Other health problems

How to Tell if a Cat is Deaf

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: May 1, 2019
How to Tell if a Cat is Deaf

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If your cat never reacts to loud noises, does not come when you open a can in the kitchen, or never comes to see you when you get home, it may be suffer from hearing problems.

Cats are intelligent animals that know how to adapt to different situations; if your cat cannot hear well, it will try to compensate it with the rest of its senses. This, together with its independent nature, can make it difficult for owners to know if their cat is deaf or if it's simply ignoring them.

Keep reading this AnimalWised article on how to tell if a cat is deaf should you think your friend has hearing problems. If you find that your cat shows any signs of deafness, you must go to the vet for a thorough examination.

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  1. Causes of deafness in cats
  2. Symptoms of deafness in cats
  3. How to tell if a cat is deaf

Causes of deafness in cats

There are several reasons why a cat may become deaf, although the most common is old age, especially in cats older than 10 years. Not all cats that suffer from hearing loss are completely deaf; some of them are at different ranges of hearing deficiency. Hearing loss, if it doesn't appear at birth, can be temporary or permanent.

  • Temporary deafness can be caused by infection due to bacteria, fungi or parasites. It may also be because of an excess of wax or a foreign object. If the problem is treated in time there shouldn't be any complications. Your cat will recover its hearing when it is cured.
  • Permanent deafness occurs when the problem is in the cat's middle and inner ear. This can happen because of an untreated infection or because of a serious injury. In addition, neurological problems or cysts in a cat's ear can reduce or completely eliminate hearing.

On the other hand, some cats that are born deaf - that is, they have congenital deafness. This is prevalent among white cats with light eyes, especially blue, although this does not mean that all white cats are deaf.

How to Tell if a Cat is Deaf - Causes of deafness in cats

Symptoms of deafness in cats

It can be difficult to tell if a cat is deaf, because they are very independent animals and sometimes they do not come when you call them simply because they do not want to. Cats adapt very well to the environment, so they compensate their lack of hearing with other senses.

The most common symptom of hearing loss in cats is that they don't react to auditory stimuli at all; they will only react when you touch them. Another symptom is the volume of their meows. Deaf cats cannot hear themselves, so they usually meow very loudly. Sometimes deaf cats wobble when walking; an affected ear can lead to balance problems, which can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

How to Tell if a Cat is Deaf - Symptoms of deafness in cats

How to tell if a cat is deaf

If you are wondering how to tell if a cat is deaf, here we show you some simple methods you can use to discover if it has some degree of hearing loss or if it is simply a little more independent.

  • Does your cat not come when you arrive home? Although cats are independent animals, when the owner comes home they usually go to meet them. If your cat never appears it may be because it does not hear you coming.
  • Clap when your cat is sleeping. When your cat is sleeping, stand nearby and clap loudly. If your cat can hear normally, it will wake up startled; if it does not flinch, it may be suffering from hearing loss.
  • Use the vacuum. Generally cats are really scared by this appliance. A deaf cat that cannot hear its loud noise will try to play with it.
  • Does your cat not come when you open a can of food? Normally, cats attend every time you open a can or a bag of food. Do this in a place where it cannot see you; if it does not come to you, it might be that it cannot hear.
  • Make some noise when it is distracted. Even the most laid-back cats react when they hear a noise; they are curious animals, and they usually want to know what is happening.
  • Stomp around. If your cat only reacts to your presence when you stomp around loudly, it may be that what it is alerting it are the vibrations on the floor, not the sound.

Finally, check if it only hears in one ear. It is more complicated to figure out if your cat is deaf in only one ear, but if you observe your cat's head movements when listening to something you may figure it out. If it only hears on one side, your friend will move its head so that the good ear perceives where the sound comes from.

When faced with any doubts about your cat's hearing, go to the vet. They will be able to give you an official diagnosis, find the causes, and see if there is a possible treatment.

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How to Tell if a Cat is Deaf - How to tell if a cat is deaf

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Tell if a Cat is Deaf, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.

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How to Tell if a Cat is Deaf