Cat deafness is more common than you think. That may sound frightening but don’t freak out. Just as humans lose their hearing with age or other circumstances, so do our feline friends. There are signs your cat is going deaf that you can pick up on. From there, you can learn how to help and empower your kitty to still live its best life!
What Causes Cat Deafness?
There isn’t just one reason why cats lose their hearing. In fact, there are multiple causes behind cat deafness.
The most common one is, of course, age. For humans and cats alike, our ears degenerate over the years from minor traumas. This affects the nerve endings in our ears. It also makes our eardrums less flexible, preventing sound from traveling through. The result – our hearing just isn’t what it used to be. When it comes to hearing loss from age, you’ll notice a slow degradation in your cat’s hearing. It will not be an overnight thing.
There are other causes of cat deafness. Although these are less frequent than deafness from old age, you shouldn’t brush off these culprits. Cats can experience deafness from things like serious ear traumas, infections, or growths. Sometimes, cats can even have hearing loss from certain medications.
Some cats are also vulnerable to congenital deafness. This is when a cat is born partially or completely deaf. What is astounding about this is that congenital deafness is almost always pigment-related for cats. Surprisingly, white-haired cats are very susceptible to congenital deafness. So are cats with heterochromia, a genetic mutation that gives cats odd-colored eyes.
Signs Your Cat is Going Deaf
So, you now know the causes of cat deafness. But, how do you know for sure if your cat is losing its hearing?
There are a few tell-tale signs your cat is going deaf. The most obvious sign would be your cat’s response to basic movement. Typically, if you get close to a cat, they will respond very quickly (they’re hunters – remember?) However, a cat losing its hearing will barely respond. And, when they notice you’re there, they will seem extra startled.
A big sign of hearing loss in cats is a change in their usual routine. When a cat is losing its hearing, it will stop responding to normal cues. That cue could be you coming home from work or opening up a brand new can of food. You’ll notice your cat’s lack of response. You may also notice your cat being a little louder than usual, meowing more loudly and persistently.
Another interesting sign that your cat is going deaf is a change in sleeping patterns. Deaf cats sleep more deeply and sometimes longer. Try not to disturb a deaf kitty while they rest. It would be very shocking for them. Cats are naturally alert, even while they sleep. But, without their hearing, they can’t be as quick as their instincts want them to be. So, a disturbance during their slumber could be traumatizing.
The first thing to do is take your cat to the vet. Your vet will be able to evaluate your cat and assess the cause of deafness. More often than not, it is simply just age. But, you want to always make sure of the cause, especially if your cat isn’t that old.
Tips for Living with a Deaf Cat
Once you know for sure that your cat is suffering from hearing loss, you need to make sure your home is cozy for your feline friend.
Sticking to a schedule is super important for deaf cats. It allows them to feel more trust and control in their environment. This routine should be solely indoors. A deaf cat is extra vulnerable outdoors because they cannot hear the noises of cars or any other major threats to their life.
The loss of a major sense also means your cat will be relying on its other senses for survival, especially its eyesight. You should prioritize visually communicating with your cat. For example, you should show your cat their food, leading them to their bowl, to indicate its mealtime. The vibrations of your footsteps will act as a little guide for your cat to follow you as well.
Deafness in cats isn’t unusual. It is usually just a part of growing old, just like for humans. If you are living with a deaf kitty, make sure to take extra care of them. They can still live full and fun lives, all they need is just a little assistance!