Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Loving and Living With Hearing-Impaired Cats-A Guest Blog By Heather Kalinowski of Trupanion Insurance


Heather Kalinowski is a pet lover and new mom who spends her days helping other pet owners protect their pets with dog and cat insurance. Trupanion offers 90% coverage for diagnostic tests, surgeries, and medications if a pet becomes sick or injured.


Just like people or other pets, cats can be born deaf or can lose their hearing due to chronic ear infections, ear mites, injuries, or from genetics. Deafness due to aging is called presbycusis and is the most common type of hearing loss in cats.   While hearing loss due to aging or genetics cannot be prevented, there are opportunities to lesson your cat’s chance of losing their hearing from other causes.
Manny, a deaf cat who lives at The Family Pet Hospital in 
Ashland, MA. 


It’s important to keep an eye on your cat’s ears for any signs of an issue -  black ear canals, reddened ear canals or yellow discharge are big warning signs. The inside of the ear should always be a pinkish color. Get regular checkups by a veterinarian to make sure infection and ear mites aren’t hanging around and stay away from “self-help” products as they could lead to more damage to the ear if administered inappropriately.

Trying to decipher true hearing loss can be tough because animals sometimes sense you’re there even if they cannot hear you. Owners should take notice after their cats do not respond to outside noises, become disoriented, or aren’t aware of your presence until you physically interact with them. It can also be a warning sign if the pet is difficult to wake up or has an “unbalanced” walk.

If you are concerned your pet may be deaf, it’s important to take them to a veterinarian to find out the extent of the problem and if the problem is caused by an underlying issue that needs to be treated. But if you find out that your cat is deaf, and will live out the rest of his life in silence, his life can still be as amazing and fulfilling as it would have been without hearing loss. It just takes a little extra effort to keep them safe and sound.
Manny, a deaf cat who lives at The Family Pet Hospital in 
Ashland, MA. 


Keeping a deaf cat inside is the best way to protect them. Hearing-impaired cats will not be able to hear outside predators or oncoming traffic. Keeping a bell attached to their collar is also helpful so if your pet does venture outside the home, you can hear where they are at all times. And be sure to always make vibrations when approaching your cat. Startling them could ruin the relationship and cause anxiety.

Deafness cannot be treated, but your cats will be able to adapt and compensate for their life’s change. With a few extra precautions and understanding, living with a deaf pet can be just as – or even more! – rewarding than living with a hearing pet. Read real stories about living with deaf cats here.

Do you have experience with a deaf pet? What is your best tip on interacting with a deaf animal?

29 comments:

  1. When I was growing up, a blue eyed white cat wandered into our yard, it was deaf, and since we were in the middle of nowhere and he didn't belong to anyone we knew, we decided to keep him. Unfortunately all of our cats were indoor/outdoor and one day he did not hear a car coming.
    For sure deaf cats have to be all indoor! But he was a sweetie while we did have him.

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  2. We have a friend who is deaf and we have learned to wave at her rather than speak. It's odd but it works!

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  3. An excellent post. Thanks for telling our mummy what to look for - she checks our ears but she's never quite sure what she's checking for!

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  4. Mom knew a dog who was deaf, but never one of us cats. She is always checking our ears, but now I am sure that she will know what to look for! Thank you for posting.

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  5. Mommy sniffs our ears regularly. She's a groomer so it's kind of a habit for her to peer into our ears to see if they need cleaning and her fingers are pretty quick at wiping off eye boogers. MOL.

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  6. E-commerce development indiaAmazing blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything.

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  7. Have a terrific Tuesday and very interesting post.
    Best wishes Molly

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  8. Manny is beautiful!! I've never had any experience of pets who are deaf but it's always good to be prepared just in case! Thanks for this post! Take care
    x

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  9. Great post and such good information. I have never had a deaf cat but did have a deaf dog. They do learn to adjust. It is just amazing what animals can adjust to. Take care.

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  10. Thanks for the info - my Mom checks my ears whenever she brushes me and does some of those other "grooming" things to me! Animals are pretty good at adapting to their circumstances - maybe moreso than lotsa humans (so says my Mom).

