Deafness in female ginger cats?

(91 Posts)
TalkinPeace Wed 18-Dec-13 16:32:06

I have just 'acquired' an elderly ginger and white tabby cat.

She appears to be absolutely stone deaf - does not even react to tapping on the floor next to her.
Is this common or should I be looking for other symptoms?

I found her yesterday. She is a large framed cat but weighs under 2.5kg, so there may be issues linked to her starvation as well.
The vet checked her and there was nothing obvious but I am fostering her till her owner comes forward or I have to rehome her (have 2 other cats).

MrsDeVere Wed 18-Dec-13 16:35:11

Its been a long while since I worked professionally with animals but it was not something I was aware of.
Female gingers are rare so it may be part of a genetic issue.

She has been checked by the vet so that should rule out infection or anything nasty.

cozietoesie Wed 18-Dec-13 16:54:38

I'd reckon it to be more likely related to her age than anything else Talkin. Just how old is she?

Oh - and has she had a vet MOT recently?

cozietoesie Wed 18-Dec-13 16:55:05

Sorry - clean overlooked that vet check.

TalkinPeace Wed 18-Dec-13 17:01:41

The vet I know very well so tells it straight.

She is so underweight its hard to tell age - anything between 6 and 16
she has no muscle on her at all so looks very gaunt
am giving it a week for a proper health check

am MIGHTILY cross though because while rubbing her just now felt a collar mark in her fur
so her owners removed her collar before leaving an old deaf cat outside to starve to death
vet agreed with me that she would not have made it through last night if I'd left her in my garden.

with other cats metacam brought back hearing but this one is so weak I cannot tell if she's arthritic!

cozietoesie Wed 18-Dec-13 17:07:06

Dear Goodness - well done you for bringing her in. And anywhere between 6 and 16 is one heck of a range. Poor girl.

I had thought the vet might have been able to tell her age roughly from her dental state but if she's been badly treated and is in desperately poor shape that won't necessarily be a decent guide.

You really going to rehome her? wink

TalkinPeace Wed 18-Dec-13 17:12:17

It depends on the other cats - they take priority.
I'd love to - DH has wanted a ginger cat since his old cat died grin
but as she is deaf we'll need to see how it goes.
She may also have underlying health issues.
An interesting Christmas beckons!

cozietoesie Wed 18-Dec-13 17:36:10

Indeed - and best of luck. They may realize that she has an issue and treat her more gently than they otherwise would. Or she may be cranky once she gets some strength back. Who can tell?

At least she'll have a warm Xmas and a full belly.

Let us know how she gets on.

Or get hit by a car op, she wouldn't hear it coming would she? Or kids or dogs.

How awful for her.

How are your other cats taking it?

cozietoesie Thu 19-Dec-13 09:10:29

Yes indeed. Poor old thing. I'd guess it would make her very tentative about everything - inclined, say, to sit in a corner with her back against a wall just watching.

TalkinPeace Thu 19-Dec-13 11:50:22

She's improving by the minute.
Purrs lots, loves laps and combing, miaows as we came down this morning (felt floor vibration)
tried to stand on back legs as I gave her breakfast

currently strictly segregated from my two as until she's lasted a week and is pooing and washing we will not know

much glaring but no violence when her door is open and they can see her
she's very mellow

our garden is huge and the only way to the road is over a 6 foot gate that my other female never bothers with so if she does stay here she should be safe - old cat was deaf for five years

she still is too weak to walk more than a few feet .... time will tell

cozietoesie Thu 19-Dec-13 12:21:43

Excellent, Talkin. A good Xmas for her for once then, eh?

Glarings quite good. I bought a stray cat home once and mine went mental at it through the glass doors.

I wonder if they can tell she's ill.

