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Hearing

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
My husband and I adopted from a local shelter last Friday. We brought home a neutered male just over a year old.

He has really settled in but I've noticed he doesn't seem to respond to the noise from toys and tonight he was lying under my computer chair and I leaned over to pet his head and it scared him.

He talks alot- I don't know if that matters.

What type of things can I look for to see if his hearing is good?

He will probably visit the vet in about 6 weeks, when it's time for his 'brother' to go for his 1 year check up.

Leslie
post #2 of 26
Make sure the vet checks for ear mites and excess wax, this could be the cause of some hearing loss. He could be like one of mine that just sleeps so soundly they startle easily when touched. Even deaf, cats live perfectly long lives but usually as indoor cats.
post #3 of 26
Just curious...he's not white with blue eyes, is he?
post #4 of 26
Try jingling some keys behind him but be sure he cannot see you do this.
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks.

Nope Harley is black and white with green eyes.

I'll try the test with keys today.

One thing I did notice is that he wasn't fazed by the trains that have come through. The tracks are literally in the backyard. When we moved they definitely scared our resident cat.

Leslie
post #6 of 26
Your cats are beautiful!! If Harley is hard of hearing...that may be why he doesn't play.....but he will nonetheless be a loving, wonderful cat for many years. Playing usually involves the sound of the toys, and the sound leads to seeing it.....but don't worry...not all cats are 'players'.....my Phoebe can hear, but never did have any interest in toys....but she loves to cuddle with her 'brother'.....is otherwise a very healthy cat.

Good Luck with your kitties!
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack31 View Post
Thanks.

Nope Harley is black and white with green eyes.

I'll try the test with keys today.

One thing I did notice is that he wasn't fazed by the trains that have come through. The tracks are literally in the backyard. When we moved they definitely scared our resident cat.

Leslie
Pixel & Mouse were quite spooked for a while when we first moved - i live about 1.5 blocks from the tracks. doesn't even faze them now, tho!
post #8 of 26
Bicolors with non-blue eyes can be deaf or carry the deaf gene. I found out with my rexes. Mom was an odd-eye white (hearing), Dad was a bicolor (hearing/gold eyes). Our one gold eyed white kitten was totally deaf.

Since mom was out of cats which were pointed (hence any of the blue-eyed whites were hearing cats), the deaf gene had to be carried by the bicolor - not the odd-eye white. This was explained to me by a geneticist/breeder.
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
Wow very interesting GoldenKitty. I will be performing the key test in a few minutes--I will update the findings

Leslie
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack31 View Post
He will probably visit the vet in about 6 weeks, when it's time for his 'brother' to go for his 1 year check up.
It's always recommended to bring any newly adopted animal to the vet as soon as possible so he/she can receive a full medical evaluation. You wouldn't want your resident cat to catch anything and if treatment is necessary you'd like to get started on that right away.

I'm not certain from your post if this planned visit in 6 weeks will be his initial vet visit, or if he was already brought to the vet, and this hearing issue is simply something that you intend to bring up during the next visit. Could you please clarify?
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
He came from the shelter and saw a vet there every month he was in the shelter (I have his records from there)

So no, I haven't taken him to our vet, but he will be going when our other cat goes in 6 weeks.

Leslie
post #12 of 26
My fail proof ( ) test?

Bang pans together behind them while they're asleep.
post #13 of 26
If he does happen to be deaf, you can teach him sign language!

My aunt is deaf and has a deaf kitty and the kitty knows some sign (my aunt signs but also reads lips and speaks very well)... I took some ASL (American Sign Language) in college, plus what I know from my aunt, so I taught Ollie sign (even though he is hearing)... oh man is he smart - my dad will sign "cookie" to him in the morning and he'll bolt out of bed with me to get cookies from my dad lol

So if you'd be interested in some tips on teaching sign, let me know! It's very simple and kitties are very smart just gotta be consistent
post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
Funny you should mention sign language--I know common signs because I have used it in childcare a lot.

We have tried some tests with Harley. I still don't know whether he can hear--he seems to react to some things and not others.

How much of a response could be based on him feeling the vibration as opposed to really hearing it?

I had a friend who's dog was deaf, but if you clapped he would feel the vibration and come to you.

Leslie
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack31 View Post
Funny you should mention sign language--I know common signs because I have used it in childcare a lot.

