Cat's can be selective with their hearing at times, especially if they are a sassy king or queen, but they may not always mean to ignore you! Cats can begin to lose their hearing around 7-11 years old. Hearing loss can also signify that your cat could be suffering from a more sinister health condition that is causing hearing loss and if you don’t have a cat wellness plan or cat medical insurance, you might miss the signs on your own, without the regular vet check-ins.
Signs Your Cat Is Losing Their Hearing
As our cats age, they can begin to show signs of deafness or blindness. This can be more common in some breeds than others and might be chalked up to aging. However, early hearing loss can be a sign that something is wrong. It could be a sign that your cat has an underlying health condition like diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and more.
If you suspect that your cat is having some trouble hearing you, there are a couple of top signs you can begin to watch out for before bringing it up to your vet, such as:
- Meowing louder than usual
- Not responding to sounds around them (if something loud drops)
- Ignoring you
- Gets startled easily
- Sleeping more frequently
Other, less obvious signs are that your cat is beginning to suffer from hearing loss or another illness affecting their hearing. Such as:
- Shaking their head a lot
- Tilting their head
- Pawing or scratching at their ears
- Pus discharging from ears
- Seem confused and dizzy
- Tips of ears turning pink
Causes Of Hearing Loss
There are a few different reasons a cat might start losing their hearing. One of the common reasons is genetics. Cats born with blue eyes and lighter fur, white fur most commonly, are more likely to be born deaf or develop hearing loss early in life. Almost 80% of white cats with blue eyes are born deaf or lose their hearing very early. Some cats are also born with a condition called Atresia, which the vet bill would cover if you have cat medical insurance and found out during your vet visit. This is when there is a defect in the ear canal or an obstruction. Sometimes this condition can be treated, but frequently it will lead to deafness in cats.
Another common reason for a cat losing hearing is a medical condition. The most common is an ear infection that travels to the inner ear, causing damage. Otitis externa is a common one sometimes referred to as "swimmers ear." It causes inflammation, redness, and swelling. Illnesses, like Otitis in cats, are caused by ear mites. Regular grooming sessions and check-ups, covered by our cat wellness plans, can help catch conditions before they cause permanent damage. Other medical conditions that can affect a cat's hearing include:
- Cancerous growths in ear canals
- Polyps (tissue growth)
- Ear wax and fur build-up
- Kidney disease
A cat's hearing loss can also be caused by something unexpected and random. This includes exposure to household cleaners or other chemicals, like lawn treatments. Diuretic medications and certain antibiotics can also sometimes cause hearing loss or difficulties.
And, of course, old age. Aging is a prevalent factor when it comes to feline hearing loss. As the cat ages, its eardrums will thicken, affecting its hearing. Fused bones in the inner ear are common in elderly cats and nerve damage that other medical conditions can cause.
For your veterinarian to successfully diagnose your cat's hearing loss, they will conduct a few different tests. Usually, they will want to rule out all major illnesses and conditions and investigate the ear canal. This will include routine blood work, a physical examination, and an entire neurological workup. This workup usually consists of the brainstem auditory evoked response test (BAER). This exam tests both ears individually and can take around 15 minutes to complete.
A cat wellness plan can help cover a routine check-up, but anything more advanced is not covered. This is one of the reasons cat medical insurance is so beneficial. It gives pet parents the financial freedom to ensure their animals get the best care and treatment.
How To Treat & Protect Your Cat From Going Deaf
The best way to keep your cat healthy and to hear at peak performance should be to get routine check-ups with a veterinarian. A cat wellness plan is a fantastic resource for ensuring your cat's health every year as it covers regular tests and check-ups. A minor issue, when not discovered, can grow into a big one, such as untreated ear mites. A cat wellness plan offers parents peace of mind regularly. Plus, it saves them hundreds of dollars in vet, grooming, and dental costs.
In the unfortunate circumstance, your cat does contract an illness or develops a condition, cat medical insurance will come in handy. Surgery might be necessary to clear ear blockages or tumors, restoring some of the cat's hearing. Anti-inflammatory medications and other antibiotics can reduce swelling and improve the cats' hearing. A cat medical insurance plan covers both surgeries and medications.
A significant diagnosis such as cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, etc., is also covered by cat medical insurance. As our cats age, sometimes an illness is inevitable. But if we stay prepared with programs like Wagmo Insurance and Wagmo Wellness, we can better keep our cats in tip-top health.
Are you interested in learning more about what cat medical insurance and cat wellness plans are all about? Check out this blog which helps to highlight the main differences between the programs. No matter how old your cat is, eight weeks old or eighteen years old, they are a member of the family. Wagmo exists to help take the worry and stress out of pet insurance and let you focus on simply loving your pet. Wagmo. Worry less.