The Story of Our Deaf Cat and Why Deaf Pets are Awesome!

This is Cotton.

Isn’t she just the cutest cat you’ve ever seen? Perhaps I am a little biased. But look at that face!

We adopted her from the Toronto Humane Society when she was a kitten. I was in the middle of my volunteer shift there when I saw her. She wasn’t officially available for adoption yet, but I asked the staff about her and was told that I could adopt her. I had to think about it. Was I really going to be one of those volunteers who impulsively adopts while volunteering? My husband and I had a really stressful move coming up in a few months, along with our 2-week honeymoon trip.

I called my husband and asked him to come to meet her. I finished my shift and signed out, then went to her cage to spend some time with her. I fell in love and went to tell them that I want her. They didn’t need to do the typical adoption interview with me but had to go over a couple things about her. She had a heart murmur disclosure, which meant there is a slight risk of future heart problems, or it could go away on its own. Since then, our vets hear it sometimes, and we are keeping an eye on it. She had also had ear mites and fleas that they got rid of. Keegan arrived to meet her, and I filled him in on her information and we decided, yes let’s take her home!

We couldn’t take her home for a few days as she was healing from her spay surgery still, and with the heart murmur, they need to be certain there were no complications from the surgery.

The first night with her was wonderful. We set her up with a sanctuary room and allowed Bobbin and Sequin to meet her from afar and go at their pace. Of course, there was some hissing. When we went to bed for the evening, we closed the door to her room, and after a few minutes, she began to meow. It was SO loud! But luckily didn’t last long and she went to sleep. In the next few days, we started to wonder if she could hear us. Being an adorable kitten, I was taking a ton of pictures of her! And my usual trick of making a noise to get them to look at the camera was not working with her. Being a white cat, we know its more likely for her to be born deaf than with other cats. But she didn’t have blue eyes, which usually almost guarantees deafness.

I took her to the vet for her next round of shots and asked him about it. He cleaned her ears out because there was still a bit of gunk in there from the ear mites she had had. and told me that the easiest way for me to find out is to wait until she is sleeping and bang some pots together. If she can hear, it will definitely wake her up. So I did that, which really upset Bobbin and Sequin, but Cotton kept right on dreaming.

So now that we knew we had a deaf cat, we knew that there was going to be a bit of a challenge with her. But we didn’t anticipate that her being deaf was a blessing in disguise.

The biggest challenge was that we can’t tell her to stop when she’s being bad. She can’t hear you go “Hey! Stop it” so if she was getting into something we would have to go over to her and physically stop her. After a while, we began using the ASL sign for “stop” when we would stop her. And eventually, if she was looking in your direction, you could wave to get her attention and do the sign.  Which works quite well.

You don’t realize how much most cat’s fears are related to noise until you have cats that are both deaf and not deaf. When our building does fire alarm testing, Bobbin, Sequin, and Pixel all run and hide, meanwhile, Cotton will be either sound asleep or just doing her own thing. Probably wondering why all the others are freaking out.

When we brought Pixel home, all 3 of the cats were nervous and curious about her. But her barking really made Bobbin and Sequin scared of her. Cotton, on the other hand, would hang out with her, and play with her. And now because Cotton will go near Pixel, Pixel doesn’t get all excited and try to play with her, like she does with the other two cats, which just makes them more scared of her.

When people other than my husband or myself come into the apartment, Bobbin and Sequin tend to hide, but Cotton has always been friendly with people and comes to see them. I don’t know if this has anything to do with her deafness, or if that’s just her personality, but even when we have parties, she’s right out there!

She also isn’t afraid when outside. Of course, I always have her on a harness, and we only bring her onto our patio. When cars drive by or people make noise, it doesn’t bother her at all. She just likes to sit in the garden and look around. It also helps that she can’t hear birds, but when she sees them, she does want to go chase them down!

She’s a very unique cat with a quirky personality. All pets are unique and that’s one of the best things about them. But she is definitely the most unique cat I have ever had. She is so friendly and cuddly and fearless. I sometimes consider looking into training her to be a therapy cat because she loves people so much, and everyone who meets her says they absolutely love her!

She has the loudest purr I think I’ve ever heard, and a very expressive face! She licks my hand all the time when I pet her, and if I am home during the day, she will spend most of the day laying beside me. She is next to me right now being so distracting and adorable!

Basically, what this long blog post is trying to say is, don’t overlook a pet who is deaf. Deaf dogs when groomed love being blowdried because they only feel the wind. And they won’t freak out at the vacuum either! Really, don’t overlook an animal that has any handicap. You never know what wonderful and loving personality you might be missing out on.

To conclude, here are a bunch more pictures of my beautiful deaf cat who I couldn’t imagine life without!


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