Like people cats can lose their hearing in their later years. As there are no hearing aids for cats and their grasp of sign language is generally limited this can lead to a myriad of problems for both the owner and their feline friend. My lovely cat Caspar is now so deaf that nothing short of gunshot will rouse his attention which is making life interesting to say the least.
In The Wild
In the wild a deaf cat would be very vulnerable and I know that Caspar feels this way even in his comparatively safe domestic life. He is clearly acutely aware of his condition and has adopted the most fascinating methods of keeping himself safe. The most endearing of these has been adopting his own hearing cat in the shape of my other feline Sammy. Caspar sticks to Sammy like glue, follows him everywhere and generally sleeps with part of his body in contact with his friend. In this way he can monitor Sammy’s reactions and sense when he is tense or has seen something. This is a quite brilliant idea and proves conclusively that cats are not necessary loners. Sammy seems to enjoy his new role and almost appears to be watching out for his buddy.
It is good job that the two stick together because my main problem with the situation is the fact that I can no longer call Caspar when I need him. I call Sam instead and Caspar invariably trots along behind him. On the rare occasions when they are apart I have a real job on my hands. Because he feels vulnerable, Caspar will seek out places where he feels more secure to hide away. His current favourite is on top of a chest of drawers underneath a hanging rail in my walk in wardrobe. Here is completely obscured from view and I have accidently shut him in there on several occasions. I now find that I don’t go anywhere without knowing where he is.
Even when Caspar is in the same room as me he still tries to find clever places to hide. Right now this is often the basket I use for my ironing. The high sides and soft clothes make the perfect bed and secure resting place. He has turned the thing into a feline moses basket and all of my clothes now come complete with Caspar fur.
Deaf cats are supposed to be kept indoors but I have three cats and a cat flap and so it would be impossible to prevent Caspar from roaming outside. He doesn’t leave the property without Sam anyway but he can be problematic when he is on the drive. When you start the car he has no idea and is often to be found sitting right in front of it oblivious to the fact that he is about to get run over. I always look for him but I am concerned about delivery vans.
Caspar has been deaf for some time now and so we have both learnt to adjust. He copes fairly well with the help of Sammy but it is sad nonetheless. He is more clingy and affectionate than ever and I am sorry that I can’t talk to him anymore but he certainly talks to me. He never used to meow at all but now he cries loudly all the time. Apparently this is common with deaf cats. Perhaps he thinks I am deaf too!
Sally Stacey is a writer and business owner who divides her time between writing and running her bridal shop