National Deaf Pet Awareness Week starts Sunday, September 19th. This topic could definitely use more attention. About one percent of the feline population is deaf. Fluffy can still lead a full and happy life if she can’t hear, and she’ll be just as adorable and lovable as other cats. Of course, she will need some extra care. A vet discusses caring for deaf cats below.
We recommend that all kitties stay inside. This is especially crucial for deaf ones, as they won’t hear things like car horns or brakes, barking dogs, and/or other sounds. Fluffy may enjoy a catio or enclosure, where she can safely enjoy sunbathing and birdwatching.
Many kitties love chasing that little red dot from a laser pointer. Use this cute quirk to your advantage! This can be a fun way to both play with Fluffy and get her attention. Flashlights can also be helpful for this.
Most deaf animals absolutely hate being startled, which is understandable. If you have to wake Fluffy up or approach her from behind, thump your foot so she knows you’re there.
You may have heard that if one sense is weak or compromised, the others become more prominent and sensitive. This is true for cats as well as people. Fluffy will be quite sensitive to vibrations and visual cues. Of course, as she ages, her sight may also decline. Using scent markers, night lights, and floor runners will help her grow old gracefully.
Animals that can’t hear sometimes can be trained to respond to hand signals. You may be able to teach Fluffy a few commands. Just keep it simple, and be consistent. Needless to say, Fluffy won’t come when you call. Putting a bell on her collar will help you monitor her whereabouts.
Kitties are very small and fragile, and they can get frightened easily. Your furball may be more comfy in places where she can see what’s going on, and where no one will sneak up on her. Offer her lookouts and hidey-holes, such as cat towers, window seats, and kitty condos.
Don’t be surprised if your furry friend seems very affectionate. Kitties that can’t hear well often really crave touch. Give your pet lots of snuggles and love!
Do you have questions or concerns about your cat’s health or care? Contact us, your animal hospital, anytime!