As many of you may already know, our own Maxwell (the handsome cat you see here to the right) came to us completely deaf.
We were actually a bit surprised to learn from Petfinder that some people think deaf pets are less intelligent than hearing animals.
Or that they need some kind of hearing companion to function.
In fact, we've found Maxwell to be the most inquisitive of all our cats. He was the first to discover how to open drawers and cabinet doors (and promptly teach Faraday how to do it too!).
He's always right there when Marty has some kind of home project going on - the more mechanical (or in the image below, electrical!) the better.
As Petfinder says, "deaf pets are just as intelligent as hearing pets. They make great only pets or do well with other animals in the home..."
We could not agree more - and we find it saddening that people might avoid adopting these special animals because of a misconception like this.
|(electricity was OFF, and Max |
gave out lots of advice!)
We thank Petfinder for bringing the "less adoptable" nature of deaf animals to the forefront this week.
Another thing we'd like to point out is Petfinder's warning: "The only real caveat in adopting a deaf pet is that it should never be allowed to roam freely outdoors unless it is in a securely fenced enclosure, since they cannot hear cars or other dangers approaching."
We can't emphasize this point enough. Maxwell never ever goes out.
And if you need a visual aid as to why, just take a look at how Maxie reacts to the "danger" of an oncoming vacuum cleaner in the video below.
Notice he doesn't react to it at all - until he sees it out of the corner of his eye. Had he been outside, and that been a car - he would not have made it.
Petfinder also debunked the myth that a deaf pet "needs" a hearing companion to function successfully.
"Deaf animals bark, meow, whinny, and make all the regular sounds their hearing counterparts make," Petfinder writes. "They can be taught sign language commands and are fully trainable."
We can attest to that. Maxie functions just fine inside the home, thank you very much!
And he has the very cutest little "meep". True, it's highly unusual sound for such a vocal breed as Siamese. But it's too darned cute!
And yes, they can be taught sign language.
Though we must warn you...in teaching a deaf cat sign language, be prepared for him to ignore you when you say "no" - just like all hearing cats do!
2013 Update: Many of you already know this, but about the time Maxie turned a year old, he had surgery that partially restored his hearing in one ear (the other will never be restored since he has no eardrum in it!).
We're not sure what he hears and what he doesn't. Maxie's other senses are so highly developed that he'll respond to a garage door opener - feeling its vibration - before either other cat responds to its sound. That, incidentally, is one reason it can be so difficult to diagnose a cat as being deaf in a shelter environment!
The one thing we do know is that the hearing is monaural - and because of that, whatever he does pick up, he can't determine where it's coming from. Just yesterday I saw him look in every direction but the source of my voice when I called to him.
(Yet another reason to keep him inside all the time: if a cat cannot tell the direction of a potential danger, such as a car.)
If you ever do see photos on this blog of Maxwell outside, it's because I happened to have a camera close by when he managed to make a dash for freedom. I assure you, those photos were taken while we're trying to coax him back out from underneath the bushes then escorting him right back inside, pronto!