Living and caring for a deaf cat can be more of a challenge, but it’s not as difficult as you may think. It just requires a little extra time.
Deafness can occur as a result of trauma or it can come on slowly with aging. Some cats are born deaf, never hearing any sound. Deafness is more common in white cats with blue eyes, breeds such as Persians, Turkish Vans, Orientals. Cats whose eyes are each a different color can be deaf on the blue-eyed side.
One of the most important rules of living with a deaf cat is not to startle him/her. A cat who is frightened may lash out with teeth and claws. If your cat is sleeping or its eyes are closed for any reason, approach making tapping noises with your feet. Cats feel the vibrations and the tapping will alert the cat that you’re nearby.
All cats love to climb to high places. It may be that a deaf cat feels safer on a high perch, so provide climbing places.
You can form your own sign language to tell your cat what you want of him/her. Facial expressions, body language, mouthing words are all things cats can learn to understand without having to hear a spoken word.
You can press your mouth against your cat on head or belly and emphasize hard sounds along with stroking.
Sometimes using light such as a laser-like beam or flashlight will communicate your wishes to your cat.
Cats born deaf may appear fearless because they’ve never heard frightening sounds or experienced approaching danger. NEVER allow a deaf cat outdoors unless you use a harness and leash and take your cat out for a walk.
The University of Western Ontario conducted a study in which researchers found that deaf cats peripheral vision and motion detection were enhanced. The study determined that the cats’ auditory cortex, responsible for peripheral sound, instead switched positions to enhance peripheral vision.
Evidence shows that in deaf and blind pets as well as in deaf and blind humans, other senses become sharper and compensate for loss of hearing and sight.