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How to raise a deaf kitty

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Gary and I rescued an all white kitten, about 3 weeks old yesterday. She was dropped off at the vet by someone who found her in a liquor store parking lot.

She was in real bad shape, but we got the call from the Vet today that they've continued tube feeding her, performed several surgeries, and they think they saved her eye that was damaged. (Obviously she was FELV negative). She's not out of the woods yet - she was completely parasite-ridden, had many injuries (most likely from another cat attack), was badly malnourished (all skin and bones), and had a terrible infection - so bad her eyes here shut and gooey. And as you can tell from what I wrote above, one of her eyes was also injured in the attack.

They think she'll need to be in the hospital for up to a week - but then we'll need to foster her.

Being all white, it is VERY likely she is deaf. We talk to all of our cats - I don't know how much they understand - but they do all know their names, and they do all understand the word "no."

How do we work with a deaf kitty? Unfortunately, we don't know sign language.

Thanks for any help and suggestions!
post #2 of 11
Laurie, I think Kellye fostered a deaf cat a few months ago. You might want to send her a pm.
post #3 of 11
Kellye would be your best bet Laurie. She fostered Penka, and has Kahu, both of whom are deaf.

I know there are a couple threads on deaf cats around here too. Here's one: http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...highlight=deaf

I'm sure there's more but I don't have time to search right now.

I'm glad you are taking the little one in Laurie! Heathy and healing vibes to the baby!!!
post #4 of 11
You basically communicate with foot vibrations and certain gestures. But hold off to find out if she is really deaf or not, with her eyes gone, there will be no way of knowing- as most blue eyed white cats are deaf. She will be a special needs kitty as I told you last night on the phone, and she will be consuming all your time. Deaf kitties are wonderful, but she will be blind and deaf and you might want to seriously consider finding her a special needs home where one person can devote 24/7 to her care. I know you are stretched for time right now.

How is Tux doing? What did the vet say they found besides the thickening walls?
post #5 of 11
Snowwhite, Nimby, and Daddy cat are all solid white and they can all hear. Hopefully she will be able to also. I babysat for a family with a deaf cat and she wasn't really any different then normal cats I have been around. I still talk to her even though I know she couldn't hear me. She just moewed kind of funny.
post #6 of 11
My dear friend Nancy's white cat Cumulus was also deaf. (The now mom of Jake and Elwood) She loved him for 17 years before he crossed the bridge last fall from CRF.

She had a series of hand signals that they worked out over time (their own version of sign-language). To get his attention, it was usually a stomp of her foot, or some other vibration to get his attention. He was so normal that you wouldn't know he was deaf.

She would be more than happy to share her experiences with you. Let me know if you would like to link up and I will send you her e-mail address and/or phone number.

By the way, Nancy adopted a female white rescue about 6 months. Blanca passed away last month from complete liver failure. Nancy is in need of a new queen and really loves white, fluffy deaf cats. I only tell this to you if you find the need to place your kitten in an absolutely loving and caring permanent home. We also trained Nancy on how to bottle feed kittens when she adopted Jake and Elwood from us.
post #7 of 11
I just saw this. I sign basic signs to Kahu, like food, "I love you" (I know he probably doesnt understand it, but I like signing it to him anyway)
When you approach a deaf cat, make sure she sees you before you get closer or else they get scared and run away. I have made that mistake with Kahu several times - they need to feel safe. When petting them, make sure they can see you. You don't want to scare them and make them jumpy.
I dont really have words of wisdom, but if you have any questions, I would be more than happy to answer them!

Bless you!
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
We don't know she's deaf yet, but I wanted to be prepared just in case. Thanks so much - we'll see what happens. She still seems to be recovering nicely, and it looks likes she's out of "critical care" now. We haven't talked to the Vet again today, so we don't know if she's still being tube fed or not.

But MA, we must have miscommunicated. One of her eyes was not damaged, so she'll have sight in at least one eye. And the Vet believes they were able to save the other eye, though we won't know for some time. They THINK she'll have sight in both eyes. They did some operation on her cornea that they explained to Gary and I didn't hear. I'm sure I'll find out all about it when we go to visit her today or tomorrow.

She'll still be a special needs kitty, I'm just worried about finding someone to foster her and want to be prepared if we have to do it. I don't want to leave her at the vet's for them to do it. But we have a hard enough time finding people to adopt the kitties...