We have tried some tests with Harley. I still don't know whether he can hear--he seems to react to some things and not others.

How much of a response could be based on him feeling the vibration as opposed to really hearing it?

I had a friend who's dog was deaf, but if you clapped he would feel the vibration and come to you.

Leslie
Well if he is deaf or hard of hearing, it would depend on how severe it is - if he has some residual hearing, he would pick up vibrations via the air, my aunt's cat is completely deaf, so you have to bang on the floor so she feels it... my aunt however is mostly deaf but does have some residual hearing, so if you are relatively close to her and very loudly say her name, she will hear it

My dog is 14 and starting to lose her hearing, but she'll still respond to loud clapping or whistling or like very high pitched noises (Like if I go "who's a pretty girl?!" and like really squeak the "girl" her head will twist around with her ears perked up lol)

My suggestion if you do start to teach him sign, the very first sign to teach would be "cookie" it's the first one I taught Ollie and he picked it up in NO TIME! He now has a pretty extensive sign vocabulary for a cat
post #16 of 26
I do have to say, also, that being in a cage for 4 months will take the play out of many cats. Not all, of course.

Once Harley realizes he CAN play, maybe he'll take it back up. Our Punkin was a little subdued at first, but he soon became the most relentlessly playful cat we've ever seen.
post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
Well Hubby and I are still unsure of Harley's hearing. At this point both Hubby and I agree that he does have some hearing--but definitely not all.

He sat right next to me while I blow dried my hair today and didn't flinch, and he's a skittish little guy. Jack ran to the farthest end of the house when he heard the blow dryer.

I am happy to say that he has started to play--Jack is making sure of that. It makes me so happy to know his life is forever changed being here.

Leslie
post #18 of 26
Charlie's never been afraid of a hair dryer so that's not an accurate test. Did you try the keys or the banging of the pots? That will be a truer test.
post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 
Didn't react to the keys, or pots, or an extremely loud train last night (the tracks are literally in the back yard, so with the windows open the whistle is unbelievably loud.)

Does react to the front door being shut or opened, haven't tried the doorbell yet, the AC guy is coming today, so we'll see if the doorbell grabs attention or not.

Leslie
post #20 of 26
The reacting to the front door could definitely be from vibrations.

This is a list of tests you can do for dogs to determine if they are deaf, but most of these should work for cats too:

Tests You Can Do At Home

* Jangle keys, a rattle, or a can of coins
* Squeak a toy (be sure that air from the toy doesn't hit the dog - try it behind your back)
* Call your dog in a normal voice - try yelling
* Clap your hands (you should be far enough away so that he doesn't feel air movement)
* Whistle or (if you're musically challenged) blow a whistle
* Turn on a vacuum cleaner (be sure it's far enough away from the dog so that the vibrations or airflow don't reach him)
* Bang two pots together (be careful of air vibrations reaching your dog)
* Ring a bell or have someone ring your telephone or doorbell



It is also possible that he may be partially deaf or unilaterally deaf (one ear) in which case the above may be inconclusive.
My terrier mix went totally deaf after dental surgery a few years ago but after steroid treatment he regained some of his hearing. Now, he can hear some loud noises and hears high-pitched sounds better than others but if you speak in a normal volume and tone he won't hear you...if you speak in a very loud and/or high pitched voice he will often respond.
post #21 of 26
If the kitten did not react to keys or pans, then I suspect he is deaf. One thing, do not wake him all of a sudden. The deaf kitten I had would not wake up when you walked into the room. So I gently wiggled the bed or patted a little near the kitten to wake her up. Otherwise they wake up and are more scared.

Does your kitten have a loud meow or "off-key" meow? Ours would sit at the top of the steps and scream till you came to see - then she happily came down the steps - she just didn't know where you were
post #22 of 26
Thread Starter 
Wow, I'm a little overwhelmed right now with Harley being at least somehwat deaf.

Yesterday Harley was hiding under the bed and the way he was laying there was no way for me to look him in the eye and by just calling for him he did not respond, after hitting the floor with my hand he looked finally. Definitely a sign to me that he can't hear.

Any other tips for living with a deaf cat--other than carefully waking him up?

Is he more likely to be timid or skittish?

