My cat Desdemona was the craziest kitten I had ever owned. She would jump up on counters, knocking things over, bookshelves, knocking things over, look me dead in the eye, and knock something over. Then she would howl. By howl, I don’t really mean howl, there isn’t an appropriate word I can think of off hand, it was a noise as if her tail had just been crushed by a rocking chair. As she tore apart branches in my Christmas tree, I would shout and shout at her ‘STOP IT! WHY WON’T YOU LISTEN TO ME!’
My cat Desdemona, doing cat sign language for "you will die for this."
One day while my father was visiting he simply said to me, “your cat is deaf.” Somehow the possibility had never occurred to me. Desdemona had never seemed deaf, her ears would turn towards stimulus, she appeared to notice activity that I attributed to being loud, and so on.
One reason a deaf cat might not seem deaf is that their other senses become more enhanced. What I would mistake for Desdemona hearing, let’s say, a garbage truck outside and running to the back door to see what’s going on, is really just her feeling the vibrations. She can pick up on the tiniest vibrations. One might ask, how do you call a deaf cat? When I want to get her attention, I simply tap on say, the bed, the desk, wherever she is, really lightly and she’ll look over at me. When I want to call her from across the room, I stomp my foot once or twice on the ground, and she’ll notice that. She is fascinated with shadows that move on the walls, she can sense the tiniest movement, it can be a tad eerie when she stares off into some corner of the room and just sit there staring intently for a few minutes — hopefully she’s not seeing ghosts or something freaky.
Communicating with a Deaf Cat
I covered this a little, by saying how I call her. Other than that, there are tons of ways to communicate with a deaf cat. Once I get her attention, I usually use a couple of different bodily signals to let her know what’s going on. When she would do bad things in the past, at first, I did use a spray bottle now and then, although I hated to do that, but I coupled it with waving my finger sternly at her and making an exaggerated pouty face. Now when she knocks stuff over (she still loves to do it, the noise doesn’t bother her at all), I will wave or stomp to get her attention, then shake my finger at her, and she seems to know I’m upset with her. In the other case, when I’m being friendly, or trying to get her to come over for pets, I’ll wiggle my fingers at her and she happily comes on over.
Well, before this becomes far too long I am going to break here, and tell you that I will be posting more about living with a deaf cat in the near future. Check out the two articles below that I found pretty informative. Just a small warning, which I will cover in the next post, if you do have a deaf cat, please keep them indoors, they can’t hear all kinds of dangers in the outside world, cars, predators, etc. I will expand on this later.
eHow’s article: How to Happily Communicate with a Deaf Cat
Best Friends Pet Care: Caring for a Deaf Cat