cat cataracts

5.4.11 ~ Sound Breeze
5.4.11 ~ Sound Breeze

Tim took a picture of my new tulips (above) yesterday. I suppose I might have planted them a little closer together…

Meems ~ 5.2.11 ~ Woodbridge, Virginia

This sweet little cat is Meems. She used to be named Tibby, but after she gave birth to Tibette her family started calling her Mommy. (And Tibette became known as Baby.) But Mommy’s favorite human, our niece Erica, calls her Meems. She is a Munchkin (breed) who was born in Italy about fifteen years ago, if memory serves. She was a stray who adopted the family we just went to visit, and she was pregnant with Baby when the family moved from Italy back home to Virginia. Baby is not a Munchkin, however, and is larger than her mother!

So Meems is still sweet and petite but is now elderly and suffering with cataracts, it would seem. She dislikes cameras so the only way I could get her to hold her head up was to scratch her chin with one hand and hold the camera with the other. 🙂 She keeps pretty much to herself, so I was startled to find her eye looking like this because my sister Beverly’s cat, Bernie, has the same problem. And it is supposedly rare. But Meems’s vet thinks hers was caused by an injury, and Bernie’s vet thinks his are caused by a virus.

Bernie ~ 7.29.10 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
Bernie ~ 7.29.10 ~ Storrs, Connecticut

Cataracts are not as common in cats as they are in dogs; in fact, they are very rare. Most cataracts in the cat develop secondary to inflammation within the eye, from trauma, or some other eye problem. Rarely, cataracts in the cat may be inherited, may arise with abnormal development of the lens, or may occur in association with nutritional abnormalities in the young cat.
~ PetDoc

It seems to me cats, like people, are living longer than they did when I was a child. Long enough to be plagued with more of the infirmities of old age.

17 thoughts on “cat cataracts”

  1. Enjoyed reading the cat story and the photographs that accompanied it.

    “Of all God’s creatures, there is only one that cannot be made slave of the lash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat.” – Mark Twain

  2. Hi Barbara,
    What beautiful colors in your tulips, I especially like the two tone, they look gorgeous.
    It’s really sad when our beloved animals start to have problems as they get older.

    1. Thanks, magsx2 – I vaguely remember buying a bag of assorted tulip bulbs last fall – why there aren’t a few more I’m at a loss to explain. The truth is I cannot even remember planting them, but there they are…

      Meems and Bernie are both teachers for me – they accept things the way they are and make the best of their limitations without much complaining. A fuller account of Bernie’s story is here:
      http://ingebrita.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/bernie/

  3. Your garden looks very pretty! If you decide that you want to add to the tulips, put markers in now to indicate what color you would like in a specific spot (I have a supply of plastic knives for this purpose and could easily share a number with you. A little permanent marker on the handle and voila!).

    1. Janet, that’s a great idea! My garden is such a hodgepodge of disconnected attempts to make it reasonably attractive, and maintenance-free after August when ragweed pollen in the air pushes me back inside. I think I need a gardener’s journal, too, so I can make notes to myself. I’d probably forget what the plastic knives were for! When spring comes the garden is full of surprises that keep me wondering just what in thunder I was trying to do!

      Once I had a cat using the garden as a litter pan, which was annoying to get a handful of you-know-what when weeding. Someone suggested sticking plastic forks with the prongs sticking up in the favored spot. It worked like a charm but my neighbor thought I was a little off my rocker and finally decided to ask me what I was doing. When I explained her face lit up and she told me her brother was having the same problem and she was going to pass the tip on to him. Wonder what his neighbors then thought of him! 🙂

  4. * I love the photo of your spring garden.

    * I think Janet’s suggestion to mark the spots for where to plant more tulips in the fall is a brilliant idea!

    * “….Meems’s vet thinks hers was caused by an injury, and Bernie’s vet thinks his are caused by a virus.”

    well somewhere inbetween lies the true story

    1. Thank you, Rosie! I like Janet’s idea, too. Fill in the area a bit… I was happy the cotoneaster survived the winter – it’s hard to see in the picture with all the periwinkle around it.

      If Meem’s other eye starts to go I will favor the virus explanation. But now I’m wondering what causes cataracts in humans. Either way, thankfully the vets say that blind cats manage pretty well and it seems that they do.

      1. Barbara when our previous dog went blind suddenly my spouse tried everything known to man – including ordering $5 tablets from UK, and consultations with foreign experts on the internet – but he couldn’t reverse the condition. The dog seemed to manage OK, it was us humans who had a harder time. I must write about it.

        1. I will look forward to reading the story of your dog’s blindness, Rosie. Animals have so much to teach us. You don’t say what caused his blindness but I suppose if it was cataracts surgery would be a possibility, as it is for humans. But the cost would probably be too prohibitive for most pet owners…

    1. Oh yes, gitwizard, but not by that name! I followed your link and was fascinated to see that polydactyl cats are what we have always called double-pawed cats. Apparently they are common “along the East Coast of the United States,” which is where I live in Connecticut. I’ve even had one as a pet. I didn’t realize they were not common everywhere! Learned something new today… Thanks!

      1. You’re welcome, I only learnt about them sometime last year while researching something completely unrelated to the subject (I think I saw a picture of one of these cats on Google Images.)

    1. I think I’m starting to agree with your philosophy. 🙂
      At best my relationship with my garden might be described as tempestuous. It would be easier on both of us if I would just let it be and let it flourish in the direction it wants to go. I’m also hoping last year’s praying mantis left some eggs and a future generation – she did such a good job keeping the cricket population explosion under control. So I’m going to keep my weeding down to a minimum and leave some habitat for her anticipated progeny!

  5. Hi Barbara,

    I luv your tulips. they’ve grown pretty well, I’m glad to know you like gardening! Its a wonderful hobby one can have.
    Isn’t there any treatment for a Cat Cataract? Are you thinking of seeking any medical help? Its very sad when you see you pets having any kind of sickness and disorders. It hurts. 🙁

    1. Do you have a garden, Sonali? I learn a lot of life lessons from my garden…

      I don’t know of any treatment for the the cataracts in cats. Bernie and Meems don’t seem to be in any pain. Bernie has been to a veterinary ophthalmologist who prescribed some drops that seemed to slow the progress down, but eventually both of his eyes succumbed. It is sad but these cats seem to know how to make the best of things without feeling sorry for themselves. I admire this uncomplaining quality that animals seem to possess naturally.

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