He meows a lot and its a very different meow than Jack. It does seems to be a different pitch than Jack's.

Thanks for all the input and help
Leslie
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
If the kitten did not react to keys or pans, then I suspect he is deaf. One thing, do not wake him all of a sudden. The deaf kitten I had would not wake up when you walked into the room. So I gently wiggled the bed or patted a little near the kitten to wake her up. Otherwise they wake up and are more scared.

Does your kitten have a loud meow or "off-key" meow? Ours would sit at the top of the steps and scream till you came to see - then she happily came down the steps - she just didn't know where you were
LOL - Clyde loses us sometimes so he just yells his little heart out!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack31 View Post
Wow, I'm a little overwhelmed right now with Harley being at least somehwat deaf.

Yesterday Harley was hiding under the bed and the way he was laying there was no way for me to look him in the eye and by just calling for him he did not respond, after hitting the floor with my hand he looked finally. Definitely a sign to me that he can't hear.

Any other tips for living with a deaf cat--other than carefully waking him up?

Is he more likely to be timid or skittish?

He meows a lot and its a very different meow than Jack. It does seems to be a different pitch than Jack's.

Thanks for all the input and help
Leslie
I have a totally deaf cat, and I think the best thing for him is having other cats around. He likes to use them to gauge if there is "danger" around. When it's time to eat, I stomp on the floor twice. If I lose him, I stomp on the floor and/or switch lights on & off. Like GoldenKitty, I pat the waterbed before waking him up. Oh, and I also notice that he looks at my face more than my other cats. Especially when we first got him - I think to tell if we were friend or foe. So I would smile and blink my eyes shut once or twice slowly to show that I was a friend. Don't be too overwhelmed. Remember he's used to it, but you are the one who isn't.
post #24 of 26
Teach him some basic sign language like a "come here" sign (curling your fingers to you), "no" (moving a finger from side to side). And reward with a treat when he comes to you.

Stomping on the floor or any kind of vibration you can make will help get his attention. I do agree that if you have other cats/dogs then the deaf one will be more alert to what is going on (this from a Turkish Angora breeder who deals with a lot of deaf cats in her whites).

The "off-key" meow is because he cannot hear himself
post #25 of 26
Try not to feel overwhelmed
A big thing is he must be an indoor only cat (not sure if yours are or not)... he's in much more danger outside than a regular cat being deaf

Stomping on the floor/creating vibrations is the best way to wake him up or get his attention and other cats are a big help as well

As for sign language - you said you have some experience, but I'll add 2 links at the end of this of online ASL video dictionaries (ie: you click on an alphabet letter, then the word you want and a short video appears demonstrating the sign)... I prefer the ASL pro site (my ASL prof in college gave us that one)... my suggestion is keep it simple: single sign commands... for example: Oliver knows the sign "good" to mean "good boy" the 2 signs would be too much for him... you can make up your own signs of course, especially if 2 ASL signs are similar and could confuse him... some signs Ollie knows pretty well are: cookie (again the easiest to start with lol), food (to him means wet food since kibble's always out), fish (for tuna juice), no, sit, water, grass, ball, outside... now of course, he's still a cat and doesn't always obey haha, but I can tell he knows what I'm trying to tell him

Just be patient and consistent and you can still vocalize to him even if he is deaf facial expression conveys alot, even to animals... smiling and the slow blinks are good "I'm friendly" communicators... give him time, he'll warm up to his environment and learn the routine in your house and I'm sure he'll be perfectly happy! Feel free to ask me if you want tips on the ASL, I plan to teach it to my future children as well regardless of their hearing ability - my uncle has done that with his 4 hearing children and it allowed them to communicate much earlier than kids that only know vocal communications

http://www.aslpro.com/cgi-bin/aslpro/aslpro.cgi
http://commtechlab.msu.edu/sites/aslweb/browser.htm
post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 
My cats are indoor only cats!

We are still vocalizing to him--sometimes it feels stupid knowing he can't hear us but sweet talking is a habit you can't stop!

I will start trying the sign language. I by no means can communicate with a deaf person but have basic signs down from teaching children. I am even starting it right now with the two girls I nanny for (only 6 months old). We also use it with both of my hearing nephews. Thanks for the links though--I tend to forget the 'real' sign because with kids they tend to make the sign their own so to speak.

Leslie
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