And as for Tuxedo... he's doing great now!!! The only thing that showed up on the ultrasound/x-rays was a very thick bladder wall. The tests they run on his urine there turned up nothing. We won't have test results for what they sent to the lab for a few more days. He's on a new antibiotic (I don't know if it's new or new to him). It's called Baytril, and they want him on it for 20 days.

We were soooo worried about his not drinking yesterday. It turned out they gave him lots of water subcutaneously before they sent him home, and they forgot to tell us. He was in the box a few times to pee but didn't, however, the Doc warned us that might happen. At least he wasn't in there every two mintues, and at least he did pee a reasonably healthy amount twice yesterday. (We were wondering how he was peeing without drinking...)

He was really out of it all yesterday - but he's a stubborn boy and wasn't sleeping much. He was just so happy to be home, and he kept leaping up into Gary's lap (new behavior for him) - he even crawled up Gary's chest and snuggled into his neck. Gary didn't care at all if it was just "don't take me back there Dad!" behavior - he was just so happy his boy appeared to be displaying so much love.

But he did eat and drink last night. And this morning... he's a new kitty. He is full of energy, and is racing the other cats around the house like the madman he is. Lazlo isn't all that happy that Tuxedo is back and full of piss and vinegar, so to speak. (Sorry - bad pun!)

We'll keep you posted on the white kitty.

Thanks all for the support and suggestions!

post #9 of 11
Oh good report!! How wonderful about the white kitty. And Laurie, special needs kitties are easier to place then normal kitties. So good luck with whatever you decide to do.
post #10 of 11
Originally posted by LDG
And as for Tuxedo... he's doing great now!!! The only thing that showed up on the ultrasound/x-rays was a very thick bladder wall. The tests they run on his urine there turned up nothing. We won't have test results for what they sent to the lab for a few more days. He's on a new antibiotic (I don't know if it's new or new to him). It's called Baytril, and they want him on it for 20 days.

I didn't even know Tuxedo was sick!! I must have missed that along the way.

Hope the white kitty recovers quickly Laurie! Are you ever without a new 'furry' addition????

Oh, I forgot!! (slaps forehead) One cat leads to another.....

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Kass, LOL! Actually, we have a pretty steady stream around here - it's just that when they're a little older, I don't bother posting about them anymore. They go to the vets, get checked out, any treatment they need, spayed or neutered... and we find them a home, often with the help of the vet. It's only when they're real little or needy they wind up on TCS because we're still learning.

We went to visit our little white kitten today! Boy does she look different! I didn't see her when she was brought in, but you can tell she was a real mess. So much of a mess, in fact, that they thought she was much younger than they now know she is.

Her baby teeth are in (although a few are missing, apparently from the attack). She's got stitches in her belly, ear and legs - but she's a fully grown little kitten! The vet now thinks she's as old as 10 or 12 weeks! Undernourished, stunted growth (she's smaller than MaeMae at 8 weeks, that's for sure) - but old enough to eat on her own (which she's now doing ).

We're 99% sure she's not deaf, and the infection has cleared up enough in her eyes that her one good eye is open. They now doubt she'll see out of her other eye. Maybe partially.

The tips of her ears look burnt. They're all red and scaley - no hair. They believe it's sunburn.

She is soooo teeny and - there's no other word for it - pathetic looking. Poor thing is so scared. She was trembling - but seemed happy to be being loved at the same time. She is just so teeny for having such full-grown legs (which we can all now see!).

Janice was considering adopted MaeMae - which means there's a spot at her house. But Magic wasn't very good with other kitties, (that may have changed by now, but we don't want to take that chance) so it'd have to be a kitty that's good at defending itself or standing his/her own ground, and that's not this kitty.

They want to keep her at the hospital until at least next Wednesday. But she's healing up, she's not in pain - and they're making sure she gets lots of love. They're not caring for a mass of kittens now, so she gets extra attention.

We haven't decided what we're going to do.

Of course, I forgot to take the camera over there. I don't think we'd be able to use the pics to help get her adopted, but it would have been nice to post her pic here. I'll make sure to take it with me Wednesday... though in my heart I hope we're bringing her home to live here at least until we find her "the perfect" home.
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