    Kitty Hugs, Sammy

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  11. Great post. It's amazing how cats adapt to physical challenges.

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  12. Thanks for the info =^.^=
    Manny is super cute!
    Purrs

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  13. What a great article. Thank you so much.

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  14. you are welcome all! Thanks to Heather for guest blogging for my "St.Louis exhausted" Mom! Love, Cody

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  15. Great post! Back in the prehistoric age, Mommy had a deaf cat. It followed her everywhere and her Mommy always knew whose house she was at by whose doorstep the cat was on.
    kiises
    nellie

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  16. I just love Cat Chat - this blog has the best, most invested readers! Thank you for all the feedback. Deafness in pets has become a very important issue to us at Trupanion.

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  17. I am always amazed at how blind cats and deaf cats can still live full active lives. And my paws are saluting all humans who invest their time, care, love and money in helping my feline family with either condition. paw pats for you Cody, great post, Savannah

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  18. I know some deaf animals that live in their environment well, but knowing well its usual place. I consider it of utmost importance to keep the deaf animals indoors, especially cats and dogs, which stop when they leave the street may suffer fatal accidents involving cars, motorcycles, etc..

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  19. cody; we bee thanx full we all haz R hearin, but this iz a grate article, spesh a lee de part bout keepin de kitteh indoors N safe frum traffic N such !!

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  20. What a great guest post. You don't really think of cats being deaf. Manny is just adorable!!

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  21. I know a friend who's cat is deaf. But they have an amazingly strong bond! He always greets there, and knows when she's coming.

    I think it's important not to scare the cat or approach it from behind? Or wake it up when it's asleep. But that sounds for every cat. :)
    And to keep them indoors, they might not hear traffic coming!

    Other than that, I think they can do just fine!

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  22. Great post! I learned quite a bit from reading it. My daughter adopted a deaf husky several years ago. She says it is the best decision she has ever made.

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  23. Animals are brilliant at adapting to life's challenges. Great post!

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  24. Manny is so gorgeous.
    I myself have a hearing disability, luckily all the cats are fine! :) But this was a very good article.

    purrs
    >^,,^<
    ✿•*¨`*•. ♥Abby♥Boo♥Ping♥Jinx♥Grace♥✿•*¨`*•.

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  25. That was very interesting. No deaf ones here, but there used to be a deaf doggy that live here.

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  26. Our mom had a blue eyed white cat and worried he was deaf. But he could hear a can being opened from anywhere in the house. His blue eyes were from his meezer dad, so he could hear.

    I boldified the type at our blog. Is it easier for you to read now?

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  27. Spitty's absolutely not deaf, but for some reason he does not react to outside noises--even really really LOUD ones (like fire engines, or jets, or loud shouting). I guess he somehow knows if it's outdoors, it can't get to him. That Manny is a dreamboat!

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  28. My brother Madison is losing his hearing. He can still hear the sound of a fork clinking on a plate but that's about it. Mom makes sure that she doesn't sneak up behind him and surprise him.

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  29. Maxwell: Thanks Heather, for writing about us deaf kitties. It's very true that we sleep more soundly than hearing cats, and we very much appreciate it when you gently press on the cushion to let me know you're approaching.

    We fake people out a LOT because we react so well to other stimuli. I am far more alert than my siblings to things going on in the house, and am the first one to notice that dad's home when the garage door goes up. (I can feel the vibrrations1)

    And THANK you for mentioning the unbalanced walk. That's an important tell-tale for us deaf kitties and a good indicator to use (along with other indicators, of course).

    I had a terribly unbalanced walk and refused to jump up onto anything until I was about a year old because of my deafness and my serious ear infections.

    To this day as a 2 1/2 year old, I still measure and remeasure distances before I carefully make any leap. Mama thinks I always will too - she thinks I'm imbalanced because my middle ear is always exposed to the air (I have no eardrum - birth defect).

    And if anyone has a deaf kitty - please PLEASE keep him or her inside! PLEASE!

    I may beg to go out, but if I can't hear an oncoming vacuum cleaner I sure can't hear an oncoming car!

    But otherwise, we deaf kitties are purrfectly normal. And Mama calls me her special boy and kisses my ears each day. I, uhh, kinda like that....

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