Like many blue-eyed, white kitties, I am deaf. You know, as in can’t hear a darn thing. But for some crazy reason, my human still insists on talking to me! I have pointed out numerous times that this is completely useless, as I have no idea what she is saying. But still, she persists. Why is she doing this? I may be deaf, but I am beginning to think she is dumb.
Deaf and NOT Dumb
Since I don’t know your human personally, I can’t say for sure whether she is actually dumb, or just a little bit dense. I can say for sure that humans in general are addicted to chatter. Most of it doesn’t mean anything, so don’t worry, you are not missing out on any important news. Maybe it is a primate thing — monkeys also chatter up a storm, and if you shut your eyes, it sounds just like human talk, except maybe a little more shrill. Although you are getting nothing out of your human’s words, perhaps she is. A lot of humans like the sound of their own voice, and having a cat around means it is not so obvious that they are actually talking to themselves. In addition, they are used to the fact that most cats who can hear don’t listen to them much anyhow.
If you and your human have been living together for any length of time, she probably knows ways to communicate with you that don’t involve speech (even though she continues her mystifying use of verbiage). But in case you are a fairly new addition to the family — or if there are other deaf cats out there who have recently acquired humans — you might want her to take note of the following:
- Never approach a deaf cat from behind. There is a good chance you will scare them. Always approach from the front, and make sure they see you.
- While I hate collars, especially ones with bells, that might be a good thing for you to wear. Since you can’t hear your human call you, it will help her to locate you if she has something good for you like food or treats. Of course that also means that if you don’t want to be found, like if you have to go to the vet or if you want alone time, you need to figure out how to keep that bell quiet — if you can feel it move, it is definitely making noise!
- Beds — whether they are cat beds or human beds — are great places for deaf cats to sleep. They are easy for a human to either gently move or sit on if she needs to wake you up without startling you too much.
- Although humans will probably never stop talking, they should also learn some hand signals for their deaf cats. All kitties are smart and know if humans are indicating something. Incidentally, the generous usage of treats (for the cats, not the humans) will speed up the learning process! Deaf cats can also feel floor vibrations and see lights turning on and off — humans can make use of this to signal things like dinner, bedtime, treat time, etc.
- A deaf cat should never, ever go outside. He will not be able to hear danger. Sadly, I have heard of many deaf cats who have been killed by dogs, predators or cars, all because they could not hear them.
- Consider bringing home a hearing friend for a deaf cat. We kitties have other ways of communicating that don’t rely on being verbal. (If humans examine our interactions, they might note that we rarely meow at each other, but we certainly carry on conversations!) A hearing cat can also be helpful for a cat who is deaf.
Other than not being able to hear, deaf cats are just like any other kitties, and they like the same things — toys, treats, premium cat food, 7-foot-tall cat trees, deluxe cat beds, picture windows for bird watching, etc. In fact, deaf cats may like these things even more than hearing cats, so if your human does not have some of these items, I suggest that she go out and get them for you immediately.