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Bonding with Henri.

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Well, it has been confirmed that Henri is completely deaf. I don't see it as a sad thing though, because she obviously doesn't care! She's completely fearless.

However, I feel like we haven't bonded as well, considering I am consistently scaring the daylights out of her. She can't hear me coming, so every time I sit down next to her or go to pet her, she jumps about a foot in the air. She is a loving and affectionate kitty, but I feel like she and I haven't bonded the way Samuel and I have. I think she'd act the same around any human. She also can't hear me when I speak to her, obviously, which I think must make a difference in some way.

My question is.. does anyone know anything about or have any good resources regarding feline body language? I'd like to learn to communicate with her a bit better, showing affection for her in a way she can understand that doesn't involve sound.
post #2 of 5
Hmm.. could you try to stomp your foot so that he could at least feel you coming?? Hopefully somebody with a lot more knowledge about this sort of thing will be along shortly!!
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
I have tried that, but it doesn't seem to work too well unless she's on the floor, which isn't too often.

little booger always has to be climbing on something.
post #4 of 5
Some deaf cats can still here some sound ranges, no clue how you'd find out.

You might also try 'clicker' training her with a lazer pointer, or maybe one of those minimag flashlights?
post #5 of 5
Originally Posted by Amandaofcols
Hmm.. could you try to stomp your foot so that he could at least feel you coming?? Hopefully somebody with a lot more knowledge about this sort of thing will be along shortly!!
This is a brialliant idea, but before you put it too far in practice, make sure you aren't scaring her by doing so. Some idiot in my house kept doing that to Ophie & then couldn't figure out why she would run away... (that idiot was me).

With Ophie, she is stone deaf. No hearing whatsoever. Twitch hears the shrillest screams. It took Ophie 3 months to even begin bonding with me(and she isn't near as bonded at Twitch or Lily), so don't become discouraged. I carry cat treats in my pocket when I am with Ophie, & have seveal containers(which are now well sealed) at the top of the stairs. I set up a special "bonding time" with her. She gets canned food 2x a day, so I sit down & pet her & hold her while she eats. She eats canned food from my hand without eating my hand, too now. Don't stare Henri in the eyes, blink slowly. I head-butt Ophie & she takes that as a sign of affection. I wipe her gently with a wet cloth like a mama cat would.

My trick that works particularly well for deaf cats is the "finger niff-niff". I approach Ophie, gently wake her with one hand & have the other hand near her nose with my index finger out(as though I am pointing at something). Over time Ophie has learned this is my way of greeting her. Sometimes, she still bolts away when I wake her, but I leave it up to her to return & sniff my finger. I hold my hand out towards her, regardless if she bolts or not.

I did notice that Twitch & Ohpelia get scared by different things, though. Safe movements for a deaf cat seem to vary from cat to cat.

Watch how you approach her & what she does when you approach her. If there is one way you approach her(i.e. from behind) that scares her, stop doing that. If, when you approach her from the front, she seems fine, approach her that way. She may not be bonding with you because she associates you with getting scared.

Good Luck! I am sure, with time, that you will bond with Henri the same as you will with any other cat. It took Twitch almost 2 years to really bond with me, & now I am her favorite "lunch wagon" of all of us.
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