What Causes Deafness In Cats? Discover All You Need To Know

If you’re wondering what causes deafness in cats you’ve come to the right place. In this post you’ll discover everything you need to know about deafness in cats.

You’ll learn about some of the causes and what to look for. Plus, which cats are more at risk, and available treatments.

In addition, you’ll discover how you can help your feline friend enjoy a happy life despite her disability. Although there are no hearing aids for cats as yet, some have been developed for small dog breeds!

Whether you have an elderly cat or younger feline  keep reading as we discover common causes of deafness..

Age Related Deafness 

Just like elderly humans, cats can experience a loss of hearing. This is usually a gradual decline with subtle signs at first.

For example, your cat may start ignoring you when you call her name. She’s not deliberately ignoring you.  Although some cats have selective hearing lol!

You may also find your cat meows louder. This is similar to an elderly person shouting or talking very loud!

Only responding to you when you’re in sight is another sign to watch for. She may jump on your lap for a cuddle, or walk up to you for petting if she sees you. 

If you suspect your senior feline is deaf it’s safer to keep her indoors. This is because she’s at greater risk of being hit by a car, or targeted by other cats.

Medical Causes Of Deafness In Cats

Medical Causes Of Deafness In Cats

While old age isn’t considered a medical cause of deafness, the following may cause your cat to suffer hearing loss. Of course age isn’t always a factor with medical conditions.

Blocked EarCanal

A blockage in one of your cat’s ear canals will result in loss of hearing. This could be a build up of wax, inflammation, or damage to the delicate bones inside your cat’s ear.

Your vet will do a careful examination to look for any problems. These may include X-rays or even imaging.

If it turns out your cat has a blockage in her ear, this would normally be treatable. Once it’s removed, your cat’s hearing would recover.

Ear Mites

Ear mites are one of the most common ear problems in cats and easily treated.  If left however, it could result in hearing loss.

You can just about see these tiny creatures with the naked eye. They appear as tiny white dots inside the ear. 

If ear mites are the cause of your cat’s deafness the vet will prescribe drops. Then hopefully, your cat’s hearing will return to normal.


Ear tumors in cats are more commonly found inside the external ear canal rather than deep within the ear. This means if your vet finds a tumor in many cases it’s treatable.

Even if it’s cancerous and caught early chances of recovery are usually good. You’ll be reassured to know if your cat is under 5 years old, she’ll be more likely to have benign tumors. 

These are commonly found to be small polyps that become inflamed. Treatment may include surgery and anti-inflammatory drops.

Ruptured Eardrum 

Apart from loss of hearing, if your cat has a ruptured eardrum there’d be other symptoms such as discharge or your cat would seem dizzy and disoriented. Ruptured eardrums can be caused by trauma or loud noise

Deafness In White Cats

Deafness In White Cats

White cats are genetically prone to deafness. If your cat is a long hair breed with blue eyes, she’s at an even greater risk of being deaf.

Blue eyed cats that aren’t white also have a greater chance of being deaf. Even if your cat has one blue and one green or amber eye, she could still develop deafness.

There’s no cure for genetically inherited deafness, but your cat won’t know anything different. Just like people, they adapt to any disability.

How To care For Your Deaf Cat

Whether your cat acquired deafness,was born deaf, or has age related deafness she’ll learn to adapt.

Cats have amazing senses and if one fails they can easily compensate with another. In fact, sometimes it’s hard to tell if a cat is deaf.

Remember, if your cat can’t hear, she won’t know. Unless your cat is very old she’ll probably be just as playful and loving as any other cat.

As she can’t hear you call her name or rattle a box of treats, you’ll need to stand in front of her. I know this sounds obvious, but it’s easy to forget!

A deaf cat can easily be startled. This is an important point to consider, especially if you approach your cat from behind.

You may also find your cat has a greater sense of vibration. Stomping the floor may still catch her attention even if she can’t hear.

Touch is a sense all cats enjoy, so petting your deaf cat offers reassurance and love.

In addition, cats have a powerful sense of smell.  In fact your cat has over two hundred million odor sensors in her nose.

This is astounding when you realize humans only have around five million! This is why your cat sniffs everything that comes into your home!

IAs well as being deaf, your cat is also long sighted. This makes it all the more important for her to rely on her sense of smell. 

As mentioned previously, deaf cats are very vulnerable in the outside world. If you live near a main road with a deaf cat it’s far safer to keep her inside.

You could always build a catio if you have enough outside space. Alternatively, cat proof fencing is a great solution if your garden is large enough.

However, if you live in an apartment with no access to a garden, a cat tree placed near a window would be great.

Best Toys For Deaf Cats

what causes deafness in cats-Best Toys For Deaf Cats

Living in a silent world can be a lonely experience. By providing your deaf kitty with a few stimulating toys you’ll brighten her world.

Self rotating balls with lights can make a fun toy for your cat. Even though she won’t hear it approach, she’ll definitely see the flashing light. 

This will  get her moving and off the couch! 

Feather wands are great for all cats, but especially if hard of hearing as it stimulates sense of touch. It also wakes up your cat’s natural hunting instinct!

Soft toys like stuffed mice or other animals give your kitty something to cuddle. This can be comforting to a deaf cat living in a silent world.

Laser pointers are excellent toys for cats with hearing loss. You can find many different types, some with additional functions such as mini flashlights.

Think about growing a tub of cat grass in your home. It’s really easy to grow from seed and gives your cat something to chew. 

As well as being packed with nutrients, cat grass provides environmental enrichment. Your cat will enjoy the scent of fresh grass, and you could even add a few oat and wheat seeds as well.

Adopting A Deaf Cat

If you decide to adopt a cat that’s deaf be prepared for a noisy companion!  As previously mentioned, deaf cats often have loud meows. 

In addition, she won’t hear something drop if she knocks it over. While this may not seem like a big deal, it could become annoying.

While cats with normal hearing would be startled by the noise, your cat won’t.  As a result, she may start deliberately pushing things of shelves and see it as a fun game!

Final Thoughts 

deafness in cats

Now you know what causes deafness in cats, I hope it’s given you a better understanding of your feline friend. Whether your cat developed hearing problems or was born deaf, she will adapt.

Unlike loss of a limb deafness is a hidden disability. She’ll be just as vulnerable though.

Not being able to hear approaching cars or other animals can be very dangerous.

This is why many shelters and vets recommend you keep deaf cats indoors.  It needn’t reduce quality of life providing you give your cat plenty of things to do.

Providing plenty of toys as well as scratching posts and a cat tree gives your cat an enriching environment.  Although your cat won’t know she’s deaf she’ll still be living in a silent world.

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Also, if you have any questions or would like to share experiences, leave a comment below.

Wishing you a purrfect day


2 thoughts on “What Causes Deafness In Cats? Discover All You Need To Know”

  1. “Cats have amazing senses and if one fails they can easily compensate with another. In fact, sometimes it’s hard to tell if a cat is deaf”

    This made me brighten up. Was a little saddening reading about what causes their deafness and how vulnerable they can be, but I liked that you provided many solid alternatives to make living with them quite enjoyable. By the time I finished your post, a cat going deaf didn’t seem like such a sad sad thing anymore.

    I was a little surprised about the odor sensors though. I always thought they had a better sense of smelling than humans. This is pretty close anyway.


    • Hi Femi, yes, cats have amazingly powerful senses, so if one fails they can easily compensate. Just as people adapt to disabilities so do cats. I must apologise for my typo with regard to sense of smell. I’ve since corrected it! A cats sense of smell is way greater than that of a human with over two hundred million odor sensors! Thanks for stopping by:)


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