Monday, February 15, 2010

We Need Some Help

Hi kitties. It's Freddie here. I have some news.

Over the weekend, it has become apparent that I am deaf. My foster mum has never looked after a deaf kitty before, and is trying to learn as much as she can about it. She has read about training and using hand signals and wants to start teaching me before I go to my Forever Home. That way, they can continue the training rather than starting from scratch.

Are there things that potential adopters should be made aware of in terms of my care? I am already only being offered as an indoor only kitten due to my colouring, so obviously that will be even more so now.

We were hoping that there might be someone with a bit of experience with deaf kitties who could offer us some advice.

Thankyou so much!
Love Freddie.

25 comments:

Poppy Q said...

Hi Freddie, we don't know much about deaf cats and am sure you will get some good advice. I hope you will be able to find a special furrever home where your family will take good care of you.

Years ago, mum had a kitty called Squirty, that used to sleep in her room. Mum had to have the door closed at night, but when Squirty wanted out to do her business, she used to use her paws to knock a rope of bells that mum had hung on the back of the door. That would wake mum up, so Squirty could run out, do her stuff and run back onto the bed.

We hope you get lots of good advice and help.

Smooches

Julie and Poppy Q
xxxx

Goldie, Shade and Banshee said...

I wish we has some words of advice Freddie but we have never cared for or known any deaf kitties.

We hope someone can give you some helpful advice!

Forever Feline said...

My cousin has a kitty who is white like Freddie and is deaf. I will ask her for advise and tips and get back to you.

Forever Feline said...

Caring for Deaf Cats

A genetic anomaly causes blue-eyed white cats to be born deaf. Odd-eyed whites are often deaf on the same side as they are blue eyed. This anomaly is present in all breeds in which blue-eyed white cats occur, from Persian to Oriental to the Turkish Van.

In general, deaf cats are able to cope very well with their disability. For their comfort, however, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.

First, it can be very helpful to work out a language that both you and your cat can understand. This doesn’t have to be as difficult as it sounds. You can develop hand signals similar to those used with dogs. Keep in mind that your hands will be meant as a positive tool. Because of that you should never hit a deaf cat or kitten as this will only teach them that human hands are negative and they will do their best to avoid humans and their hands.

You can teach cats and kittens not to do inappropriate things like jumping on tables by using a water gun. With hearing cats, you typically reinforce this by saying ‘off’, but with deaf kittens and cats your body language will usually work just as well.
Deaf cats often adjust to their deafness by becoming more visually active and more sensitive to movement and vibrations. If you walk into a room where you deaf cat is sleeping, you can tap the furniture or the floor to keep from startling them. Keep in mind that deaf cats have a tendency to sleep very soundly and may be more easily startled and thus more prone to biting or hissing. It’s also recommended that you approach your deaf cat from the front, not the rear, to keep from frightening or startling them.

Deaf cats often benefit from having the company of another cat with normal hearing. The other cat will become the ‘ears’ for the deaf cat, as well as a playmate and companion.

Keep in mind that while deaf cats and kittens may compensate well for their disability, they may not be aware of some dangers like cars or hostile animals. For that reason it’s often recommended that your deaf cat be an indoor cat. You can, of course, teach them to walk on a leash or harness and still allow them some enjoyment of the outside world.

Finally, your veterinarian can help with hearing tests. Deaf cats should be neutered and should not be used for breeding.

Tom, Tama-Chan, Sei-Chan, Yuu-Chan said...

We are sorry not to have any wisdom to impart on deafness in cats, but we are sure you will do all that needs to be done in order to make things as easy as possible for little Freddie.

Catherine said...

Such a special wee kitty will need a very warm and loving special family to live with. Good luck on finding some training ideas!

Anonymous said...

Hi!
I had a deaf cat adopt me many years ago--all white boy with brilliant blue eyes. He hopped off of the back of a landscaper's truck into my life. It took a couple of weeks to realize he was deaf and here's some of what I did: Chuck (or Chuckles) liked to sleep up high where he wouldn't be startled--let kitty choose a place, no matter how strange, and gently tap the bed if you need to waken the sleeping beastie. Chuck liked the top of the fridge and I'd open the door to wake him up. He'd stretch out an arm and scream "hello!". That's another thing...no loudness modulation. Chuck said either a loud "MEOW" or a little "meep", and ocassionally when he couldn't see people or his feline siblings (he had six) he'd howl in the foyer until some company appeared.
He was a VERY visual learner, and I used a few simple hand signals like "come here", "get down" etc which were reinforced with treats or the squirt bottle.
Chuckle-Wuckle was a great cat and smart, too. The deafness certainly wasn't a handicap to him, and I think he made me a better cat mommy by having my special boy.

Cory said...

Sweet Freddie! I'm sure with all the great advice I see here that you are going to be just fine. We've never had a deaf kitty, but we've had woofies go deaf in old age and they adjust very well as long as you do what is recommended from all your great commenters today.

