Deafness in female ginger cats?(91 Posts)
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).
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.
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?
Sorry - clean overlooked that vet check.
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!
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?
It depends on the other cats - they take priority.
I'd love to - DH has wanted a ginger cat since his old cat died
but as she is deaf we'll need to see how it goes.
She may also have underlying health issues.
An interesting Christmas beckons!
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
she actually left part of a meal this afternoon so no longer physically starving
day at a time ....
Aw Talkin - you're doing such a lovely thing and poor little Ginger cat (have you named her yet )
Hope she goes from strength to strength and share your anger at her previous owners... who does that?
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.
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.
my freezer is rather full at the moment but I'll look at those
she eats anything
my only problem is the other two cats getting jealous!
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?
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!
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.)
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.
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
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.
Out of interest, pigs. Does she choose to stay indoors nowadays?
Cozie, yes she mainly stay in doors now.
I have a small enclosed garden now and from time to time she'll go outside to pee. In the summer she would lie in the sun but now it's cold she's in most of the time.
She's not in good health now, having recently been diagnosed with a very large tumour on her kidneys, apart from a couple of long term health issues, so we're really playing a waiting game at the moment. But all the time I feel she has a decent quality of life we press on. My vet has been telling me it could be any time for about a month now but she's very strong and, as I say, still has a good quality of life. Apart from being very thin she's not displaying any symptoms really, no vomiting or lack of appetite and she's still very affectionate and loving and vocal.
She can be a bit clumsy with her weeing and sometimes misses the litter tray and I've just added a third litter tray to our collection as she settled in a new place to wee. I'm finding puppy pads around the litter trays invaluable.
Sorry that's so long. Several times I've almost posted on here about her as it makes me very sad to see her going downhill like this.
19 and a half is an old girl. You're all doing well with (and by) her.
(Sorry for the slight hijack, Talkin.)
Oh goodness yes, I rather got carried away once I started typing. So sorry for the hijack Talkin.
Goodness- I doubt Talkin minds much. Her Zing sounds very similar to your girl with the hearing issue.
Yes it does sound as if she's got an older cat there with the hearing loss. Can't say it seems to have affected my girl much. She's always been a bit of a talker, she's just got a bit louder since she can't hear herself.
hijack welcome, and useful to hear about another similar cat.
I'm hoping that Zing will learn to go outside with the other two cats as I hate litter trays - at the moment she's not strong enough to walk to the back door but every day she is improving for now.
Interestingly she now seems to be more aware of people moving around - footstep vibration - so it may be that the starvation had shut down a lot of her systems and some might come back
eyesight is definitely getting better now she's had some protein
and the fact that she is leaving food in her bowl is (to me anyway) a really positive sign.
So she's walking just a little bit now?
she happily walks around her room and came out into the kitchen for a few minutes yesterday but back legs are very wobbly
front end is firming up and her fur is looking better
but her shoulders are still 'sharp' because there is no muscle bulk at all
I think it will be several weeks before she can even think about jumping
her door stays open most of the time now so I can judge whether she'll get on with the other cats
and I suspect that when she is hungry she'll miraculously make it out to demand food
Well that's great considering she was near death the other night. She must be a real survivor.
My cat is a ginger boy. I clearly need to read up on their little issues.
I hope Zing has a lovely Christmas with you all. TIP.
have added a picture of her to my profile - taken after she'd had three meals ....
will get one of her standing up in a day or so :-)
Oh Gosh - the old girl does look rough.
I see what you mean about her being potentially a big cat.
Thanks for being understanding Talkin.
She does look rough in your photo. Her coat look very poor. Funnily enough from what I can see of her her white markings are identical to my girl.
Look forward to seeing more pictures as she improves and fills out.
I've just uploaded a picture taken this evening
still very limited use of back legs
but other systems are starting to work better
still deaf, but better at sensing vibration so beginning to be aware of what else is going in the house
Bless her. She's lovely. You're a good 'un, OP .
I have a ginger girl. She's the sweetest cat ever.
