You may think it's normal for your cat not to respond to your call or appear to not pay any attention to you, but it could mean that your cat has a hearing problem. Hearing problems are not uncommon with cats, especially as they age. However, it's not always obvious that their hearing ability is poor as cats often mask their disabilities.
If your cat is hearing impaired, it means that you may need to make some changes to accommodate him or her. Here are some of the signs of deafness in cats and some ways you can keep them safe and happy.
Signs of Hearing Loss
Chances are that if your cat has been hearing impaired for a long time, then he or she has made some adaptations. If you have another cat, it may be particularly hard to tell as they often subtly rely on the other cat's reaction to compensate for their lack of hearing. However, some of the more common signs of hearing problems include:
- Not responding to normal cues such as shaking your keys or opening a can of tuna, especially if he or she is not looking at you.
- Meowing or vocalizing very loudly.
- Sleeping very soundly and not responding to the usual wake-up sounds.
In addition to these symptoms, you may see actual signs of swelling or infection in the ears.
Diseases and Conditions that Cause Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is fairly common in white, or mostly white, cats. However, contrary to popular belief, it doesn't automatically mean that these particular types of cats are always hearing impaired. Age is also another factor with older cats having more instances of gradual hearing loss. Diseases and infections can also cause temporary or permanent deafness.
Treating and Living With a Hearing-Impaired Cat
If the hearing loss is the result of a disease or correctable physical problem, such as a blockage, then it can be treated and hearing can be improved or completely restored. However, with congenital or age-related hearing loss, your best bet is to accommodate your cat's increasing deafness. For your cat's safety, keep him or her indoors, as hearing-impaired cats can't hear danger coming. Use visual cues and treats, instead of voice commands, to train your cat to come to you or discourage unwanted behavior.
If your cat's hearing loss is permanent, it doesn't mean that he or she cannot live a long, healthy, and happy life. You will have to make some adjustments and do some training to make sure your cat stays out of trouble. If your cat is showing signs of hearing loss, or you see some signs of problems in their ears, then visit an animal clinic and have your pet examined by a professional veterinarian. The veterinarian can also give you tips for giving your cat a full life, despite the hearing loss.