7 Ways to Tell if Your Cat is Deaf

Cats are very independent, and often ignore you when you try to get their attention, so you might start to wonder if yours is actually just deaf. Read this article to learn how to tell.
7 Ways to Tell if Your Cat is Deaf

Last update: 16 March, 2019

We all know cats are very independent. But that can make it hard to tell if yours might be deaf, because it probably never listens when you try to get its attention. That might have you wondering if your cat simply doesn’t care, or if it’s actually deaf. We’ve decided to write an article to help you out with that.

How a cat might become deaf

Deafness is more common than you might think in cats. It’s not always a genetic thing, either. Many times, it’s the result of a health condition, or just old age.

White cats are the most likely to develop deafness in their life because it’s related to the W gene that makes them white. Some people say the same about cats with blue eyes, but that’s not true. As far as we know right now, fur color is the only sign.

A tiny cat curled up in its owner's hands.

Deafness can also happen during a cat’s life for non-genetic reasons. That includes things like certain medicines, chronic ear infections, and injuries to the ear.

You have to be very patient if your cat is deaf, especially if it happened during its life. What we mean is that a cat born deaf won’t be confused by it because it has never known what it’s like to hear. Its other senses have also had time to sharpen and make up for the deafness.

When a cat becomes deaf during its life, it has to try to adapt to this new, uncomfortable condition. Knowing that, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if it ends up being irritable, and you’ll need to learn to communicate in a different way.

So, what can you do to tell if your cat is deaf or not. Here are some tips.

How to tell if your cat is deaf or not

There are lots of things you can do to tell if your cat is deaf, even if it doesn’t listen to you.

Make loud noises

Make loud noises near your cat. You could throw something near it or bang on something. If your cat is deaf, it won’t move an inch. Otherwise, it would probably jump up from the fright.

If your cat was sleeping and didn’t wake up to the noise, it’s almost certainly deaf.

Loud meows

If yours meows extremely loudly, it might be deaf. This happens because it can’t tell that it’s being too loud, and wants to get your attention.

Call your cat to see if it’s deaf

If you try to call your cat over and over and it never listens, it could be deaf.

When you’ve lived with it for a few months or years, it’s perfectly normal for it to ignore you sometimes, but not every single time. That’s a sign something could be wrong, especially if you know how to make it obey you.

If it doesn’t come when you get home

Cats aren’t dogs, but they still tend to come when they hear you at the door. If your cat doesn’t do this, or has stopped, that could also be a sign of deafness.

It has trouble balancing

Deaf cats have trouble balancing because the deafness affects their sense of orientation. If your cat has this problem, that’s another potential sign.

An owner holder a cat belly up in her arms.


When your cat is sleeping, come close to it and clap above its head. If it doesn’t move an inch (or open its eyes at all), it’s probably deaf.

Go to the vet

If you’ve tried all these tricks and still aren’t sure, you should go to the vet. They can do some exhaustive tests to definitively see whether your cat can hear or not.

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