She looks massively better. She's actually rather a good looking cat, Talkin.
PS - has she been grooming herself only or did she get an assist from you?
Oh she looks so much better. Well done you.
we have brushed along her spine - because that is hard for all older cats to reach - but other than that I'm leaving her to it
if nothing else the unwashed patches will be evidence of pain
bowels are still very variable, but her litter tray use is impeccable
its quite interesting to observe because normally cats as thin and tired looking as her are on their way downhill but this one has the chance of going uphill
She sounds like a pet who was traded in for a 'newer model'.
Well done her.
I give Seniorboy a daily groom, partly because he has arthritis and is a bit stiff to reach his back and partly because he adores the attention. There's no shame in it at all and she really does look hugely improved.
my kids reckon her last owner died, she ate him, then went hungry and has now moved in with us as her next targets
(teenagers are such sweet things)
Poor old thing. At least she is being cared for now.
One slight point though, just because she has a collar mark now doesn't mean that it has been taken off recently. We have used collars off and on for our cats but none of them have had them at all for about 5 years now but they all still have collar marks.
Stupid question probably but I presume the vet checked for a microchip?
Yes, I took her to my normal vet the afternoon I found her - in case she needed to be put to sleep right away.
She has been reported missing through all the correct channels
fear not - if her owner is looking for her they will find her.
Oh, she does look so much better. She is gorgeous.
She's such a handsome cat. How are the other cats taking it?
They are unimpressed but she is still so incredibly weak that her hisses are a bit meaningless
I gave all three of them coley tonight so they all luff me
They are all pretty much ignoring each other - which is actually as good as I could hope in the circumstances!
That's not bad at all because if ever I saw a boss cat, she's one. They'll likely have recognized that by the time she's healthier.
Well, she's been here a week so legally she is ours.
A silly question
She still gets very distressed when being picked up.
Once up - and draped over a shoulder - she purrs, but the lifting bit clearly gives her distress.
I've never had a cat that has been this ill before.
Is it linked to the starvation or should I be on the lookout for something else?
My instinct is that the lack of muscle on her abdomen means her ribs rub against her organs etc ...
She is now washing from head to foot BTW
Many cats don't like being picked up - and I think her recent troubles may have exacerbated that. You just can't tell right now whether she has something wrong inside, I think. I'd just let her make all the running; and sit on the floor with your back against something so that she can eg come on lap without jumping.
Excellent news about the washing from head to foot. That's a real sign she's improving.
I'm so used to my other two being happy picked up (and my several previous ones) , and I want her to feel more secure in the rest of the house
but you have reminded me it is only a week since she was nearly dead
I'll let her progress at her own pace
By the way - looking at that latest picture, I've slightly rethought my estimate of her age. I think I'd put her at around 13 or 14. (Further refinements may come with more pics.) I'd be interested to see what the vet has to say. on her next visit.
Shall she be having some festive dinner tomorrow?
she - and the other cats - will get all sorts of leftovers tomorrow
I'm waiting for a good weather day so I can get a pic of her sunbathing in the kitchen with the other two!
Vet is booked for Friday so more may become clear then :-)
My cat whinges like hell when you pick him up, unless its to his advantage eg I'm rescuing him and then it's fine
My newish cat still doesn't like us touching her unless she is fully happy. She is only 1 and is suspect she has been abused. It is all a case of taking it at their pace. This is all new to us too as my previous cast came to me at 5 weeks and I knew her as well as I know my children. You are doing a great job. She is very lucky to have found you.
Well done for taking her in OP. Brilliant to hear how she's progressing, and I can really see the difference between the two photos. One thing that is worrying me is her being allowed outside again - if she came into rescue we would only ever allow her to go to a indoor/ cat proofed garden home. It is just far too unsafe for deaf cats to be allowed outside so please reconsider your hopes to do this.
My old cat was deaf for the last 4 years of his life and was absolutely fine.
I've taken in cats from a rescue centre and I'm afraid my thoughts on their unerstanding of healthy cats are unprintable.
