While deaf cats generally cope quite well, it’s still important you help your pet avoid potential hazards. Make life easier for your deaf cat with these helpful hints.
Coping with deafness
Hereditary or degenerative factors, as well as diseases of the inner ear, can produce permanent deafness. Many white cats are often deaf from birth. Deafness caused by infections of the outer and middle ear, wax, or parasites, on the other hand, may just be temporary.
If you’re concerned about your cat’s hearing, look at the way she reacts to sound closely. Cats with normal hearing will turn their heads in the direction of a sound, moving their ears around to locate the exact position of the noise. If your cat doesn’t do this, she may have hearing problems.
If your cat is deaf, don’t be alarmed. Generally, cats cope very well with deafness and there are a number of things you can do to help her live comfortably.
- Try to prevent your cat getting into a situation where its lack of hearing could be dangerous. For example, do not allow your cat to roam areas with lots of traffic, lawnmowers or barking dogs.
- Replace voice commands with hand signals that are distinct, easy to see and consistent. Use a torch to call your cat in for meals at night.
- Try using vibrations, such as a foot stomped on the ground, or sharp clap of the hands, at close range. When your cat turns around, offer a reward.
- Encourage eye contact.
- Keep your cat away from other cats and dogs to avoid potential conflict. Deaf cats aren’t able to hear the hisses or threats from approaching animals.
- Put a quick release collar on your cat showing your address, your vet's phone number and a note which says, 'I am deaf'.
- It may be safer to confine your cat to a fenced garden.
Being consistent with these adjustments will ensure that a cat with special needs can live with a good quality of life.
About the Purina PetCare Advice Centre
The Purina PetCare Advice Centre brings together a team with in-depth knowledge, experience and special interests with the skills to advise about health and nutrition, behaviour, training, socialisation, as well as basic first aid for your cat or dog. Our team of dedicated pet lovers can also provide information about Purina products and services to help you give your pet the best possible care. If you've got a question about any aspect of pet care, then ask the Purina PetCare Advice team.