Avoid a bored and frustrated deaf cat.
Ever since we discovered Dave was deaf we’ve tried hard to make sure he has adequate stimulation to avoid him becoming bored.
We’ve noticed that he can become frustrated and is prone to lashing out now and again as a result.
Thankfully, we quickly found strategies and gadgets to help us cope with his behaviour and prevent these outbursts from occurring.
The key to it is making sure he has enough stimulation. Prowling around the house all day in his silent world is bound to get boring and lonely even with people at home.
Through some trial and error of our own, here are my suggestions of toys that can help keep your deaf cat happy and maintain the peace in your household.
A teddy bear
We’ve found that a good-sized soft toy is a great sparring partner. We know when Dave is frustrated and looking for a fight; he has a certain look in his eye, a particular stance he takes (like he’s about to pounce on your legs) and a very distinct yowl. That’s where his teddy bear comes in.
Dave can’t go outside unless he’s on a lead or put into an enclosure (it’s too dangerous because he can’t hear dogs or cars on the road so doesn’t understand what a threat they pose to him), but an indoor grass garden can at least bring a bit of outdoors indoors. This is perfect for growing tall blades of grass that your cat can chew on. We bought Dave the Catit Senses Grass Garden and he loves it.
Cat lead or cat pen (enclosure)
As I’ve just mentioned, it’s dangerous for a deaf cat to be allowed outside without any supervision. All the cat-related websites we visit recommend keeping them indoors.
Dave doesn’t want to be an indoor pet. He has a cat flap and used to come and go freely before we confirmed he was deaf (I’ve written before about how I think his deafness developed over time rather than being a disability he was born with). Because he’s had a taste of freedom it seems cruel to deny him all access to fresh air. We bought him a cat lead and he delights in getting out and about in the back garden and rolling around in the grass, although he does still eye up our fences as if he’s thinking whether he can make the leap. Once the building work is finished on our house we’re going to look into building him a proper enclosure in the garden so that he can enjoy the outdoors without coming to any harm. You can also cat-proof your garden to try and stop your cat escaping over your fences, but this isn’t really an option for us because of the foxes that live nearby.
Just like children, cats absolutely adore cardboard boxes to play with. To hide in. To jump out of. To curl up in. To destroy. This is an inexpensive, but effective ‘toy’.
Lots of scratching posts
Cats need to keep their front claws in check. Without the luxury of doing this on trees or fences outside, they need something else to strop on.
If you don’t have at least one scratching post, they’ll turn to your sofa / carpet / curtains etc. I’d recommend getting a good upright scratching post as well as some flat mat-like ones to lay down in key areas of your home.
It’s also worth remembering that cats may strop on furniture and carpets when they are bored so it’s vital you have more than one scratching post strategically placed in your home and that they have access to a good variety of toys and games.
A play and chase toy
Growing up in a household surrounded by cats I’ve not known a feline who’s a major fan of these toys.
So when my husband suggested buying the Rosewood Pet Stages Cheese Chase toy for Dave, I was sceptical. But, Dave loves it and I think it’s because he is deaf. He needs extra stimulation and this does exactly that with its bright colours, catnip mouse and moving balls.
Dave doesn’t really bother with the mouse on the top, but he adores sending the outermost ball whizzing around its circular track and trying to catch the innermost ball through the holes in the plastic.
Sometimes he pounces on it and has a frantic few minutes with it while at other times he’ll lie beside it and have a lazy play. This was definitely a good buy.
The best thing by far that we have bought for Dave is a laser pen. It’s a simple but highly effective way to release his pent-up energy.
We used to have a standalone device that would move a laser light around the room once it was switched on, but that broke very easily. We’ve since bought a small handheld laser pen and it’s the best few pounds we have spent to keep Dave happy. It’s his favourite game by far.
If you have a deaf pet, have you found anything else to be effective in keeping them happy?