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Have you discovered that your cat is blind, deaf, or even both? While these afflictions will change the life of your cat, they do not mean that they cannot feel affection and love from you. Or give it back in return!
Training them to do the things they need to know to feel safe and confident in who they are is entirely possible. The way you train will depend on how long you’ve had them and whether they were always blind, deaf, or both. If your cat has been this way since birth, they may find it easier to adjust than a feline who is losing these senses due to illness, age, or disease.
Either way, letting your kitty know they can trust you to keep them safe while they train is important. Shower them with love and patience, and the training sessions will be just fine for you and for your blind deaf cat.
Your cat will depend a lot on the senses they have left: taste, smell, and touch. It may take some getting used to for you, that your cat cannot hear you call to them or see you smiling at them as you enter a room. But with your loving attention to keep them safe, your cat will learn their favorite human will take care of them.
How to know your cat is going deaf or losing their sight? They will not notice you approaching them and will no longer come when you call their name. Your favorite feline may need help finding their way around until they adapt. Making the home a safe haven is essential:
Keep the furniture the way your cat is used to for familiarity and comfort.
Don’t give access to areas where they could get hurt, such as stairwells.
Make sure that hazards like lamp cords are safely tied up and out of the way.
Keep a blind deaf cat inside. Taking them out under supervision is okay, but never let them out alone.
The Taste Method
Treats are tops
What is your cat’s favorite treat? Have plenty on hand to reward your cat as they learn to navigate their surroundings. Don’t overdo it, of course, but be free with yummy rewards to keep your cat encouraged.
Lure with treats
As your cat learns to move about the house, use treats to lure them. Reorient your cat to the location of the litter box, the food, and importantly, the water dish. Chances are if the cat has been losing sight and hearing gradually, they will have their bearings. If you have recently adopted a blind deaf cat, the environment will need to be introduced.
Tidbits and catnaps
Have a special treat that signifies when you’ll be out for a while. A small serving of a vet-approved aromatic soft food may do the trick. Your kitty will learn that this tidbit of goodness means you are going out, and it’s the perfect time for a catnap!
Train your cat to feel secure by providing a routine for feeding times. Have an established location and guide your kitty there often so they know where it is, giving them a treat when they make their way there. Feed your cat at the same time every meal to give them a sense of wellbeing and security.
The Smell Method
Lead the way
Is your cat new to the home? Walk them through the home, specifically to the areas that will be most used by them. Your cat may appreciate being led on a leash or may balk at it. You’ll have to play it by ear, or by smell!
Cats have pheromones in their glands, which are found on the lower legs, under the tail, and on the cheeks. As your cat walks around, the pheromones are left on furniture and other things they rub against. You can purchase calming pheromones that are emitted by diffuser and naturally bring calm. These, combined with your cat’s own scent, should make your cat feel at home.
Create a space. Your blind deaf cat will recognize the scent of their belongings. Teach them to find their favorite place by making a corner of their favorite room all their own. Give them a comfy bed and a bowl of water (placed against the wall out of tripping distance). On occasion, place a tasty aromatic treat on the bed, which will encourage your cat to explore and look for the cozy space. Place a litter box nearby.
Encourage play with catnip. All cats love the smell of this herb. Not to be overused, catnip will stimulate your feline and provide a few minutes of fun. Putting catnip on a scratching post is a good way to encourage stretching and sharpening of the nails.
The Touch Method
Guide and teach
You will need to use your hands to guide your cat. Without the sense of hearing, they cannot follow your voice. Try to teach your cat cues for certain things. A pat on the nose could mean it’s time to eat. Get into the habit of caressing your cat on the nose and then lure them to the food dish with a treat. After this consistent signal, your cat will know that the petting of the face means it’s mealtime and will make their way to their bowl.
Make use of carpets and flooring. Your cat will get used to the landscape of the house by the texture of the floor under their feet. They may associate the cool and smooth floor of the kitchen with food and water. The soft carpet of the living room may indicate a welcoming bed waiting for them under the window. The warm sensation of the heat from the sun will make for a great place to seek out a nap. An indoor/outdoor carpet on the floor leading to the utility room can mean the location of the litter box.
Do you have a screened-in porch or balcony? Let the cool moving breeze give your cat the joy of the outdoors and the freedom of feeling the wind. Being deaf and blind, they will not see the sights or hear the sounds, but the touch of the wind (and the scents of the outdoors) will bring pleasure. This is another opportunity to teach your pet a cue; a caress on the tail could signal outdoor time.
Help your cat to relax with the benefit of massage. Teach your pet that rubbing against you brings a massage session. When they are feeling anxious or bored, they can come to you for loving touch.
Familiarity will be important to your friendly four-legger. Don’t place obstacles in the way that will sabotage your cat’s efforts at using their memory. Remember to not carry your cat from place to place, as you may confuse them more as they work on navigating through their world.
By a Pugs lover Grace Park
Published: 01/26/2021, edited: 01/26/2021