in training/raising a deaf cat.
cats must be indoor only cats. They are helpless against dogs, coyotes, cars,
kids, etc. because of the lack of hearing. Working with a deaf cat requires
patience, common sense and consistency. When they trust you, they make a
loving and adorable pet. It is very rewarding to work with them and see
the results. They seem to crave physical contact and adore petting and lap
sitting when older. Each of our deaf cats became a loving and sweet pet no
matter how wild at the start.
deaf cats, you must use visual, food or
physical cues to encourage good behavior and to discourage bad behavior. Deaf
cats are very oriented to visual (movement, lights), much more so than other
cats. This seems obvious but it takes some effort to always remember that
when working with a deaf cat.
They can’t hear your voice so cannot get clues from your tone.
It must be what they can see and feel.
Food and petting work wonders.
cats are easily startled, by other animals and people, and can tend to swat and
spit (especially when new to the home) because they are frightened. Be patient.
If you think about it, it must seem like everything "jumps out at
them". Once a deaf cat trusts you, it will not be frightened if
you touch them “from out of the blue". Hearing cats or dogs will
simply learn to not surprise the deaf kitty. If you have a tolerant older
cat, your deaf cat may begin to follow the hearing cat around and sleep with
him. This pairing will work enormous benefits and help the deaf cat will
be less easily startled.
out a favorite treat, like kitty pounces, that you can keep handy in a couple
rooms or carry in a pocket. This is for instant rewards (you can
phase this out over time). Also, decide on consistent hand signals the
whole family will use. Try exaggerated shaking of the index finger for
"BAD", twinkling fingers at knee level for "come", and
pointing at floor (kind of stab at the floor so they see the downward hand
motion) for "GET DOWN". But use what works for you.
swat the deaf cat with your hand (exception for nipping/scratching below).
Use a kitchen towel or lightly rolled newspaper if you have to and only if
necessary (like up on the wood stove or range or squabbling with another cat).
They have to associate your hands with pets and food only with the exception of
deaf cat can seem more “rowdy”. Deaf cats don't hear the
"crash" so they have a hard time learning not to tip things over.
If a hearing cat tips something over, they are frightened by the sound.
The deaf cat is only frightened if something actually falls on HIM/HER. If
something does fall it is only INTERESTING MOVEMENT. Remember they
are visual. Deaf cats like things they can SEE, FEEL and SMELL. They
like catnip but some cats get too crazy from it. They like bags because
they can feel the crinkle. Give him lots of toy mice and things that move
or sparkle (safely sparkle - no sequins!).
scratching post use by placing the cat on or by post and giving pets or treats.
Rub the post with catnip to attract. If you see your cat using the
scratching post give a treat every time until cat is good about using it and not
destructive behavior (furniture scratching), if you can reach the cat, pick it
up and place it on floor. Keep repeating – they will learn they don’t belong
there. Or use a gentle swat with a kitchen towel or lightly rolled
newspaper, not a "whap or sling shot" just a light swish on the butt.
This works because you can carry it with you or place the item in various rooms
(works well if you catch him trying to break into the garbage under the sink -
just give it a little swish and one surprised cat will scamper off). OR, if
your house can tolerate it a toy water pistol will also work VERY well for cats
that don't like water - nothing like a squirt from out of no where to
discourage table walking, cupboard raiding or couch scratching. They will
not associate it with you but with what he is doing. It can work very well and
(You don't need the super soaker). Every cat is different.
him to come by stomping the floor for vibration or use a flash light or pen
light to get his attention, than twinkle fingers at knee level (he will be
attracted to the motion). When he comes always pet and/or give him a treat.
Wean out the treat and he will still always come for a pet. ALWAYS reward your
deaf cat with a quick pet if he comes to you.
and scratching problems:
If the deaf cat is over excited immediately, but gently, grab him by the
scruff of the neck. He probably can't hook you then. If tiny enough
to safely lift, lift the kitten up. If he is bigger just grab the scruff and
gently "pin" for a moment. This is what "momma kitty"
would do. Either lifting him up or while gently pining (and you will have
a very startled kitty the first time - he will probably "freeze")
shake your finger at him and make sure he can see you. Deaf cats watch
your face and will learn to associate facial expressions - both happy and not
happy. Place the cat on ground and because he was biting or scratching, do
not pay attention to him until he is behaving. He will probably run off. Make
sure you act quickly, firmly and don’t hang on to him more than a second or
two. Do not shake. Be calm but firm, just enough so he gets the
picture. This is a physical "NO" and should be short. As soon as
you can afterward (if you see him playing with a toy or sitting quietly) REWARD
him for good behavior with a pet or treat. If he comes back to you
pet him for reassurance.
Remember – the behavior is bad – not the cat!
your cat nips:
GENTLY tap his nose with one finger. Just
one quick gentle tap. If seriously biting, you can do the scruff of the neck
thing. Trade a nip for a gentle nose tap with one finger and shake your finger
at him. If he calms down, pet him and let him sit on your lap and be sure
you are nonchalant (no big deal equals "I didn't get a reaction so waste of
time"). If he continues to nip put him on the floor. He may swat at your
finger but put him down. Only good cats get to lap sit. Deaf cats love attention
so they quickly learn if they want attention they have to be good.
you get him settled own, if he digs his claws in kneading or otherwise, same
thing. Tap his paw and continue petting or just ignore him and let him sit
on you or beside you. If he repeats, don't pet for a minute or two. Then he
has a chance to realize he is being petted if he is well behaved. He will learn
to quit kneading and biting if he doesn't get attention.
for and reward as often as possible for GOOD behavior. Make a point if your deaf
cat is playing in a bag or with a toy on the floor or curled up in the
window - if you pass by and he is doing APPROPRIATE things or is where he SHOULD
be stop and give a little pet, throw his mouse, and/or dish out a
treat. He will get the drift real quick. It is the opposite of handling a
hearing dog or cat where you can ignore them if they are where they should be.
Lots and lots of petting will teach him to like being where he is supposed to be
and doing what he is supposed to be doing. Being good will become a habit. Work
with your cat - it will not be long before the deaf cat will understand.
have short attention spans. Secret weapon: distraction! Kitty on the
mantle knocking over things? Grab scruff, shake finger and make stern
face. Place on floor and substitute cat toy. When play with toy occurs, REWARD.
You want to teach kitty that BAD kitty is on mantle/table, etc., GOOD
kitty is on the floor. Be patient. It does work.
gets a little older, If you are going to TRAIN to get down, approach cat on
table or whatever and make down motion. Then place on floor. THEN
give a treat and a quick pet. Sounds odd but works. They associate
pointing at the floor with reward. My older cats jump down on signal. I give a
little pat on the head and everyone is happy.
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