Deafness can be expressed in two ways. Namely, it can be complete or partial. Moreover, it can take place during life or be with you since the day you were born, being caused by some fetal abnormalities.
When it comes to cats, felines can lose hearing for more than one reason. However, there are certain breeds which are more likely to suffer from deafness than other ones. If your cat is white with blue irides, this could signify this susceptibility. Also, Persians, Maine Coones, Ragdolls, Devon rex, white Manx, oriental short hair and white Cornish rex are the most endangered breeds of cats, in this respect.
Signs of Hearing Loss in Cats
The best way of noticing if your cat is deaf or not is to test it. Basically, all you have to do is call it out and observe it. If it fails to respond to your summoning, explore this phenomenon more and see whether the cat reacts to sounds around it. Moreover, try exposing it to the squeaky sounds of pet toys, observing the reaction, especially while it sleeps. If your cat fails to react in all of these situations, there is a high likelihood that it is deaf completely or that it suffers from a treatable hearing loss.
Reasons behind Hearing Loss in Cats
Sometimes, due to nerve damage or obstructions, sound waves cannot reach the nerves in the cats ear. This can take place due to an infection or some other ear canal disease like tumors, ruptured ear drum etc. Also, inflammation of the middle ear can lead to the same hearing issue.
As for nerve damage, degenerative nerve changes can lead to hearing loss. Alternatively, the cat may lack development of the part of the ear containing nerve receptors. This can cause excessive accumulation of fluids in specific parts of the animal's brain, damaging the hearing center, causing deafness.
Moreover, a cancer or a tumor may affect the nerves which are involved in the hearing process. Finally, trauma or inner ear infections can have the same effect, affecting both the middle ear and, possibly, the Eustachian tube.
Another category of reasons behind hearing loss in cats includes medications. Basically, many antibiotics and antiseptics can lead to deafness in cats. Sometimes, chemotherapy can lead to hearing loss as well as medications which are meant do deprive the cat's body of excessive fluids. Alternatively, your pet might have come into contact with toxic metals such as arsenic, lead or mercury, all of which are known to trigger hearing loss. Even some ear wax removal products can damage the ear, leading to hearing issues.
Diagnosing is best to be done by veterinarians, since they will look into the medical history of the animal and into its present condition. Deafness from birth is not treatable. In other cases, hearing may be restored by surgeries or medications. Nevertheless, detailed insight into the condition is crucial.
Finally, take good care of your deaf cat, since it is likely to have problems coping with the world around it.