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Newly Blind cat

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  • Newly Blind cat

    Cat was found as a stray in my driveway Nov. 2013. Looked for owners, microchip scanned, blah blah blah, nothing. Friend A and I got her checked out at friend A's vet- healthy cat, plan to find her a new home. Living in my semi-finished walk-out basement. It quickly becomes clear cat might have been dumped because of her proclivity to lash out irrationally and cause bloody damage. This makes her harder to adopt out, and since her odds were probable for a barn home, I decide she can be my "barn" cat, since I have 3 horses in the backyard, a huge garden, a hay trailer and grain barrels in my basement that all need monitoring for rodents. The next year I take her to a vet closer to my home who says she is probably older than we initially thought (8/9 instead of 5/6). Whatever.

    A couple years pass uneventfully except we have some trouble getting her in at night because she wants to stay out but we eventually get her in every night.

    Spring 2017 her eye is watery and she is squinting so I take her to the vet closer to my home. Has corneal scratch. Medicate. Does not heal. Check again. More/different antibiotic drops and we run some bloodwork. She has a heart murmur and her thyroid/kidney values are borderline concerning. Vet wants me to get echo-cardiogram, I want to take care of the hole in my cat's eye first. I find a veterinary ophthalmologist who diagnoses her with uveitis, glaucoma and a corneal ulcer. We do meds for glaucoma and corneal ulcer. Uveitis often has an underlying cause that is viral so opth. wants us to run bloodwork. Bloodwork panel is $500 and both opth. and regular vet are unhelpful on cheaper alternatives to determine cause of uveitis. I call up college roommate who is a small animal vet in a state far far away and she says that's ridiculous most of the time they never figure out why the cat has uveitis anyways. I end up bringing cat back to friend A's vet who is appalled at the situation, figures out some cheaper tests to run, and are in fact, inconclusive. In the meantime, cat goes back to opth. Ulcer still has not healed and is now an indolent corneal ulcer. He recommends surgery on eye to tune of $1600. I say yes because I see no other alternative. On way home from Opth., I realize cat really does not NEED 2 eyes and call Friend A's vet to ask about enucleation. I cancel surgery on eye, vet and I decide enucleation is the best option, and we both go on vacay (previously planned) for a few days with plans to remove the eye after. I come back from vacay and what do you know... Goddamned ulcer healed in the 3 days I was gone. Opth. moves forward with treating uveitis with steroids since there is no longer a corneal ulcer and the glaucoma also went away with meds.

    Fast forward... We had a check up where we were pretty much given the all clear to "keep an eye on it" in early 2018. I spent about $1500 altogether during 2017/2018 on this eye/bloodwork, etc. Since then, whenever I've seen it watering or looking extra cloudy, I put some drops of steroids in it. The most I've had to do it twice a day for 3 days and then it's cleared up.

    Last night she came in from outside and was clearly completely blind. I know this is what uveitis does to horses but for some reason it never ocurred to me this is what would happen to my cat. She was wandering around bumping into things, acting confused, etc. I was concerned about her in the basement last night so I tried putting her in a bathroom but she was soooooo unhappy I ended up putting her back in the basement. Today my husband tried putting up our cat gate (yes we have a cat gate, long story) so she's trapped in the kitchen and she is still super pissed. Getting more fractious by the minute when handled. I tried calling opth. office but apparently they are no longer offering opth. services and the opth that they had JUST hired full time at our last appointment has already left. Have an appt. with regular vet tomorrow (Friend A's vet is now our regular vet since the other one was so not helpful) for consult.

    I've always questioned this cat's hearing. Someone can knock on the door downstairs and my indoor only cats will growl and run under the couch and she is in the basement where the door is and she doesn't even wake up. I swear I was calling her today and shaking her crunchies and she acted completely clueless. The internet is full of stories about cats that do so well after becoming blind but I have a lot of doubts. I also have a lot of questions for the vet, and we might end up needing to see a different opth. to get some of the answers, but I don't have a great feeling about this given the cat's history and other issues. If anyone has some pointers about blind cats, or some experiences they'd like to share about a cat that went blind, I'd love to hear it.

    Also if you read all that you deserve a medal.

  • #2
    Poor kitty. But despite all that she is lucky to have you caring for her. I had a cat with somewhat similar issues but she is okay now. She has feline herpes and it settled in her eyes. She needs drops for extra dry eyes. She was also diagnosed with chlamydia for which she was given clindamycin. She very nearly lost her sight because of the infection, ulcers, and herpes. She still squints and I can see some changes in her eyes when I shine a light in them, but she chatters at the birds, runs thru the house, plays with toys and terrorizes the other cats so right now she is fine. Later.....I expect problems.

