How do I tell if my cat is deaf?

How do I tell if my cat is deaf

One of the unfortunate facts of life is that there are cats out there who are deaf – either on one ear or both.  They’re either born deaf, or have developed deafness because they’re getting old or have gotten sick. Is your cat suffering from a hearing disability?  Read on to know what signs to look out for.

Is my cat deaf?

A normal healthy cat is able to hear better than any human.   If your think dogs have the leg up when it comes to hearing, you’re wrong.  Cats can actually detect higher frequencies than dogs.  This is one of the things that make cats such talented hunters. 

However, not all cats can enjoy this amazing ability.  If you are suspecting that your cat may be deaf, here are the things too look out for:

  1. Do they notice you when you enter the house or room they are in?  Note, it’s a different story if your cat is just ignoring you.  Hearing cats will twitch their ears a bit at the sudden sound of you coming in.
  2. Are they very heavy sleepers?  Cats love sleeping.  Sometimes, they won’t even budge even if you handle them when they’re sleeping – however, hearing cats will be woken up by a sudden loud noise like a door being slammed shut.
  3. Are they incredibly loud?  Deaf cats don’t know how loud they’re being.  When they’re looking for you around the house, they may meow very loudly.

Why is my cat deaf?

There are several possible reasons as to why your cat is losing their sense of hearing.  One of the most common way for cats to lose their hearing is through old age.  This is because as they age, their inner ear becomes less sensitive to vibration.

Some breeds of cats are also more prone to being born deaf.  White cats with blue eyes (not talking about albino cats here), have a high risk of being deaf, especially if they are part of the Persian, Scottish Fold, Maine Coon, Cornish Rex, Devon Rex, Oriental Shorthair, Turkish Agora, Ragdoll, or Manx breeds.

Illnesses could also be a cause as to why your cat is becoming deaf – this is a great reason to visit your vet regularly to make sure that your cat’s hearing is as healthy as it could be.

How should I take care of my deaf cat?

One great thing about cats is how well they can adapt.  In due time, deaf cats will learn how to live without hearing and will be able to lead a happy life.  They’ll use their other senses like their sense of smell to make sense of their environment.

However, deaf cats will require some special treatment.  Here are things you should do to care for your hearing-impaired cat:

  1. Keep them safe indoors.  The world outside can be very dangerous to a deaf cat.  There are vehicles and dogs that your little kitty might not notice.
  2. Use their other senses.  Communicate with your cat using visual cues – for example a hand gesture you do to signal feeding time.  Another way is through their sense of touch.  Your cat can feel vibrations – you can devise games that make use of their tactile senses.
  3. Be gentle with them.  Deaf cats can be easily startled.  Approach them gently and from an angle where they can see you coming as to not scare them.


Common questions about deaf cats

How do I train my deaf cat?

Deaf cats are as trainable as hearing cats – only the approach might be a bit different.  Instead of auditory cues, you can use visual cues to train your cat – like hand signals.  There is no set hand signal to use for deaf cats, but a lot of people use sign language.

With a bit of patience, persistence, creativity and lots of tasty treats, you can get your cat trained.

Do deaf cats move their ears?

All cats have the ability to move their ears.  They have this ability to complement their already superb hearing abilities.  However, even deaf cats still have this capability.  Deaf cats would move their ears about when playing as if they’re using their ears.  It could be a natural reflex thing.

What toys are beneficial to my deaf cat?

Deaf cats are just as playful as any other cat.  Here’s a list of toys for your kitty to stay happy:

  1. A stuffed toy.  This is especially great if your cat doesn’t have other animal companions to play fight with.
  2. Scratching posts.  Since it is highly advised to keep your deaf cat inside the house at all times, it’s best to provide them with lots of scratching posts/areas so they can get some steam out while also sharpening their claws.
  3. Visual toys like a laser pointer.  Deaf cats won’t really benefit from a toy with lots of bells since they can’t hear the chimes.  Remember to play with your cat a lot.


If you notice that your cat is not as responsive to sound as they ought to be, it could be assumed that they’re deaf.  While this is a sad thought, don’t worry if your cat turns out is going deaf.  They’ll adapt soon enough and will be able to lead a happy life with your help.

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