Purrs to you, Cory

Angel and Kirby said...

We have no experience, but it looks like you are getting some good advise!

Aniemother said...

My sisters cat, Herbert, that's on the blog every now and then is deaf. He's such a lovely cat and it's easy to forget he's deaf. It's important to not come up from behind and pick them up, though, as it can be very scary and sudden when you don't know what's happening until you're suddenly dangling in the air.

Now she's used to other cats, but not hearing when other cats are hissing etc can be an issue so be a bit watchful so she's not scared. Herbie is, unfortunately, terrified of cats after being beaten one time too many. :(

Astri also always keep a reflective collar on him so that IF he was to escape outside he should be extra visible. This might be seen as a bit ott depending on how you live, but if they live so that running out the front door would get her outside it might be an idea.

Ane

Shadow / Molly said...

Freddie we hope da bestest fer yoo! Yoo certainly gotidid BIG!!

Amy and The House of Cats said...

Hi Freddie! That is too bad that you can't hear but we are sure that you will find a wonderful family to take care of you properly.

Although my cats can all hear, a couple have learned some hand signals - mainly come here I will pet you. I just am not sure how you would teach it withouth starting by talking. And it is mainly just a repetitive thing - so I think if you came up with a signal (for us the come here we will pet you is kind of making a head scritching motion with our fingers) and tried it, rewarding Freddie when he does what you want, he will learn that way - he probably just has to be looking at you when you do it. The same as with teaching a hearing cat, just harded to get his attention to actually show him the signal first.

Cliff and Olivia said...

We don't know anything about deafness, but what you might lack in the hearing department, you surely have in the looks department.

Whimpurr said...

Oh, bless Freddie's little heart! I woud assume that the most important thing would be that he remains indoors only ... which you have already stated! Sure wish we could take him in ... Whimpurr would in a heartbeat! *purrs*

Grrreta said...

We're glad you know now so your foster mum can find the perfect home that will take special care of such a special boy. It sounds like you are getting lots of great advice.

Cheyenne -Millie said...

Mom has never had a deaf cat before. But we have heard that white kitties can be deaf. We hope you get lots of help.

Mickey,Georgia , Tillie said...

hey Freddie!! You certainly are a handsome kitty!! We are sorry that you cannot hear,but you will become smarter from your other senses. We do not have any advice as we have not had any deaf kitties around. We hope you get an extra special 4ever home.We believe your Mom will do well as she is already learning about your care:)
Purrs Mickey, Georgia & Tillie

meowmeowmans said...

I've owned a cat who became deaf as he got older, and we have had cats at our shelter who were born deaf. My experience is that they become much more visually attuned, and they also become more sensitive to people or animals moving around via air currents and vibrations in the floor. Yes, hand signals do work well; you just have to be consistent, and reward and praise the cat when they respond as you want them to. They are amazingly adaptable. Owners of deaf animals should also put stickers on doors and windows that let emergency personnel know that a deaf animal lives there...

Fin said...

Whew! Looks like you got great advice, cause we didn't have any except purrs.

Milo and Alfie said...

We're sorry to hear yoo are deaf Freddie ~ but we have heard it is not uncommom in white cats. Mom doesn't know much about deaf cats so can't advise.

BUT she did say that she would never be put off having a cat just because they were deaf. She said that as long as yoo are kept indoors yoo will be fine (because you would never hear danger approaching) ~ AND because much of wot passes between cats and owners is understood and experienced rather than spoken. So she said, don't worry ~ yoo will still be VERY loved (perhaps even more so) because of yoor disability.

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

You got some good advice, and here's some more info our mewmie had bookmarked on deaf kitties:

http://www.catprotection.org.au/pdf/fact_sheet_deaf_cat_170708.pdf

http://searchwarp.com/swa337311.htm

The Island Cats said...

Aw, Freddie...we're sorry your deaf, but we know that won't stop you!! We don't have any advice to share about deaf kitties, but it looks like others have given you some good advice!

Tiki & Kirby (& sometimes Kesey) said...

We don't have any real advice, but one of Mommy's childhood teachers had a deaf cat who was very easy to clean. She used the brush attachment on the vacuum and the cat loved it. Since she couldn't hear it, she wasn't afraid and liked how it felt.

Charlemagne and Tamar said...

Freddie, we're sorry that you can't hear, but it sounds like everyone has great advice for your foster mom. We'll purr extra hard for a great home for you with people who understand you.

Charlemagne and Tamar

Val said...

My first kitty as a kid was a green-eyed deaf white cat. His name was Casper the Friendly cat. We did not really have to do any different for the cat. He was a very good kitty. Mom taught him to stay off the counters the regular way - the squirt bottle. When he wanted him to jump up on the chair with you, we'd tap the seat of the chair. He loved to ride in the car. We think the lack of noise did not scare him. He moewed very odd - it almost sounded like a baby crying. I loved that cat.