I'll go with the guidance from my vet and my knowledge of having owned cats into old age over the last 27 years.
There is absolutely no way I'm having litter trays for years to come.
She will learn to have part of the garden as her territory, as each of the other cats do.
By the time the spring comes round she'll be strong enough to cope.
Bear in mind this is a cat who is still so weak that she cannot get onto a chair or up a flight of stairs.
She'll get her microchip tomorrow so that if she does decide to go out the cat flap can get back in.
Not that she seems to care, she sat and sniffed it, clearly knew what it was and knew that out there was the land of cold and hungry so retreated back to her bed by the boiler!
Are you seeing any improvement in her strength?
Looking forward to the report after tomorrow's vet visit. I'll bet they didn't expect to see her again in the land of the living.
Well she's microchipped and vaccinated : and in a right snot with a sore neck!
But she'd put on 300g in 10 days - which is more than 10% of body weight.
Vet was very impressed and has approximately aged her at 12 - based on teeth, claws, eyelids, scarring and hips
I've not taken many pics lately as she's still pretty darned lazy.
Back legs are still very weak but now I do not have to shut her in her little room at night she can roam and strengthen up.
Last night she watched the other two playing with a laser pointer - so all three within a few feet of each other - a tad of hissing but no more.
we're getting there !
You are making excellent progress. Do you think you'll keep her?
Of course she will!
I'll go with 12. Seems about right.
NOW - have you named her?
Yup, I think we are stuck with her now
her microchip gives her the name we picked before Christmas - Zing short for Zingiber
and she's down as being DSs cat as that is who she loves!
as soon as there are good photo ops I'll take some pictures and post them.
Lordy - I clean forgot.
Does she answer to Zing yet?
no because deaf !
but do not call her late for lunch
starting to react to a tap on the floor or the sound of her (different from other cats) food bowl being moved
I suspect the deafness is age related but was made much worse by the starvation : she was well into major organ shutdown by the time I found her.
she went to look at the stairs just now. decided to try that one in a while!
I reckon you have a chance with that name - despite her deafness. It has a good percussive quality if enunciated properly.
Good luck with her.
She can still hear absolutely nothing - clapping hands behind her head, banging on the floor etc
I've noticed as she's up and about much more that the arthritis in her back legs is really bad - she's still made no attempt to get onto any furniture or climb the stairs
so when she goes back to the vet shortly I'll get a bottle of metacam and see if that helps on the hearing as well
Poor zing. Would a hot water bottle soothe her joints?
the rug in front of the woodburner this afternoon seemed to work ok!
don't have a hot water bottle
when the house gets peaceful in the next day or two I'll try her with a lap!
I'd be wondering about her having really bad arthritis simply because (if I recall) you said her tray use was good and that's often where it shows. If anything, I'd be inclined towards some continuing general weakness from starvation and muscle loss allied to wanting to stay downstairs - maybe because she knows you have other cats around and is happiest where she now feels the most confident.
Interesting to see what the vet says when she goes. I wonder how much weight she's put on now?
the vet has given me a 2 week prescription of NSAIDs
if they work we will pick a long term strategy when she goes in for her jabs in a fortnight
if they don't we know its not arthritis
the stairs may just be that she used to live in a flat so they do not mean anything to her
the lack of climbing on furniture I do find odd
then again we've had lots of house guests for the last week so quiet corners were few and far between.
She's getting fussy on eating which I take to be a good sign
Good luck with her anyway. As a cat who was recently nearly dead, she could have so many things potentially wrong with her (both causing and caused by her recent existence) that I don't think you'll necessarily be able to tell for a little bit.
Let us know how she gets on - and whether she starts coming to lap!
A Quick update on Zing ....
she's been on arthritis pills for nine days and has stopped dragging her back toes and can thrash her tail.
Still absolutely no interest in "up" - either furniture or stairs
but happily climbs onto a lap if we sit on the floor.
