Cats only listen to their name when they have nothing better to do. So if your cat is ignoring your call, that is not yet a cause for concern. We provide information on how to assess the risk of deafness in cats and how to find out whether your cat can no longer hear.
Four Signs Your Cat May Be Deaf
The following characteristics or behaviors increase the risk of your cat hearing less:
- The cat screams a lot: Many cats whose hearing has deteriorated become louder because they cannot perceive their own volume. They scream more often because they receive less stimulus from their surroundings. Screaming often brings desirable responses in the form of attention.
- The cat does not react to noises: in the past, the velvet paw would be shot when opening the treat cupboard, today it remains to lie there. She no longer reacts to clicking or rustling the feather duster.
- The cat is pure white: especially white cats with blue eyes are genetically often deaf. With them, it is always advisable to have an audiometry test done.
- Old cats can become deaf. The older the velvet paw, the greater the likelihood that it will hear worse. This is due to damage to the nerves and age-related changes in the ear.
Find Out For Yourself Whether the Cat is Deaf?
If you know your cat well, you will probably notice if it hears worse over time. You cannot clearly prove whether she is deaf at home. If the cat does not respond even after you snap next to its ear, it does not mean that it is deaf. Even hearing cats ignore you from time to time. Conversely, if the house tiger reacts, that does not automatically mean that it hears.
Because deaf animals often compensate for their shortcomings with the more concentrated performance of the other senses.
A deaf cat feels air currents and the smallest vibrations better than hearing cats. So diagnosis is not as easy as it seems at first glance. There is also a big difference between “deaf” and “poor hearing”. That is why only a veterinarian should diagnose a cat with “deafness”. Depending on the cause, this can initiate therapy. Especially in cats that hear poorly in middle age, diseases such as ear infections can be behind the onset of hearing loss. If the veterinarian diagnoses and treats these, the hearing can in many cases still be saved.
The Audiometric Test at the Vet
The only way to unequivocally diagnose deafness is through an audiometry test. This is the only way a veterinarian can diagnose unilateral deafness. In the audiometric test, the veterinarian measures electrical activity in the cochlea and brain. Experts also call these activities “auditory evoked potentials”, AEP for short. Since needle electrodes are attached to the scalp for this measurement, slight sedation is useful in cats. The electrodes measure AEP, which is triggered by clicking sounds near the ear. The examination takes around 15 minutes and can be carried out from the sixth week of life. When buying a white kitten from a breeder, an audiometry test should of course be done beforehand.