Since it’s part regular domestic cat, the Bengal cat can go blind for the same reasons as other feline small breeds can. Besides the medical background for the blindness, the most important part is taking extra, necessary care of a special needs cat. Let’s look into the causes of feline blindness and the special care of a blind Bengal cat with these topics:
Cataracts are an eye disorder that leads to blindness in the effected eye. It effects the eye lens causing a loss of color from an opaque covering to the eye. This transparent covering results in blurred vision and eventually complete loss of sight in the effected eye(s).
Cataracts in cats are pretty easy to recognize. Vet Info explains the look as being a film that covers the normally clear lens of the Bengal cat’s eye, changing it to look opaque and cloudy.
Cataracts can be caused by a hereditary gene passed down from a parent, an injury to the cat’s eye, or a side effect of another illness.
Cataracts in Bengals are more common at an older age but have been seen in Bengals of all ages, even kittens.
Cataracts, however, do not shorten the Bengal’s life as cats adjust well to lose of sight.
They do not have to lead to loss of sight in an affected cat. They can be treated successfully and the cat’s sight be saved. However, as Bengal Cats Toronto stated, when they are left untreated, they can lead to complete loss of sight in the affected eye and possibly glaucoma as well.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is an inherited eye disorder that can effect a cat at any age. It’s painless so an effected Bengal won’t show any signs that’s something is wrong besides their symptoms brought on by their loss of sight.
PRA also affects both eyes at the same time and doesn’t stop until the effected cat is completely blind.
Etropion is very painful for the cat affected and needs to be treated as soon as symptoms present themselves. The eyelids of an effected cat will invert themselves and lead to complete blindness is untreated.
It is a congenital disorder that causes the eyeball to roll in the opposite direction that the cornea is moving. It commonly only affects the lower eyelid but can affect both.
It doesn’t always result in the death of the affected Bengal but the associated symptoms can lead to that. Entropion, when untreated, will cause discomfort and pain for the cat and it will scratch at the affected eye. This scratching, if even for a short amount of time, can cause serious damage to the eye which can lead to infection as well as blindness.
The reason for the irritation to the eye, which causes the scratching, is from the Bengal’s eyelashes rubbing against the cornea. This will be extremely irritating for the cat and can cause loss of sight on its own while making the condition worse.
Signs of Entropion in a Bengal, as well as other cats, include squinting, excessive blinking, discharge, swelling, inflammation, and consistent pawing at the eye.
A cat that may be effected by Entropion needs to be taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible for surgery to correct the corrupted eyelid.
Living with a newly blinded Bengal, or taking one into the home, can lead to a drastic change in the house. Some people find adjusting to having a blind cat difficult and complex.
It is important not to move a blind Bengal’s food or litter box. The cat will rely on scent to find these items and if they are moved, it can be more difficult for a blind Bengal to locate where these items are located.
A blind Bengal will use its senses of smell and hearing to identity humans and other animals in the home. Making sure not to drastically change an owner’s perfume or voice will make it easier for a blind Bengal to identify those it loves and associates with.
Keeping in mind that blind cats will have increased difficult navigating even a familiar setting in the dark will alleviate some tension. A Bengal navigating their home at night will likely be more vocal and stay closer to their human and the most familiar areas of the home.
Moving furniture in a home with a blind Bengal can be very taxing and emotional for the cat. A blind Bengal will rely on memory to navigate its home, but if the furniture is rearranged in an afternoon, instead of slowly and over an extended amount of time, the cat will become very confused on its location in the home and begin bumping into furniture, walls, and doors.
UC Davis advises that blind cats will hold their whiskers further forward when navigating their home. But once they have become accustomed to their surroundings, they will be move mobile and active in the space.
Playtime doesn’t need to cease for a blind Bengal. Using a large toy with a greater surface for the cat to have contact with will make it easier for the cat to play with the toy. Using toys that make noise, such as those with a jingle bell on them, will also help the Bengal be able to find the toy with its hearing.
To see an example of a blind Bengal whose human is making the most of playtime with the cat, check out the video below.
Since Bengal cats can go blind like other domestic breeds, it’s important to keep in mind when buying or adopting one. Since they can be special needs as well, it can affect someone’s interest in the breed and the species. But know how to care for a blind Bengal cat, should the need present itself, can make all the difference.
So, what do you think about blind Bengal cats? Do you agree with what was said here? Comment below to let us know!