Hearing problems and deafness in cats
Is your cat just ignoring you or does he have a hearing problem?
You start calling your cat as usual to announce mealtime. Suddenly, you notice he is totally ignoring you. You try to attract his attention this time by loudly shaking the cat food box.
No response... You start wondering if your cat is just acting out its best set of quirks or if he has developed some form of hear loss overnight.
In reality, this is a pretty common scenario that takes place when a cat develops total hear loss. The owner may believe this hear loss has come quite suddenly, while in reality the hear loss has been gradual and very subtle due to the feline's ability to compensate with the other ear.
This occurs when hear loss starts as unilateral, thus the catloses hearing from one ear but can hear with the other ear. The owner will not notice anything out of the ordinary until it becomes bilateral, thus affecting both ears.
Owners at times, may suspect the cat may have some sort of hear loss but then may rethink the pet is o.k. because it turns its head when the owner walks toward him or greets the owner when he enters a door.
Do not rely on these responses from your cat.
The cat is simply turning its head because it is actually feeling the vibrations produced by such movements.
The most common cause of hear loss in cats appears to be age related. Senior cats just as in humans experience loss of hearing. The cat may exhibit some subtle symptoms such as sleeping more than usual and turning its head in the wrong direction when called. The cat may as well paw at its ear or shake its head to manifest discomfort.
If you have a pretty young cat there may be a wax build up in its ear that is causing him to not hear well. You can have your vet clean the ears with a good ear product. You want a vet to do this first time because if not done properly you can accidentally rupture the eardrum andcause permanent hear loss.
Otitis (ear infection) may be another culprit, the pet may be exhibiting some hear loss, scratching its ears and shaking its head in discomfort. A course of antibiotics should generally bring kitty's ears back to normal.
If your cat has been exposed to a loud noise such as a firecracker it may exhibit a temporary hear loss. This is similar to what humans develop when exposed to very loud music for some time. In severe cases, the hear loss has also been reported permanent.
Some drugs have been linked to hear loss as a side effect. In particular,a group of antibiotics known as the aminoglycoside have caused cats to develop hear loss. Such drugs should be administered carefully and only when strictly necessary.
If your cat has developed sudden hear loss after its latest surgery, the anesthesia may have caused this permanent form of hear loss. Even though this is not so common it has occurred.
Some cats are just born deaf. This is linked to genes and is common in cats that are white with blue eyes. These pets should be spayed and neutered to halt them from passing this trait.
There is no actual cure for this inherited cause of deafness.
Regardless of its cause deaf cat can lead almost normal lives. There are however a couple of simple considerations to keep in mind.
-Your cat may be more prone to accidents, thus a deaf cat should be kept strictly indoors.
-If you have a yard keep the cat there only if it is fenced with no escape routes.
-You may want to keep a tiny bell on the cat's collar so you can easily locate him.
-Attach to the collar a tag that says "deaf'. So if cat escapes people will be informed.
-Do not startle your cat by petting him suddenly while sleeping.
-Alert your pet of your presence by sitting on the bed next to her or on the couch before petting.
Keeping these simple considerations in mind will allow your cat to lead a normal life and allow yourself priceless piece of mind.
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