My current concern is that she wees a lot, tray of Catsan soaked every day
I suspect this is kidneys
which will have been exacerbated by the starvation
she's on wet pouches only - no dry food
but has no pain weeing - hops into the tray lets rip, wanders off
so, a couple of questions
Are the non prescription joint care things worth their money - and please drops not pills ?
And what are the best tactics to manage damaged kidneys?
She's currently asleep on the floor having found the warm bit that has central heating pipes under it in sight of the woodburner
She sounds happy, eh?
I've got Seniorboy on NSAIDs for arthritis - a liquid that you add once a day to his food and he's been absolutely fine with those in conjunction with some mild twice daily laxative.
The problem is that NSAIDs (if that's what you're talking about) themselves have the potential for renal damage. Seniorboy's kidneys are holding up at the moment, after a year and a half, and I've taken the view that I'd rather let him have some good months without pain than maybe (but not certainly) a bit longer with sore bones and having poo accidents.
But if she's already got impaired renal function? I think that's a vet one at her probable age. What did her bloods tell you ? (I forget.)
not had bloods done yet - thats on next weeks list with the second batch of her kitten boosters (yes really)
Quite right - if in doubt, vaccinate.
Maybe wait and see what the bloods say then and discuss with the vet?
(I've been pretty pleased with the effect of the NSAIDs and laxatives on Seniorboy. He has no real pooing and moving difficulties now and is doing pretty well given that he spends a lot of time on his electric blanket. To be expected in this weather, I guess. Costs me a smidge under £40 a month from the vet - together with a face to face consult for him at least every 6 months so that I can order the meds without seeing the vet. (Their prescription policy.))
Ah, I must admit with Old Cat I got a £6 prescription from the vet and then got the drugs from PetDrugsOnline - saved loads
There's that option of course and with an extra and elderly mouth to feed unexpectedly, it might be a good option for you. I generally don't mind my vet making a little bit of a profit on the meds because it seems to come off the other end - eg I'm rarely charged, or charged the full rate, for a consult and they try to fit Seniorboy in at pretty short notice if he's a bit poorly.
I've been using the same vet for 25 years. DD did work experience there
but they admit that the economies of scale do impact on costs
the vet buy in 24 of each pill and pay a manufacturers premium
the websites deal by the thousand
and I'm more than happy to pay the hourly fees
appointments have never been impacted by my choice
its also that the vet knew that if I'd not been an experienced cat owner they would have had the costs / decision after I dropped her off
it was made clear that ANY rescue place would have put her down on the spot because she's so ill
then again had a belter hissing fit (three way) tonight - did them all good!
Of course economies of scale will impact on price. I'm not averse to using internet purchases at all because these days, anything that can keep costs for companion animals' treatment down is to be welcomed - so the fact that I use my vet is neither here nor there really.
You're doing a great thing taking the old girl in and loving/treating her when she was so near death. Worst case (if she does have a serious renal problem) she'll have had a happy few sunset months, eh?
I'm utterly open with the kids and myself and DH that she will stay with us while she has a quality of life ....
watching her do the "dropped from a plane" look in front of the woodburner this afternoon was wonderful
she purrs, mews and makes no attempt to depart (full catflap access)
and does seem interested in what we are doing
and coped well with DH crashing an RC helicopter into her last night
my toss up is whether to go with my (prescription) instinct is worth it over and above the "supplement" purchases
I'd wait and see what the blood results are and discuss with the vet - as they're only a week away. I use supplements myself (albeit guardedly and after much research) and I've got Seniorboy on daily l-lysine for his residual cat flu (again after research because the vet wasn't up on that) but I think much will depend on how her innards are actually doing. The copious peeing doesn't sound great but her attitude to life most certainly does. Has she put on any weight?
I'd guess another 300g : so another 10% in 10 days
she's a BIG cat
and her shoulders and skull no longer feel sharp
I put a load of pics on FB but I'm hoping she'll get into a sunny patch for an updated pic because she is beautiful
That is good. And also suggests that any renal problems aren't quite as bad as all that. (Only suggests mind you.)
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