Vet Care for Dogs, Cats and Many Other Animals

3 Possible Signs Your Cat Is Having Vision Problems

by Calvin Newman

Cats can experience vision problems as they get older, while others can have them while still young. Unfortunately, it's often difficult for pet parents to notice that their cats have a vision problem at all, especially since cats hide their own ailments so well. If you don't know what to look for in order to catch vision issues early on, keep these three symptoms in mind for the future.

Large Pupils

One of the ways that a cat's body tries to cope with vision loss is by increasing the size of their pupils. This allows in more light and can help your kitty to see a little better than they would ordinarily.

Most cats have large pupils in the dark, as they have excellent night-time vision and keeping their pupils large during the night helps them to see. However, if your cat's pupils still fill up almost the entire iris during the daytime or in brighter rooms, it may indicate that they're not seeing clearly and could need medical help.


Cats have excellent senses of smell, hearing, and whiskers that help them to navigate narrow spaces. When they combine these tools, they're a great way of coping with a vision problem. So good, in fact, that many pet parents don't notice their problems.

One possible sign that your cat isn't relying solely on its eyes to guide it is if your cat starts zig-zagging while walking. This is essentially an action where a cat starts to veer off course and then corrects itself because it gets too close to an object. They may smell it, or touch it with their whiskers. They'll respond by veering back in the other direction, usually with the same results. This process is easy to miss, but if you look carefully, your cat will slowly go from side to side and may pause in-between, trying to figure out where it should go next.

Nighttime Anxiety

Cats can experience nighttime anxiety for a few different reasons, but if your cat is showing any of the above signs, it's not a good sign. Cats with vision problems tend to have anxiety at night simply because it becomes extremely hard for them to see. Without enough light, the world may look nearly black to them, preventing them from getting where they need to go. Look out for them having accidents, too, as if they can't find their litter box they may pee or poop inappropriately.

Regular vision exams at your veterinarian's office can help to find problems early on and to prevent your cat from going through these troubles. If you notice your cat having any of these symptoms or just want to ensure that they're healthy, get to a vet and ask for an eye exam.