Blind Cat + New Puppy = Massive Stress. Help!

Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:

We have a 1-1/2 year old Siamese cat, Nahla. When she was a year old, she went in to the vet to be fixed, and during that, she had a complication and went into cardiac arrest. After two weeks in ICU, they determined she would be okay except for the fact that she was blind. We brought her home and she adjusted really quickly — she does great getting around our house. It’s been five months, and we recently got a puppy. We took the puppy straight to a room where she does not go, and let her have free run of the rest of the house so that she would feel comfortable. She seemed to do well — no hissing, only fluffing her tail up when she would pass the puppy’s room. This morning, however, she had an “accident” in our bedroom (her safe place) and there seemed to be a bit of blood in her stool. She’s been staying mostly in our bedroom since then, but still seems okay. She’s also still been eating well. Could this have been just from stress of the new puppy?

~ Ashley

Long-haired seal point Siamese cat

Image via Morguefile

Siouxsie: It seems to us there are a couple of things going on here, and we’re not totally sure they’re related.

Thomas: Sometimes cats will have a little bit of blood on their stools if they’re constipated — the straining and hard stools will cause tiny tears in the blood vessels around the anus.

Bella: On the other hand, diarrhea can also produce small amounts of blood because of the irritation it causes.

Siouxsie: Stress can cause changes in bowel habits, as it can with humans. Nahla may also be reluctant to use her litterbox if it’s near the puppy’s room, so if this is the case, you may want to try moving it to an area that feels safer.

Thomas: If you are going to move her litterbox, though, you’ll need to do it slowly, particularly since she’s blind.

Bella: We would recommend that you call your vet about the bloody stools. They’d rather have you call if nothing serious is wrong than have you not call if she does have a big problem.

Siouxsie: They’ll probably want you to describe the blood you’re seeing on her stools, because this will help them to determine if Nahla should come in right away.

Thomas: The second part of this issue is the stress of having a new puppy in the house. You’re doing the right thing by letting Nahla have run of the house and ensuring that the puppy doesn’t have unsupervised contact with her.

Bella: However, the two of them are going to have to meet at some point.

Siouxsie: We’d strongly recommend that you start training the puppy, if you haven’t done so already. Nahla will be a lot safer if the dog responds promptly and correctly to your commands.

Thomas: Crate training the pup might be a good way to allow Nahla and the pup to get to know each other in a safe way. Inside the crate, the puppy won’t be able to physically touch Nahla but will get to know her body language.

Bella: Of course, you’ll want to make sure Nahla’s litterbox is in a place where she won’t get ambushed by the puppy (and where Puppykins won’t eat the “snacks” he finds in there).

Siouxsie: You might also try Feliway or a calming pheromone collar for Nahla. These products release scents that help cats to feel less stressed and can help alleviate behavior problems like inappropriate elimination. Here are some other ways to be sure Nahla is comfortable in her home, even if changes do happen.

Thomas: PAW Rescue has some great tips for introducing a new dog to a cat. We think these could be helpful as you go about introducing your new puppy to Nahla.

Bella: We think you’ll be heartened by this wonderful story of a blind cat and a blind puppy who are the best of friends. We think that with training and with the advice from PAW Rescue, Nahla and the pup will become friends, too.

  • Random Felines

    Great advice. We would recommend having the puppy wear something like a bell so he makes noise that Nahla can hear so she can be snuck up on. When Gwen Cooper of Homer’s Odyssey got 2 new kittens, someone suggested this so Homer (who is blind) wouldn’t be so startled and it worked like a charm.

    • Gail

      I do like the advice you have given.
      I also like the advice of Random Felines.. I feel it would be a fantastic idea for the pup to wear a bell. It has to be so hard for a blind cat under ordinary circumstances, so adding a puppy into the mix has to make it so much harder. I love the idea of a bell.
      As the Kitties said, they do need to be introduced to each other at some point, and the addition of a bell, will help.
      I wonder if spraying both cat and dog with something like perfume, will work… I use this often when introducing two cats…get them to smell the same. I have found that it has worked for me …. just a thought

      • The Paws and Effect Gang

        We’re not big on the spraying perfume thing, just because cats’ noses are so sensitive, but we do agree that sharing scents is key to a successful introduction. Mama’s tactic is to start with rubbing socks on each kitty and introducing the new friend by way of switching the socks and allowing them to smell. She did that with Bella, actually: she brought socks with her to the shelter and rubbed Bella with them, then when she got home she shared the socks with us.

        We also think mingling scents is a good idea: When Mama brought Bella home, she put her gently used pajamas in the carrier so that when Bella got home, she smelled more like us and less like the shelter. You could accomplish the same task by rubbing each party with a towel to mingle the smells, then rub the mixed-scents towel on each party.

    • The Paws and Effect Gang

      Oh, that’s BRILLIANT! Thanks for sharing that tip, Random Felines. Mama read Homer’s Odyssey but she’d forgotten all about the bell thing. *purrrrrrrrrrrr* Thanks!

  • Kate Upton

    I’ve reviewed your every single blog post..and it was awesome..will be back to read this blog soon. :)

  • Prisca Quisora

    With my husband, a foreigner, we shelter privat about 80 cats,thrown away, found, coming to us, thrown in to us and the kitties of cats which arrived pregnant before we could sterilize them. They have a metal fenced half of our lot with cathouse, trees and grass. Together with the needed he;per and our four (also thrown away) dogs, the animals consume half our budget, because rice, fish, dry and canned food increase and increase.
    But with veterinarians, we have also big problems. They usually do not know anything about illnesses of pet animals and claim it is because Filioinos hardly pay for a cat, jst throw it away. Our vet says he practically lives from foreigners whobring their sick pet animals and buy medicines.
    Unfortunately, the vet is now a good surgeon but still knows little about illness. In 18 years, we spent more for our animals than what we paid to make our house. But not a single cat or dog dies of age, all died of illness after and despite vet treatment. Diagnosing is rather a guessing and the standard is just antibiotics, without to know if really is bacterial, viral or allergy.
    We also had a nice blind cat, which died because the vet gave antibiotics but did not realize that Blindo could not urinate because of a bladder stone. He died for kidney failure and blood poisoning in my arms.

    So, we lost so many animals which easy could have cured. Still, about half of our cats are now older than 10 years and up to 15. We really would be happy witha “small animale” specialist vet, we would save many cats andmany tenthousand pesos every year for vet and medicines.

    Lastly, the blind cat has surely too much stress. She can smell the dof, a natural enemy, but can not do anything because she is blind.

    • hazel buena

      hi prisca, are you from philippines?

  • Sam

    We had a cat name Jackson and couple of years ago he developed Macular Degeneration and start going blind. As a result he had trouble finding the litter box and the house started smelling like …….! We couldn’t put him to sleep so i set out to find a solution to help Jackson. After lots of trial and error, i stumble across bunch of plants with earthy fragrance that supposed to attract cats. We tried with Jackson and couldnt believe that he started finding the litter box. (we put the litter box filled with mixture of plant and litter in the bathroom). Unfortunately Jackson passed away 6 months ago but Jackson inspired me help other cat lovers and during research i discovered unfortunate reality that litter training problems are the number on reason million plus cats are euthanized in shelters. Now i’m on the mission to help other cats.

    JaneA –
    If you would like i can send you a container of litter getter to try with Nahla. It’s also neutralizes ammonia related odors.
    Here is how to use:


    Greetings! Very useful advice within this article! It’s the little changes which will make the most important changes. Thanks for sharing!

  • Mustachio

    I really hope your cat gets well and new pup and kitty will be good friends. This article dates back to march, how is kitty doing now? Are they friends with dog?