Can Blind and Deaf Cats Live Happy Lives?
The answer is yes! We know that in the world of animal adoptions, blind cats have a strike against them. What happens when a cat has two strikes against them by being blind and deaf? In most animal shelters, the result would be the same for both – immediate euthanasia.
But, just like blind cats, we know that blind and deaf cats can live happy fulfilling lives as loved family pets. A great example is our own Merlin! She is blind and deaf and plays and eats and gets love just like other cats. So what do you need to know about sharing your life with a blind and deaf cat?
First of all, there are many ways cats can go blind and deaf. For blindness and deafness, genetics, illness, and injury are the most common reasons. Sometimes, deafness can be temporary and it seems to be more common in white cats. Research has shown that 17 to 20% of white cats with non-blue eyes are deaf; 54% of cats with one blue eye are deaf; and 65-85% of blue eyed cats are deaf. That points to a definite genetic trait in white cats. Not as much research is available on non-white cats. Whatever way it occurs, it’s important to be aware that your cat is, in fact, deaf.
So, how will you know if a cat is deaf? Sometimes it comes on slowly. According to medivet.com.uk, there are signs to look for. Does the cat react when you approach? Is there a reaction to a sudden loud or surprising noise? If the answer to both questions is no, then an actual test by a veterinarian is in order.
Like blind cats, a cat that is blind and deaf rely on their other senses to help them navigate their lives – specifically smell and touch. These are both highly developed in cats and with them he will live a wonderful happy life with some help from a loving owner. For those pet parents, there are some specific things they can do to make the kitty feel safe and secure. www.beverlyhillsvets.com suggests the following:
“Smell plays a big role in how both blind and deaf pets interact with their environments. Allow the pet as much time as they need to explore you and their immediate environment (on leash if outside, of course).
Startling a pet is never a good idea, but it can be even more upsetting for one who’s lost their hearing or vision. Be respectful of the animal’s space and need for advance notice before being disturbed while resting.
A pet who’s gone blind or deaf suddenly or one who’s losing their abilities due to age may need extra patience and TLC.
For blind pets, be sure not to change their environment around. They often create mental routes around the house, and changes to the location of furniture and other items in the house can cause a lot of confusion.
All pets need supervision, and blind or deaf pets are no exception. Remain aware of where the pet is at all times. Tune in to any signs of stress or anxiety.”
They also suggest allowing a new blind and deaf cat to spend time sniffing your hand when you first meet. To you it might seem awkward but for the cat it’s what they do! The most important thing is to spend time with your blind and deaf cat petting and loving him so he feels connected to you and safe. You’ll enjoy a long and happy relationship together!
CLICK HERE to read more from wwww.beverlyhillsvet.com
CLICK HERE for an in-depth look at deafness in cats and how to recognize it.
CLICK HERE for some practical guidance from blind/deaf cat owners.