A blind cat. a new home, and cat family to meet

Alexiano

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Greetings!

This community helped me once and soothed my pain, that's why I'm coming again for help.

As you could understand, I had a new member in my cat family. All her life Sonya has been a domestic cat. At her 1 year and help she got panleukopenia and, as a result, she became blind. She lived with this condition for 8 years and half, and now she is 10 years old. Her previous owners leaved her behind and went forward, they just abandoned her at the apartments they rented. The owner of the apartments was going to leave her at the streets... The laws in my country don't protect pets at all, that would be a death sentence for any cat.
It's terrible to be on the street at such an age, in such a condition, I couldn't leave this cat there, although she didn't fit into my financial plan and I don't have too much space (I have my own cats, and besides, I'm taking care of the kitties I bottle-fed, and I'm looking for a new home for them). I just couldn't.

I have a lot of work to do. The cat is not vaccinated, not sterilized by her previous owners. She was fed some kind of trash. She hasn't been to the vets. She needs an ophthalmologist to monitor. But for now I need to establish some kind of connection with her, because she does not see and therefore reacts hardly to any changes, and, most importantly, she is not used to me.

We've been living together for four days now. At first she was wary of me, even snorted, but then she began to explore the room (while she lives in mine), we even — I thought — established some kind of contact. She did not meow, she did not purr, I do not know if she is able to, but she made a "chirp" when I stroked her and she came for a caress. She reacted negatively to the smell of cats on my hands, she started hissing and snorting, and things got worse when my cat burst into the room. He was waiting at the door, I didn't have time and and hands to take him. He didn't do anything wrong, he just sat in the middle of the room and looked at her, she smelled him and began to growl. Now she growls at me, even if my hands are clean immediately after water and soap, does not want to communicate and prefers to sit in her cozy nest. She's been growling and snorting even at the sound of my voice for two days now.

The problem is that sooner or later she will need to get to know the cats, as I said above, I don't have much space, and my cats are nervous that I'm not available to them the way it was before. I would like to introduce her to the cat pride, make her part of the family. You could mention a re-homing but this is not — probably — the case, because of her age and her eyes condition (and my country is in some stone age in relation to animals and animals with special needs).

I believe that there are people with similar cats on the forum, and I really need advice.

1. How can I help the cat get used to her new home and me? I use matatabi (silvervine) to calm her down and get used to new places, I knock on the door if I left the room and I was gone for a long time so she knows I'm coming and didn't sit under the door. I offer her treats so she could know I am not an enemy. I'm absolutely fine if she doesn't love me. You know, she has lived with other people for many years and does not have to love me, but I would like to make friends with her. I do have an experience with tough cat ( I rescued a feral once) but I'm stuck here.
2. Do I need to exclude all the smells of other cats, or is it better for her to immediately understand and get used to the fact that she does not live alone?
3. When is it better for me to start rapprochement between cats? And how? I understand how healthy cats are introduced, but Sonya is blind, which means there are some nuances.
4. I just want cuddles because I feel like I'm failing as a cat parent and can't make the situation easier for everyone.

p.s I'm sorry for any spelling/grammar/etc mistakes, Eng isn't my native.
 

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di and bob

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First of all, bless you for helping her, she will grow to love you, I'm sure. She is just scared out of her mind right now, the smells of other cats are very frightening to her. but letting her get used to all these new smells is important in getting her used to them. Keep her in seclusion for a few more days and then start to put blankets/towels your other cats have laid on next to her to get her used to the new smells. after a few days of this, get a large dog kennel and keep her in it out in the middle of your everyday world. Make sure she has a small box to hide in which I'm sure she will. This will get her used to the smells and sounds of your household. this introduction may take many months, not weeks, but keeping her and your other cats safe is the most important. Try to have personal, one on one contact with her at least once a day, just sit by her cage and talk softly to her and put down treats when you leave. Once she settles down, try to stroke her and let her know you will keep her safe. Before she gets too comfortable, you may want to get her in to the vet, especially to have her spayed and vaccinated, this could cause a setback if you wait. This WILL happen, it just takes a lot of time. Bless you!
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi! I tend to think that you let Sonya get used to you first and foremost - 4 days is nothing, especially with an older cat, not to mention being blind, and her background! Once she is more comfortable with you, start letting her get used to most of the rooms in the house before you do introductions with your other cats. This is even more necessary if she is not used to being around other cats. And, until she learns the layout of your house, she should be supervised and the other cats in a room with the door closed. She does not need to have them as stress-distractions while she acclimates and 'memorizes' your home. She will learn as she roams about that there are other cats in the home, which will also help with her adaptation to them when you do introductions.

I am not a big fan of placing a cat in a kennel and then setting the kennel in a room with other cats - this seems especially cruel for a blind cat, particularly before she has become familiar with your house. And, I think using most of the standard introduction steps will work with a blind cat too. The things that go on with the 'visual' part of introductions is pretty much replaced by the other senses of a blind cat. Here are a couple of articles that might be of help. (The first article discusses cats in the second half.)
Blind Dog and Cat Information | Best Friends Animal Society
Special Needs: Living With a Blind Cat (petassure.com)
 

di and bob

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The kennel should have a small box which she can hide in, I say this because she and the other cats need to learn each other's scents and sounds, and they need to get used to her physical presence. I do agree she needs to get used to her new human first, but they stated they don't have the space to prolong a long introduction. I also agree getting her to know the layout of the house would be a good thing.
 

Pjg8r

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Thank you for helping her. When I adopted Helen and Jack (Jack had one eye, Helen none) I kept them in their own room for about a month. It helped Helen that she had her sibling with her I’m sure. I tried to block off behind shelves where she could get stuck. I also removed any objects for tables that she either could knock over or that could land on her. I would go out there morning and night and play with a toy that made noise (ball with bells, crinkly toys). I played the radio softly so that it wasn’t so quiet most of the time. One room at a time I opened up the rest of the house to her, still keeping my other three cats away. It was a slow process and it wasn’t always smooth sailing but here’s a picture of four of my five from last Saturday. Jack is the black and white one, Helen is the tabby. The other two or Indie and Alex.
 

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Alexiano

Visenya's forever keeper
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First of all, thank you so much :hearthrob::redheartpump: di and bob di and bob , FeebysOwner FeebysOwner , Pjg8r Pjg8r for warm words, links, thoughts and experience. I am sorry for late replies from my side, Sonya and I had some tough times these two days.

It seems that what I took for her first attempts to establish contact with me was her heat time. The heat is over and she returned to her wary self. She was hissing at the sound of my voice and growling if she realized that I was close to her (sorry kitty, my workplace is quite near your nest!). She was even ready to attack me if I touched her (I didn't, and I don't touch her). She slept, ate, slept, ate, as if before, before coming to me, she did not have the opportunity to do it calmly, and she also really likes sprouted oats. She eats it with great pleasure.

I found one of the keys to her heart last night, I think. I found a treat that she liked more than anything else, and that she wanted to take from my hands. After that, she was very pleased. She walked around the room, listened to my voice without hissing and answered with her eyes. She sat by the door for a long time, listening and sniffing the other cats, and although she came back disheveled, it was the first time she was so interested in the world around her.
I guess I'll have to bribe her for now. :D

It's impossible to take her to a veterinary clinic until she trusts me enough to tolerate the touch. I guess, we both need time, just time.
 
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