How to care for your deaf cat
There’s no reason your deaf cat shouldn’t lead a happy, fun-filled life. Some pets are born deaf or genetically susceptible to deafness. For example, a white cat with blue eyes may be born deaf. At other times, illness or injury can cause hearing loss. With some accommodations, deaf cats shouldn’t have any trouble in most households.
before you start
When living with a deaf cat, it is important to understand your cat’s hearing. The average cat’s hearing is much better than ours, and younger pets generally have better hearing than middle-aged and older animals. Cats will hear more or less the same low-pitched sounds as humans, but they are much better at higher frequencies. At typical volumes, cats can hear sounds up to around 79 kHz.People can only hear sound waves up to 20 kHz. Your cat can hear sounds in the 10.5-octave range, a wider frequency range than almost any other mammal. This makes it easy for your cat to hear very high noises, such as rodent squeaks.
As we age, the fine structures of the inner ear begin to lose their sensitivity to vibrations. This normal age-related hearing loss, called presbycusis, occurs in every pet that lives long enough, as it does in older adults. Loud noises can accelerate hearing loss. Chronic ear infections and other illnesses or injuries can also cause hearing loss.
Cats can’t tell us they’re hearing impaired, they compensate well by focusing more on their other senses. For example, they may meow loudly (because they can’t hear themselves), observe owners and other pets more closely, and know someone is at the door based on their behavior.Deaf pets may also pay more attention to vibration and airflow. A breeze from an open door might suggest to them that you’re home from get off work. Even if they can’t hear the can opener, the cat’s internal “clock” announces dinner time. All of this means that you probably won’t notice hearing loss in your cat until it’s very severe.
what do you need
Consult your veterinarian if you suspect hearing loss.A doctor can determine if a medical problem is to blame and recommend appropriate treatment. To test for deafness at home, gather some household items such as:
- tin foil
- cardboard box
Make some noises out of the cat’s sight, such as tearing paper, jingling keys, crunching foil, or tapping on cardboard boxes. Use a variety of sounds to test high and low frequencies. Hearing loss may be present if your cat ignores some or all of the noise. Specialized veterinary centers can confirm through the Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) procedure.
It is still possible to communicate with deaf pets. Use visual or tactile signals instead of your voice. Cats easily learn to respond to gestures, the beam of a laser pointer, or lights that are turned on and off to eat. Deaf pets are more likely to be startled.Always get close to your pet, let him see you coming, stomp your feet before petting him or give him some other warning to avoid accidentally biting or scratching when you startle him.
focus on vibration
Even if you can’t hear you, your hearing-impaired pet can still detect a “dog whistle” that uses high-frequency sound waves. Low frequency vibrations may be felt even if your pet cannot hear. A vibrating collar is also a great way to get your cat’s attention. Use it as a signal and training device to call your pet.
A Pet Locator can be helpful when your cat can’t hear you and you can’t find it. Hang the pendant on your cat’s collar, and when the transmitter is activated, it will make a lilting sound. The “key finder” product should work well for this purpose.
keep them indoors
There are too many threats outdoors for deaf cats.They can’t hear dogs barking, car horns or people yelling “Watch out!” Provide your cat with a comfortable seating area near a window so they can look out and see what’s going on.
Deaf cats are still happy pets. Some hearing loss is a normal part of the aging process in cats and humans. Providing simple accommodation for hearing-impaired pets is not difficult. Plus, it’s something we do for all our friends and family, and our cats are no exception.
Depending on the cause of the deafness, it may not be preventable. Some hearing loss due to aging is natural and cannot be stopped.Quickly treat bacterial infections, ear mites, or other health problems with the help of a veterinarian. Some of these health conditions can lead to permanent hearing loss if left untreated.
If you suspect your pet is sick, call your veterinarian right away. For health-related questions, be sure to consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know your pet’s health history, and can provide the best advice for your pet.