TalkinPeace Thu 19-Dec-13 18:08:24

well we just had another stare off
I opened the door to her room and sat in the doorway to referee if needs be
both of ours had a good look at her but ambled off
I suspect that her eyesight is also very poor

but bowels and kidneys are OK

will keep watching but if she's not up to being out and about she won't be happy here long term.
BUT
she actually left part of a meal this afternoon so no longer physically starving

day at a time ....

FushandChups Fri 20-Dec-13 12:27:05

Aw Talkin - you're doing such a lovely thing and poor little Ginger cat (have you named her yet smile)

Hope she goes from strength to strength and share your anger at her previous owners... who does that?

cozietoesie Fri 20-Dec-13 12:37:21

Sadly, too many people. They adore the cute kitten, more or less tolerate the mature cat and then ignore or 'allow to find its own way' the elderly one with problems. Unutterably depressing. sad

TalkinPeace Fri 20-Dec-13 15:18:42

We have called her Zingiber - the latin word for ginger - shortened to Zing - the exact opposite of how she behaves!

Eyesight may well be a side effect of the starvation - she is certainly reacting more each day.
I'm leaving her door open so the other cats can visit but she is not inclined to come out - her back legs are still incredibly weak.

A friend had the very interesting thought that her owner may not actually know she is missing.
She's definitely been a house based cat
possibly if her owner is elderly and has been taken into a home or hospital, the cat got out and did not know how to fend for herself .

I've booked a vet appointment for after Christmas and will then decide whether she is strong enough to recover fully, whether she can stay here or what we do.

Looking at her frame, now that she moves around more, she is a BIG cat - full weight should be in the 6kg+ range - so she has a long long road to travel.

Try her on a small portion of frozen chicken livers, it's a cheap treat bursting with nutrients.

TalkinPeace Fri 20-Dec-13 16:33:39

fluffy
my freezer is rather full at the moment but I'll look at those
she eats anything
pouches
crunchies
pilchards
coley
mackerel
my only problem is the other two cats getting jealous!

cozietoesie Fri 20-Dec-13 17:09:58

I actually tried the chicken livers on Fluffy's recommendation - although I buy them fresh, freeze half and light roast half, and then put some of the cooked into the freezer as well for a couple of small treats. They go down very well with my old boy who is a desperately fussy eater. (Unlike Zing, it seems.)

How are your other two reacting to her with her door open?

TalkinPeace Fri 20-Dec-13 17:52:19

Its fascinating

I think Zing - when at full weight - is either used to being dominant or alone, so is utterly uninterested in the others unless they actually walk up to her box (she sleeps in it a lot) and then a single hiss gets them to back off
the other two are both low ranking (in the local area pecking order) so are giving her a wide berth.

Once she is strong enough to walk more than a few feet it may all change!

cozietoesie Fri 20-Dec-13 18:11:09

It may change indeed - but I think it's promising that they're deferring to her and that she's not interested in them other than warning them off. (I'm guessing, though, that she doesn't know they're around half the time? Being deaf and all.)

cozietoesie Fri 20-Dec-13 18:25:09

Sorry - I meant not knowing they're around at a specific point. She'll know they're around in general, of course, so the fact that she sleeps is promising indeed.

Probably sees you as her protector.smile

TalkinPeace Fri 20-Dec-13 18:40:35

She is so profoundly deaf that unless you tap her box she is unaware
walking next to it / running the washing machine 3 feet away / the noise of teenagers - nope
until she has seen you she has no idea you are there

and my son is her favourite - she gets out of her box for him fsmile

pigsDOfly Fri 20-Dec-13 20:04:50

I have a 19 and half year old ginger and white female and until a few years ago her hearing was fine OP.

She's so deaf now I can hoover right up to her and she'll just look at the hoover as if it's of no consequence.

I know white cats with blue eyes are almost always deaf, but I've never hear that ginger and whites have genetic hearing problems.

I also had her brother - had to be pts a year ago - he was entirely ginger and his hearing was also fine.

Lovely of you to take her in and give her a safe haven.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now