You may have fallen in love with your new kitty at first sight -- while also wondering why he doesn't seem to respond to household noises, birds chirping, or even your own voice. This quirk of behavior may not be mere aloofness; it may actually be a condition called cat congenital sensorineural deafness. Let's take a look at this not-uncommon situation to understand why it occurs, how genetic factors play a role in it, and what you can do to keep your deaf cat as safe and happy as possible.
Causes of Feline Deafness
- Conductive deafness - This kind of deafness stems from problems with the structures in the ear that relay vibrations through the ear canal. An ear infection of ear canal blockage may cause temporary deafness. Serious damage to the eardrum or the delicate bones inside the ear can cause sudden, permanent deafness.
- Sensorineural deafness - This kind of deafness involves the hair-like nerve cells and other neural structures that send vibrations to the brain or even the brain itself, which interprets these signals as sound. Excessive exposure to loud noise, a head injury, or drugs that are toxic to nerve cells can all cause sensorineural deafness. In the case of congenital sensorineural deafness, cats are born with neural defects that make hearing in one or both ears impossible.