Thursday, September 27, 2012

Deaf Pet Awareness Week



As you know, our own Maxwell (the handsome cat on the right hand side of our header) came to us completely deaf.

So of course, we couldn't let this week pass without acknowledging that this is Deaf Pet Awareness week.

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.

(electricity was OFF, and Max gave out lots of advice!)
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.

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!


25 comments:

  1. Great post!!! We never noticed anything different about Doc due to his being deaf. Though we think he did has a strange fascination with the Dyson (how could he LIKE that thing?). We have heard some people say that deaf cats can be louder than a typical cat since they can't hear themselves, but again, Doc never was overly loud. :)

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    1. We wonder sometimes if it isn't the vibration that causes deaf cats to be fascinated by vacuum cleaners. Our other one doesn't cause Maxie to run like the big one with the scary light on it!

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  2. Happy Deaf Pet Awareness Week Maxie! BTW - I use sign language with my cats (the kind I see many drivers using), but they ignore me too! ;-)

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  3. What a great idea and post. Have a terrific Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

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  4. Great post! We think Maxwell is so handsome.

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  5. Great article. People should give hearing impaired anipals a chance too. You just have to learn to work with them a little differently.

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    1. We hope this encourages at least one person to consider adopting a deaf pet. Maxwell really is precious to me - I kiss his ears every day, just thankful that we have him.

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  6. We hope lots of people read this post and realize that deaf animals are just as great a companion as their hearing friends and should not be prejudiced against. :)

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    1. Thanks guys! Maxwell is an especially loving guy - but that would have been regardless of his hearing condition. That's just his sweet personality!

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  7. Great post....animals are so amazing - they adapt to situations including disabilities easier than humans many times from what I've seen and read. You've got to admire that wonderful spirit that animals have! They love us and we love them no matter what. This was a great reminder that all animals are capable of the gift of love regardless of age, health, or disability.

    Pam (and Sam)

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    1. We think so too! Maxwell surely seems more tactile with his paws and more alert than the others, and we've always attributed it to his hearing impairment.

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  8. Humans are very vocal creatures and don't realize that we kitties aren't big on audio communication - smell is way more important to us, and we will communicate with each other by looks, subtle ear movements and body language. Hearing is more useful for sensing danger or stalking prey - indoor kitties don't need the latter, and the former, as you already noted, is why deaf kitties especially need to be inside always. I can tell Maxwell does just fine!

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    1. EXACTLY! Why are we not surprised that Sparkle has her paw precisely on the important part of this issue?! :-)

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  9. Maxwell is blessed to have caregivers who understand his deafness doesn't limit what he can do - except when it comes to his own safety. All cats are safer inside, but it's especially true for Maxwell. I think our relationships with our pets are even stronger when there's something special we need to take into consideration in order to give them the best life they can have.

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    1. Aw, thanks! We think we're the blessed ones! And we agree - not that we don't adore Allie & the Brat, but there's just something special about Maxie. Maybe it's the long battle getting him well when we first adopted him. We've been through a lot, Maxie and me - and that bond is stronger for it!

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  10. Thanks for the info about deaf cats! We can see that being deaf doesn't stop Maxwell!

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  11. Don't tell the others....but we think Maxwell is SMARTER than hearing cats!
    ; ) Katie

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    1. Maxwell: Katie, I knew you were a discriminating girlcat!

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  12. Great post! We're glad Maxwell has such an understanding and loving family. Our angel cat, Graphite, lost his hearing later in life and he adjusted so amazingly well. He was extra curious, smart and even learned hand signals. :)

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  13. Most people had no idea my Sally was deaf. But I happen to know that deaf cats have special sensibilities, perhaps extra-sensory, as I'm sure Maxwell does, but all their other senses are even more keen than the usual cat's.

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  14. And people claim they can think!?!
    Maxwell is such a cutie =^.^=
    Lots of purrs to y'all

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Coolio! A comment? For US?