-up.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 10:12 AM
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Dog Dancer Dog Dancer is offline
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Your kitty sounds just like my Cinder did. She was always skittish until she got older and then she was super cuddly and loving and begging for food. She also drank with her paw. If you suspect she's going blind can you try playing with her with one of those cat toys on a string maybe - would she be able to see that?? Good luck to you with her. 11 isn't really terribly old, so perhaps she's just developing "character". With the others I agree though, asking the vet next time would be a good idea.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 07:06 PM
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Thanks so much for your responses. I feel a lot better about it now. The only thing that has always bothered me with Tiger is the blinking that he still does occasionally. A friend who was here today said she had noticed him drinking with his paw for several years now, sheesh took me long enough to see it. I think I noticed now because he drinks out of the water dish I keep for Raggs and it is white ceramic rather than metal like the one I used to use for all of them and it is close to where I sit on the computer all the time.

The blinking has always looked to me like he is shading his eyes from the light, the brighter it is the more he seems to blink. Unlike the others he also doesn't sit in the bay window where there is sun all day, until after dark. It may just be that he was born with a light sensitivity, unlike the other cats. Since it's been going on since he was a kitten and he's now 11 years old, I doubt it is anything really serious.

I have to take Raggs and Sam to the vet in the next few weeks, so will ask then what she thinks.

Thanks again
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Old November 18th, 2011, 09:01 AM
Hazmat Hazmat is offline
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Of my 4 cats one will always stick her paw in the water to test the level. The Vet. said it was normal, some cats just don't see well right up next to their face.
Another will do it sometimes and the other two hardly ever.
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Old November 18th, 2011, 04:12 PM
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dbg10 dbg10 is offline
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Thanks everyone, it appears according to my vet, that his eyesight is fine. She thinks he may have a sensitivity to light but his pupils react to light normally and the examination of his eyes was completely normal.

Before I went to the vet I found other information online that told me the symptoms to look for in a cat. He had several of them but as I just said, it appears he is not unique and is not blind which is absolutely fantastic!
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Old November 19th, 2011, 12:07 PM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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One of our cats doesn't just test the water with her foot. She puts one foot right down to the bottom of the bowl and stands on it. It's a mix master bowl, about 4 quarts I'd guess. You know they are about as deep as they are wide. It seems she likes to drink from the side opposite to where she is standing and has to stand in the bowl to get close to the opposite side.

And No, I know what you are all thinking, a smaller bowl doesn't cut it, she likes this one.

Glad your kitty's vision checked out all right.
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Old November 19th, 2011, 09:33 PM
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dbg10 dbg10 is offline
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LOL longblades, that must be hilarious to watch. They are all different.

I think when I saw Tiger walking down the side of my bed to get off as well as using his paw to drink, the blinking and the change in his personality from a cat that liked to make strange with everyone, to a very friendly cat, was when I really thought he was going blind. It was everything together, not just using his paw to drink, that made me think his sight was poor. Of course there is no way to know exactly how good his vision really is, but at least we know his pupils react to light normally and his eye is normal with an opthalmoscope, leads me to believe his vision is relatively normal. He still blinks much more than my other cats so he may have a sensitivity to light but that is all.
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R.I.P. Raggs 1997 - 2012 ; Pepper 1997 - 2009
"Please do not breed or buy while shelter pets are left to die"
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