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National Deaf Pet Awareness Week starts on Sunday, September 19th. This is definitely a topic that could use more attention. Roughly 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 kitties. Of course, she will need some extra care. A local vet offers some advice on this below.
You may have heard that if one of the five senses becomes weak or compromised, the others usually become more sensitive. This is true for pets as well as people. Fluffy will be quite sensitive to vibrations. Get her toys that vibrate or light up. This will also come into play as your pet ages. As Fluffy grows older, her sight may also decline. Using scent markers, night lights, and floor runners will help her find her way around, especially after dark. This can also help keep her from feeling scared or confused.
Most deaf animals absolutely hate being startled. If you have to wake your furry buddy up or approach her from behind, thump your foot so she knows you’re there.
Deaf pets sometimes can learn to respond to hand signals. You may be able to teach Fluffy a few commands. Just keep it simple, and be consistent. (Your cat may still ignore you, but that’s another topic.) Putting a bell on her 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 for you to both play with Fluffy and get her attention. Flashlights are also helpful here.
We recommend that all kitties stay inside. This is especially crucial for deaf ones, as they won’t be able to hear things like car horns or brakes, barking dogs, or other sounds. Fluffy may enjoy a catio or enclosure, though.
Our feline buddies are very small and fragile, and they can get frightened easily. Make sure Fluffy feels loved and safe! Your furball may be more comfortable in spots where she can see what’s going on, and where nobody can sneak up on her. Offer her lots of hiding spots. She’ll also appreciate places with good views, such as cat towers and window seats.
Don’t be surprised if your cat seems very affectionate. Kitties that can’t hear well often really crave touch. They may also need lots of comfort and reassurance. Give Fluffy plenty of snuggles and love!
Do you have questions or concerns about your cat’s health or care? Contact us, your animal hospital, anytime!