Symptoms of Hearing Loss in Cats
Like the elephant and the dolphin, the cat also has an excellent sense of hearing. A cat’s hearing is even more developed than humans and dogs. However, because their other senses are also very keen, it can be difficult to tell if your cat has lost her hearing. Keep reading to learn about common causes and symptoms of hearing loss and what you can do to help if your cat is deaf.
Common Causes of Hearing Loss in Cats
Hearing loss can have several causes in cats. It can be congenital, meaning that the cat was born that way. Deafness can also result from chronic infection, tumors, trauma, or age-related changes. Excess earwax and mites, which prevent sound from reaching the inside of the ear can also result in hearing loss.
Although cats stand out for being very intelligent since they adapt to any circumstance, it’s possible for deafness to cause them to lose their balance. Because of this, it’s recommended that you rule out an infection or serious injury in the inner section of the ear by having your cat’s ears examined by a veterinarian.
Genetic abnormalities can also result in deafness. An example of this is the W gene that white cats with blue eyes have.
How to Tell if Your Cat is Deaf
Cats are one of the most intelligent pets - their adaptability is incredible. So instinctively, your cat will try to compensate for his hearing loss by using sight and touch. This means that he will hide his disability, so you must pay attention to other signs.
Various symptoms allow you to find out that your cat has a hearing deficiency. A very frequent symptom is that the cat suddenly becomes scared when you approach it. Of course, he only perceives you if you touch him or if he sees you.
Similarly, cats that suffer from deafness also have difficulty waking up to loud noises. At the same time, their meow is very loud and uncontrolled because, like deaf people, they probably don't hear themselves.
Your cat may not hear the sounds made by other cats or when you call her. Similarly, some felines may be deaf in just one of their ears. As a result, their listening behavior may be unpredictable. For example, if your cat is sleeping or laying on the working ear, he is not as likely to respond to sound stimuli.
As mentioned above, a cat with hearing loss may begin to walk with difficulty or constantly stagger because the ear has a direct connection with balance.
I think my cat is deaf. What should I do?
If you suspect that your cat is deaf, it’s best to have him examined by a vet to rule out other underlying health problems. While awaiting your appointment, you can do a quick test, which complements the symptoms of deafness in cats that we have mentioned:
- Take note if your cat suddenly stops greeting you at the door when you arrive home (if this has been a normal behavior in the past).
- Make noise while your cat is asleep, like clapping your hands or slapping the table. If he wakes up or moves his ears, your cat is likely hearing just fine.
- Turn on a loud-sounding household appliance, such as a blender or vacuum cleaner, and monitor your cat’s response.
- Open a food bag when the cat is not looking your way, or bang the bowls with which you serve his food.
By doing this test, you may know more clearly that the cat has some difficulty hearing. However, if you discover that the cat is completely deaf, don’t panic. Your call will still be able to live a normal life. Below are a few tips for caring for a deaf cat:
- First, strive to create sign language that both of you understand. Make up gestures that you use consistently. Don’t forget that your cat is very smart, so you will learn the signs you teach her with your hands.
- Keep your cat inside to minimize the risks that an outdoor cat may encounter (cars, other animals, etc.).
- Remember that your deaf cat may be easily startled. Be sure not to sneak up on her.
- Use a laser light or stomp gently so the vibrations can get your cat’s attention.
- Talk to your cat as if he can hear you. Use facial expressions and body language.
Need to speak with a veterinarian regarding your cat’s hearing or another condition?
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