A Deaf White Kitten Called Spot
Here's the progress of my kitten called "Spot". She's completely deaf, as are most white cats with blue eyes. This page might be of interest to you if you've discovered your kitten is deaf and are wondering about deaf cat behaviour.
How To Tell If Your Kitten Is Deaf?
To prove that a kitten or cat is deaf, see how they respond to the hoover. Spot will either completely ignore it, or if she's feeling playful, she will chase it around or climb on it. And this is a very loud hoover! Another thing to try is clapping very loudly when your kitten is asleep. (Although not closely enough that they could feel the vibration). If I clap loudly when Spot is asleep on top of the fridge she doesn't notice at all, but a very gently tap on the fridge will instantly wake her.
Deaf cats often meow very loudly, and Spot is no exception. She doesn't shout all the time, but is very loud when she wants some food, or when announcing she's about to go to the toilet. She also lets out a very loud involuntary MARE when she's overcome with pleasure due to being scratched under the chin. Extremely loud MARES are often produced as a sign of fascination or curiosity, such as when watching the tap dripping. I'm sure this is due to her deafness.
Spot generally gets along fine with regard to her deafness. She can be startled quite often as she doesn't hear people approaching. She still tends to point her ears in the direction she wants to pick up sound from, as do normal cats. For example, if she's sitting facing away from me but still knows I'm there, she will point her ears backwards to listen to sounds behind her. Pointless!
Letting deaf cats or kittens go outside is not advised due to worries about the traffic, but it's no bother for Spot, as she has to stay indoors anyway, being in an upstairs flat.
Spot has recently been introduced to another cat. Generally, they get along okay, but occasionally there's a hiss and growl from the other cat. Being deaf Spot doesn't take these threats at all seriously, because she can't hear them. She also follows the other cat around a lot, and always watches what she's doing. I think this is because when other cats (or people) are out of visual range, she has no idea where they are.
Spot was born on 27th June 2008
Spot's really well behaved in terms of carpet and furniture scratching, but disciplining a deaf cat is almost impossible! Being completely stone deaf, she won't be startled by loud sounds, so it's very difficult to tell her not to do something. Any attempts to tap her on the nose or push her away just end it lots of purring and the start of another game of attack-the-hand. Apparently, using a water pistol or plant sprayer is a good idea to discourage the usual naughty kitten behaviour, but I haven't tried that yet. I don't fancy spraying water over my TV.
One strange thing Spot used to do, aged 7 to 10 weeks, and suddenly stopped, is going to sleep under the duvet on my bed. Right in the middle. Every day, when coming home from work, I wouldn't be able to find her anywhere, but then found that she'd always emerge from the bed. I don't know if it's deaf kitten behaviour, but maybe she felt safer under there. Good job I didn't accidentally sit on her.
Upon her first visit to the vet's, Spot was diagnosed with a slight heart murmur. Apparently this is not uncommon, and the vet asked whether Spot is as active as she should be, as affected kittens and cats can be lacking in energy due to being out of breath. Often the murmur can gradually disappear as the kitten grows older. At Spot's "operation" at 7 months old, and there was no sign of the murmur. Hopefully it's gone away.
EarsAs a kitten, Spot had extremely long ear hair.
FeetBut now, she has extremely long foot hair.
Spot's Kitten Image Gallery
Click on the pictures for larger versions of each.
Spot has record breaking ear hair. It actually grows this way to help aerodynamics. The ear-hair provides additional downforce when running at maximum speed.
She especially likes it when I turn her ears inside out so she can show off her ear-hair to fullest effect.
Spot is now ONE! Interestingly, the grey splodge on the top of her head is now completely gone. Spot is not normally allowed outside due to her deafness, but on occasion she likes to sit in some mud. Under supervision, of course.
Blue Eyes To Green Eyes
Spot's eyes gradually turned from blue as a kitten to a greeny yellow over her first year, as you can see in the pictures. This proves that the deafness gene doesn't always cause blue eyes.
Now Spot is over a year old, her Monster Ear Hair seems to have retracted back into her ears and sprouted from between her toes. It's been replaced by extremely long foot hair. Not very lady-like is it?
Also notice the small tufts of fur sprouting from between the toes.
More Kitten Pictures!
There are plenty more pictures of Spot on the Pentax K-m Sample Kitten Photos page, so feel free to have a look there!