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How to train a deaf kitten

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hey guys!

A good friend of mine just adopted a kitten (about 12 weeks of age) that is deaf, and she's having a very difficult time training him, because he cannot hear her commands/snapping, etc.

Do any of you know of any good sites that have information on how to train a deaf kitty? Or maybe does anyone here have any experience with such a thing?

Thanks so much...and I know my friend thanks you, too!!

post #2 of 8
I had one deaf white rex kitten. She was adopted out to a family that had deaf dogs in the past so it was a perfect home.

While she was with me, I found that stomping on the floor will get their attention. Then use a little sign language of "come here" and speak it too since there is a possibility the kitten may have a tiny bit of hearing. When the kitten comes, reward with treats and pettings.

My little girl would scream if she could not see you and know where you are. She would usually stick close (at least in the same room) so let her know when you are leaving.

Also if she is sleeping, e.g. on a bed, then gently tap the bottom of the bed so she can feel the vibrations and not be startled waking up. You may have to go and find her for breakfast/supper time since she can't hear you open the can and cats don't have a great sense of smell
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Great suggestions, thank you! I'll pass on the information.

Interesting thing I just read...her new kitty is a blue-eyed white kitty, and apparently across all breeds, that combination more often than not produces a deaf kitty. How odd! Another interesting stat: white kitties that have one green and one blue eye, most of the time are deaf on the side that they have a blue eye. Genetics are so interesting.

Thank you again.
post #4 of 8
Yup most blue eyed white kitties are deaf

My aunt is deaf and has a deaf blue eyed whitey girl named Princess Maple... I suggest using simple ASL (American Sign Language) or made up hand commands. Maple and Oliver (my cat, even though he his fully hearing) both know ASL. The signs Ollie knows include no, sit, up, down, grass, fish (for the occasional tuna juice treat), outside, grass, and his 2 favorites are cookie and food (to indicate his wet food since kibble is always out).

Using vibrations like banging on the floor/bed and light cues are great ways to get his attention. Just emphasize to them to BE PATIENT! Not only is he deaf, but he's a kitten! So just be persistent and work on ONE sign at a time until it is mastered - cookie was the first one Ollie learned and he picked it up in no time!

I'll post 2 ASL links below, in case your friends are interested in using actual ASL signs. They're similar, but I like the ASLpro one better (my ASL prof in college used that one). With each of them you click a letter of the alphabet and then the word you want and then a short video comes up to show you the sign. Tell your friends to stick to one sign commands to not confuse him (for example: I sign "good" to Oliver and he knows that means "Good boy" - 2 signs together would be too much for him)


OH EDIT: If they haven't already decided this, any deaf kitties should be ENTIRELY indoor! They are at a HUGE disadvantage outside not being able to hear!
post #5 of 8
Wait.....you can TRAIN a kitten?!?!

White cats with blue eyes are commonly deaf....I've got 2. I stomp the floor or create a big breeze (wave a piece of paper).....something that will cause a physical change in the surroundings of the cat. You have to be extremely diligent in cat proofing, I lost Ophelia for 2 weeks & when I did finally find her hidey spot, I blocked it up completely!
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for your ideas, guys. I'll pass them along to my friend. She's so frustrated, as the kitten has taken to jumping on her two rather large dogs, and she wasn't sure how to get him to stop! But, I'll pass these ideas along to her, and hopefully they'll help her to calm down about the situation. She adopted him from a friend of hers that found himself to be severely allergic to the kitten.

Thanks so much again!
post #7 of 8
I have a white persian with blue eyes. Yup she is deaf. Simple hand signals, vibrations and also flicking the lights on and off to get her attention all works wonderfully. Aside from that, they are not much different than any other cat.
post #8 of 8
WOW...I have no advice for you, I just wanted to let you know what a good person I think you are
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