    Now your kitty - have her hearing checked for sure. I think that you should ask the vet about herpes and if maybe this blindness was caused by some underlying infection. Poor kitty - blind is one thing, deaf is another, but both at the same time is a problem. I hope you get some answers. In the meantime, bless you for giving her a loving home. Give her a snuggle and a treat for me.
    "Cats aren't clean; they're covered with cat spit."
    - John S Nichols (1745-1846,writer/printer)

    Don't come for me - I didn't send for you.


    • Original Poster

      Thanks for your post Shiloh. Vet was very optimistic about cat's ability to adjust to being indoor only and blind. We are going to make an appt. with another opth. just to make sure that we are in fact doing the right thing, but regular vet did not think she was in any pain and did confirm she cannot see a damn thing. He didn't think there was a great way to check hearing and is usually based on owner's observance from home. She does come for dinner when we call her so I assume she can hear but maybe she just has selective hearing. She also might sleep pretty soundly. She is doing much better over the past 24 hours in her little area in the basement I've set up for her. I plan to move the entire little area exactly as is upstairs to a room to see if that will help her transition to being upstairs. I just feel bad for her being in the basement all the time now that she can't go outside to garden and farm with us. Hopefully she will continue to adjust to her new circumstances well.


      • #4
        I had a cat that I found, as a wee kitten, in the middle of the road back in 2000. Knocked on doors and nobody claimed her. I took her to the vet for her scrapes and got her stitched up and she became an indoor only cat. Everything was great until 2007, when she got a cloudy teary eye Thanksgiving weekend. I took her to the emergency vet - and she was diagnosed with anterior uveitis. We followed up with an ophthalmologist the following week and she was maintained comfortably on steroids (varied depending on what was available) until 2014. She developed glaucoma (which is what causes them to be blind), and her ophthalmologist said it was time to remove her eye. He had always said it was a possibility, but it took 7 years. Eye was removed, and then I got the shock that she had intra-ocular sarcoma...

        She did absolutely fine with a single eye, but I believe she could see out of the other. They said they got clear margins and the oncologist said there was nothing to do at that's apparently very rare in cats and nobody really knew what to expect. I started seeing changes in her later that fall and all the vets we went to, including oncologists when the internal med vets said she had lung cancer) ever listened to me about her eye and it turns out her tumor regrew, downwards into her mouth. I am very bitter at her treatment, but losing her eye was no big problem for her. She recovered fine (hated to wear the cone of shame and pulled it off causing bleeding of the surgical site about 2 days after she came home) and adjusted fine to her surroundings (which did not change for her). She died March 22, 2016 and not a day goes by that I don't miss my Rhodes.

        I also have a deaf cat and her entire personality has changed but I've been told there is nothing I can do for her. I wish there was...They do say it is hard to judge deafness in cats, and nobody has confirmed that she is in fact deaf though we have made numerous trips to specialists too. Her personality change was the first thing to notice, and the vets thought I was silly for bringing her in for a check up.

        Good luck with your girl - she's lucky to have you, And I hope she adjusts to being indoors and blind. It's a lot for her to adjust to in the short term, but she should be okay long term.


        • #5
          Originally posted by syreino View Post
          . . . the vets thought I was silly for bringing her in for a check up. . .
          Do you have other vets around? I won't stick with one who thinks I'm being silly about something - had that happen when a vet sent me home with hairball remedy for what turned out to be hyperthyroidism. She absolutely wouldn't listen to me when I insisted there was something not right with the cat. Fortunately she was just the secondary vet in the practice, so I could stick with the main vet as long as I lived there.


          • #6
            My parents cat lost a lot of vision then went blind fairly quickly (I can't remember what caused it, not uveitis). He remained and indoor-outdoor cat until he had to be put down about 18mths later (completely unrelated). It wasn't ideal having him still going outdoors but he couldn't cope being shut inside and seemed to stay very close to the house.

            Cats are very adaptable


            • Original Poster

              Blind cat has decided that the world is her oyster and everyone else can do F themselves.

              Blind kitty is doing well in the basement most of the time but we have been leaving the basement door open during the day so she can come up whenever she wants. She's decided she likes drinking out the of toilet, , so she likes to come up and go in the bathroom. And every evening I put her harness on and we got for a walk while I drink a glass of wine. We go out, she wanders around, sniffs her catnip plant, etc., and when we go back in I give her cookies. She seems to be really enjoying it. She does have a tendency to just walk in a straight line until she bumps into something if she isn't sure where she is so unsupervised outside time is out of the question I think. She'll end up wandering down the driveway into the road or across the lawn into the pond.