Cat gone deaf???

My husband thinks our eldest fur-baby has recently gone deaf. Does that happen to cats? How can you tell for sure? Could it just be a build up of wax or something? Is a vet visit the next thing to do for her? I’m guessing it is but I am hoping y’all can give me some insight or some questions for me to be sure and ask the vet visit. We think she’s about 13-14 yrs old.

She seems to be hiding a lot more then usual. She seems to be afraid of the other two cats. Any suggestions to make her feel safe or communicate with her?

We have an 18 year old who is very hard of hearing. She’s somewhat timid and also very quick to hiss and spit at the other cats. She can hear if we clap loudly or yell but doesn’t hear speaking voices, whistles, rustling cat food and the like.

Doc doesn’t have anything to suggest about it. Apparently deafness is an occasional hazard for older cats, like it is for us.

Cats have the additional liability that they often get earmites, which can cause deafness (and which are very irritating too). Fortunately ours has never had that problem.

I think giving them a place to be away from the others helps, and learning to avoid startling them helps. For instance, ours is usually on my bed. When I enter the room, I jiggle the mattress a little from the far corner of the bed, so she looks up and sees me. This way she’s always happy to see me and never looks startled.

But good luck getting the other little buggers to do that too.

My cat Smokey went deaf when he was around 11-12. Our vet suggested whistles/horns of various tones to explore the range of his hearing. At this point, it appears he can hear only very loud, very high pitched tones.

Smokey had a period of extreme vocalising, which tapered off although he is more chatty now than when he could hear. Mostly, though, he is pretty ok with it. On the upside he is no longer scared of thunder or the vacuum cleaner. :slight_smile: Its not all bad.

Very interesting you mention vacuum… I left the vacuum in the hallway the other day and she’s been laying by it ever since. Not constantly but regularly. I haven’t put it away because she seems to enjoy “her vacuum” so much now.

My old girl went deaf when she was about 18. Always a vocal cat, she became much louder around the same time. I asked her vet if he thought she had gotten louder because she was going deaf and he said “No, she thinks you’re going deaf.”

My 21-year old cat is mostly deaf and blind. She can hear loud noises and she can see light, but that’s pretty much it these days. She startles easily, and she’ll make a loud noise when she’s touched and isn’t expecting it, but she doesn’t hiss. She gets lost more easily then she did before, but whether that’s just the loss of senses or if she’s getting a bit senile at her advanced age, I’m not sure. The vet wasn’t surprised by either development–she’s a very old cat.

Tess–I like your vet. :cool:

I’ve got a 16-year-old kitty that I’m pretty sure has gone totally or mostly deaf. She does not respond to my voice and startles when I touch her. Definitely more vocal, too.

The trip to the vet is worthwhile to rule out some of the more curable or serious problems that can lead to hearing loss, like parasites, polyps, and infection.

So long as all that checks out ok, then you’ve probably just got a geriatric kitty on your hands. She’ll be more likely to startle, which would explain why she’s been avoiding the other kitties. If there is a way to giver her a place where she can go to be by herself, she’ll be happier. Try anything that you might try to communicate with a deaf person, like flickering the lights, walking heavily to make floor vibrations, etc.

But, do that after you go to the vet to make sure she doesn’t have kibble lodged in her ear.

Some questions to ask the vet:
Any sign of parasites or waxy buildup or foreign bodies?
Any concern of polyps or other external growths?
Any concern of infection?
What would you recommend as far as further diagnostics to check for internal problems? Would CT or MRI be justified or significantly beneficial at this point?

Good luck

This sounds like my wife.

I have a blue-eyed cat. I’d always heard they were deaf (BS, I know, but it’s a captivating myth) so I tried all kinds of ways to see if she was deaf or (as I suspected) just ignoring me. Verdict: normal auditory capacity, but stuuu-pid. And a little cockeyed. I have nothing to contribute here, but thanks for your time.

Here’s the real story about white cats, blue eyes, and deafness.

The same site has some ways in which deaf and newly-deaf cats might behave.

This is off the subject, but we had a cat named Smokey that ran away on a winter night when we got back from our honeymoon. He was gray with white on his chest, white paws and the tip of his tail was white. Sorry! seeing your post made me think of our Smokey! :frowning:

Smokey is grey (surprise!) but a solid unmarked grey, and he came complete with a parter in crime (The Bandit) who is also solid grey. I got them both at a yard sale in Whitmore lake, MI, where I also got a microwave for $5.

He’s a good kitty. He’s starting to learn his “sign language name” which is me holding out all my fingers towards him and wiggling them. Slowly though, as he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. :slight_smile: I keep at it. I did teach this cat to sit, once upon a time, so there must be hope.

My 19-year-old has gotten very vocal, so I took him to the vet. She diagnosed him with “selective deafness,” which means he “hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”

I’m sorry :frowning:

Thanks everyone for your stories and suggestions. Pearl will be going to the vet this week. (as soon as I can get her in).

Aren’t all cats born with that?