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Caring for a disabled cat

Most disabled cats will need to be kept indoors, or with access only to a garden with a cat-proof fence to deter intruders. Disabled cats are more vulnerable to traffic, dogs and predators even in home territory.

Deaf cats respond well to hand signs. Cats use body language in preference to sound language anyway. Choose your own signs but be consistent in what each hand sign means. Cats also often respond to vibrations. Try clapping hands with palms slightly cupped. This makes a vibration which the cat may ‘hear’ through its body. To recall a cat from the garden in the dark (if you have let it out into a fenced or safe garden) use a torch to flash a signal.

Blind cats cope better than blind humans because they have superior hearing and superior scenting abilities. Whiskers will also become feelers for new territory. Remember to use voice and sound signals, not visual signs for these felines.

A special study of blind cats concluded that they had no difficulty making their needs known! Sometimes when disorientated they would just sit and howl till somebody picked them up. They still knew where the fridge and food cupboards were! Blind cats even played with toys if a little bell was attached and used the litter tray consistently, helped in finding it by scent, as long as it was kept in the same place.

You can make life easier for your blind cat by keeping furniture and litter tray in the same place. Cats are incredibly good at mapping out areas and learn their own home area rapidly. Leave doors either shut or fully open – half open the cat can bump into them. Use fireguards near all open fires.

Wobbly cats with poor co-ordination, wobbles, sight problems, spasms, deformed front legs, and odd way of walking can also lead enjoyable lives if looked after by caring humans. Feline cerebellar hypoplasia, to give it its proper name, occurs when the part of the brain that controls body movements is under-developed at birth. It does not get worse, and may slightly improve, as the kitten grows up. Litter trays must be wobble-free since your cat may need to lean against a side while using it.

Even cats with urinary incontinence, as a result of a car accident, can be helped. It is possible to learn how to express urine by the human hand. Get your vet to demonstrate. Keep the cats in a tiled room rather than a room with a carpet and use fleece as a bed, as it is easily cleaned.

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