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jentra_674 March 6th, 2007 05:19 PM

Deaf kitten "training" advice
I know that no family really trains a cat, it will generally do what it wants, I tend to think of it more as guidance for cats. My two older cats usually choose to follow the rules (I used a water sprayer clapping and deep shout to let them know I didn't like what they were doing), but my new kitten (Nibbles) is completely deaf and loves water. I'm not a hugely against things like going on tables or anything that is not dangerous to the cats. What I am worried about are the times when she may hurt herself, or finding her if need be. Nibbles jumps up on the stove while it's on, climbs into the dishwasher, chews on cords and tries to get outside. I'm also very worried that in an emergency situation like a fire if she was asleep we wouldn't be able to find her. If anyone has any tips for me, please let me know..

CyberKitten March 6th, 2007 07:52 PM

Among her many cats (every cat anyone rescued in the small village she resided in ended up eventually at my grandmother's house!!), gram had one kitten someone did not want because she was hearing impaired- a white one of course. Now rather than get angry at the stupidity of the people, gram just took in the kitten - her feeling being if they had those kind of values, they did not make a very good home for any kitten and they had allowed their mama cat to get pregnant but that is another story.

When she did something not wanted by any human - like scratch the funiture but gram said it was just firniture so if it did get scratched, it not the end of the world - she would make direct eye contact with her, change her facial expressions "yell" at her and shake my finger, to let kitty know that she was doing siomething that did not result in treats. Also since cats do not respond well to negative reinforcement - which is why I never use the water thing (I am sure my cats would just laugh at that anyway). Now, a hearing impaired kitty canno hear but they can hear vibrations and do know when their human is not happy. The vibrations are important since you don't want to scare her by just coming up to her and make her fearful. She needs to have some boundaries and feel safe as well. So stomp before you come to her and she'll know it is you. Our kitty got to as point where she knew our distinctive stomps and if it was a stranger, she did not come to them unless we stomped to let her know it was OK. She was the most unusual but lovable kitty!!

We talked to this cat as if she did hear and taught her the differences in facial expressions and what they mean. Some ppl teach sign languiage to hearing impaired pets and that works well. We taught her a few but not the whole gamit. Treats and rewards are the best wway to train cats - unlikle dogs, they kind of scoff at behaviour mod. When yor cayt does so mething you want, give him a treat, smile a lot and pet him or whatever he likes 0 scrithes, hugging (all cats arwe different)

To really get her attention we would stomp on the floor and even hearing impaired, that worked. I thin kit was good that there were other cats because she learned much from their behaviour - both good and bad tho, hehheh
Hand commands also work well with hearing impaired cats and I thin the disabled pets web site may have some recommended books for that.
Ohh, we also used lights- like a penlihgt .NEVER ever use lasers because they can damage a kitty's eyes- they can be fun for playing w2ith the cat if pointed at the wall but even then, you must be cautious not to let it hurt the eyesight of the cat.

This kitty- Bluebelle - (She was a Bluepoint Siamese) = loved to be brushed - the feel of the vibration I think and we devised a thumb's up sign (we'd read this somewhere to start with, cannot claim original credit!), o signal that a goroming session was on now, she's come running and head butt- as if she were head butting and playing with another kitten. At first, we'd give her a treat for coming and later we'd give her one anyway bu she loved brushing and combing so much that treats would never have been need by then.
Some kittens are getting cochlear implants so you could ask your vet about that. There is an article in Science, the journal, about it and I know one person who did it when her klitten was 3 as part if a project at Cornell - in NY. The kitten wears a special coat and the implant -which looks similar to the ones we implant in human toddlers but smaller - usually (98& of the time) allows the kitten to hear tones and they respond to noise. I have to admit that if I had a hearing impaired kitten, I would give this serious consideration! I know cats and kittens respond usually by using their sense of smell the most and in some ways that is more important than hearing for them - but I would like to give a kitten the opportunity to hear so she could respond to other cats for one and to her humans.

Here is a cute story I especially like and had bookmarked:


I am sure you will do well with her and enjoy her - she sounds very special!!

cpietra16 March 6th, 2007 07:58 PM

This guy throws a soft ball for warning...


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