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Caring for a Handicapped Cat

Caring for a handicapped cat may require patience, knowledge, and special accommodations. Depending on the needs of the cat, you may need to change and update these accommodations as the needs of your cat change. Most owners of handicapped cats report that the animals are quite adept at becoming accustomed to and overcoming their own disabilities in order to lead full and happy lives.

Caring for a handicapped cat that has lost his sight requires keeping your household environment consistent. Blind cats tend to memorize where things are located, including the heights of pieces of furniture, and rely on this information to move throughout the house. Rearranging furniture, placing additional items on the floor, or even adding throw pillows to a couch or chair can cause confusion for a blind cat. Keeping food, water, and litter boxes in consistent locations is especially important to blind cats. A blind cat will learn to tell his way through the house not only based on memory of where things are but also based on his sense of smell. Because things often change in the outside world, the safest place for a blind cat is inside the house. Avoid carrying a blind cat from one room to another, as this can cause them confusion about their whereabouts. If you do need to carry your cat, set him down in an area with very familiar smells, such as near his food dish or litter box, so that he can more easily get his bearings on his surroundings.

Caring for a handicapped cat who is deaf is somewhat easier than caring for a blind cat. Some deaf cats respond well to flashes of light, such as those from a small flashlight, to get their attention. It is important to remember that deaf cats cannot hear sounds like car engines starting up or dogs barking, so it is important to keep deaf cats indoors.

Some cats may be missing a limb, either as a result of a genetic condition or an accidental injury. Because cats use all four legs equally for walking, most cats adjust quite quickly to having only three legs. One problem that cats with only three limbs often experience is trouble jumping. Cats missing a back leg often cannot jump as high as other cats. Cats missing a foreleg often have difficulty landing when they jump, especially when they jump in a downward direction. It is important when caring for a handicapped cat that is missing a leg to maintain a good diet and encourage the cat to exercise. Obesity can cause more severe problems in three-legged cats, because they have fewer limbs on which to distribute the increased weight.

Caring for a handicapped cat may involve some new equipment in your home, such as ramps to assist a cat having trouble with stairs, or maintaining a more consistent environment, such as dealing with a blind cat. Many cat owners forced to care for a handicapped cat are surprise by the adaptability of their pets.


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