National Deaf Pet Awareness Week starts this Sunday, September 19th. About one percent of our feline friends are deaf. Fluffy can still lead a full and happy life if she can’t hear, and she’ll be just as cute and lovable as other cats. She may need some extra TLC. A veterinarian offers some advice on caring for deaf cats below.
You might have heard that if one sense is weak or compromised, the others become more prominent and sensitive. This happens with cats as well as people. Fluffy will be quite sensitive to smells and vibrations. Get her toys that vibrate or light up, and offer her some pet-safe plants to sniff.
As Fluffy grows older, her sight may also decline. Scent markers, night lights, and floor runners will help your pet find her way around more easily, especially after dark. They can also help keep her from feeling scared or confused.
Most deaf animals absolutely hate being startled. If you have to wake Fluffy up or approach her from behind, stomp your foot or knock on something, so she can feel the vibration.
Deaf pets can be trained to respond to hand signals. You might be able to teach Fluffy a few commands. Just keep it simple, and be consistent. (Your cat may still completely ignore you, but that’s another topic.) Putting a bell on your pet’s collar will help you monitor her whereabouts.
Many kitties love chasing that little red dot from a laser pointer. Use this to your advantage! This can be a fun way to both play with your feline buddy and get her attention. Flashlights can also come in handy here.
We recommend that all cats stay inside. This is especially important for deaf kitties! Your furball won’t hear things like car horns or brakes, barking dogs, or other sounds. Let Fluffy enjoy a catio or enclosure instead.
Kitties are very small and fragile, and they can get frightened easily. Your furry pal may be more comfortable in spots where she can see what’s going on, and where no one will sneak up on her unexpectedly. Offer your feline pal lots of lookouts and hidey-holes, such as cat towers, window seats, and kitty condos.
Don’t be surprised if your kitty seems very affectionate. Cats that can’t hear well often really crave touch. Give Fluffy lots of snuggles and love!
Do you have questions or concerns about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your animal hospital, anytime!