Toys to keep your deaf cat happy

keep your deaf cat happy

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.

Grass garden

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.

Cardboard box

Just like children, cats absolutely adore cardboard boxes to play with. To hide in. To jump out of. To curl up in. To destroy.┬áThis 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.

Laser pen

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?


  1. Hi
    Great post, we are getting a deaf cat this week and I am quite relieved that the standard cat toys will keep him busy – we have a non-deaf cat so have loads of those all over the house. And boxes of course, she looks so sad when I try to trough them away!
    Thanks again

    1. Ah, how lovely. We love our deaf boy so much. We’ve actually found that his favourite toy is a simple cardboard box! I hope the settling in period goes well for you all.

  2. Thank you for posting this. I recently brought in a kitten from a thunder storm only to discover he is deaf. I don’t feel right about taking him to a shelter or putting him back outside, so your tips for keeping him occupied are greatly appreciated.

    1. That’s so lovely of you to take in that little kitten. Stimulation – and patience – is important. Mine is much less frustrated than he used to be and more at ease with it, I think.

  3. My boy is now totally deaf at 20 although still completely active despite arthritis due to being declawed by his previous owner. I’ve had him since age 4. Unfortunately I’ve tried all of the above and more to no avail. He is a working breed (Siberian Forest Cat) and only live prey or food interest him. Or affection from me.
    He has gained weight and howls 24/7. No toys in the arsenal have worked and I have donated hundreds of dollars worth (which is great but not for my cat). Catnip is difficult because he has asthma like allergies and doesn’t like catnip toys (ignores them as well as feathered toys. If they don’t have blood he doesn’t care. Boxes – no interest unless there’s a live mouse.
    So we have no solution as yet. I tried adopting other cats but they were too young and I had to rehome them when they got big enough to gang up and attack.
    We keep trying.

    1. These things have helped keep all of our cats occupied, deaf and hearing. Cat Dancer toy. This is a piece is piano wire with cardboard piping attached. Wiggle it close by and they pounce. Laser pointer. I have not yet seen a cat, or dog for that matter, ignore a laser pointer. Green ones are great for older cats. An iPad. Yup. An iPad with one of the cat games installed. Out cats love this and can easily drain an iPand battery trying to catch that digital mouse. Give these things a try. The pioint is also that you need to interact with the cat for maximum enjoyment!

  4. I have a deaf cat and find he loves the laser light to chase the red beam, also loves tunnels, adores feathers on a stick , balls and mice to play with. He turned up last summer a stray pure white with one blue eye and one normal one. It took me a few months to really notice he was deaf as he would only turn up at night not in the day for food. He was sleeping rough in hedges so I intervened after gaining his trust and as I couldn’t find his owner I had him castrated and microchipped. He is lovely. He adores my black female cat. He really is quite clever.,I only let him out at night for a few hours and I get him back in doors using the laser torch. He seems to love the light in the dark he’s a very happy cat since I’ve given him a secure home I always put a reflective collar on him with a an id tag stating he is deaf and a little bell. The bell proves to be great if I can’t find him I can hear the bell jingling

  5. I recently adopted my 1 1/2-year old deaf cat Aria from the Humane Society because I was told she was very lazy and slept most of the time, and didn’t need toys because she didn’t play much. SURPRISE!!! lol. She wants to be outside often and even chased a rabbit while I had her on a long lead.

    Catnip spray has proven ineffectual, and scratching posts are poor substitutes for my rugs and furniture. She loved her red laser light until she figured out it wasn’t “real” and I was controlling it. I am out of ideas to keep her happy and she meows VERY loudly when she is not pleased.

    The lead and taking her outside are the best options so far, but she winds and twists so much that I have to stay with her even on my patio. I can’t stay outside with her all day so I don’t know what to do. I would love additional suggestions because I love this beautiful kitty even if she does drive me a little crazy!

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