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Old 11-16-2012, 11:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Deaf Kitten - issues

We've been happy cat-parents about a year with one male tabby.

Four weeks ago my partner discovered a stray kitten attempting to walk out on to a busy street outside her workplace. We took it in and decided to keep it.

(pics here, if you're interested)

Since then it's become obvious the the little guy is deaf. It doesn't seem to affect him in any way right now - he seems happy as can be. However, I'm worried about the future.

Everything I've read online indicates that he should never be let outside. I don't really have a problem with that, but my partner (and our vet) both think it is unnatural to keep cats indoors for their entire lives.

Even if we did come to a consensus, I can't imagine how we'll be able to allow one cat outside and not the other. Our older cat has been going out since he was about 6 months. During the summer we pretty much left the window open all day and brought him in at night. Now that it's getting colder we let him in and out a few times a day. I just can't envisage a way to continue to allow him to have any kind of freedom while keeping the little guy under wraps.

We live in a terraced house (which I believe may be referred to as townhouses/row houses in the states), and there's a canal at the end of our garden, which limits the cats' possibilities for roaming. Our older cat gets around our neighbour's gardens and has found a way out to the road in front of us. It's a quiet street with no through traffic, and cars aren't able to drive in any way fast due to the size/layout of the street.

Does anyone have any thoughts or experiences they'd like to share? Any other issues that I should be aware of that may affect his future life?
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Old 11-16-2012, 12:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Keeping cats indoors all the time is very common in the states. My cats have always lived long and happy lives indoors--provide them w/ plenty of toys, climbing places, and sunny windows and they are perfectly happy.

A deaf cat should absolutely not be allowed outside, period. He would be at increased risk from cars, dogs, other cats, etc. I recommend that you keep BOTH cats indoors, as it would be unfair (and difficult) to let one go out and not the other. Once they adjust (it takes a few weeks, but don't give in!) they'll be perfectly happy and way healthier living inside.
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Old 11-16-2012, 02:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by hoofmaiden View Post
Keeping cats indoors all the time is very common in the states.
And Canada. Please please please keep your def kitty indoors. You are setting him up for a short life if you let him out even for a second. Also please keep the other one inside too. Here it is common practice to keep your cat in and looked down upon for letting them out. Different cultures I guess.
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Funny story- both of my parents' cats have no interest in going outside. One of them walked out onto the front steps once and turned around and came right back inside. The other one went out one time in the winter when there was snow on the ground. and she ran only halfway around the house and turned around and came back in.
The cat I grew up with was another story. He darted for the door every time it opened and when he got out it would take us a half hour to catch him and bring him back in. Finally when he was about 8 years old, we started letting him out. he always stayed around the neighborhood and would come home when we called him. We always made sure he was inside at night.
Anyway, I definitely agree that your deaf cat must live inside because it's way too dangerous with him being unable to hear what's around him. Plus they claim that outdoor cats only live 4 years, which I think is strange because our cat lived to be 16. He wasn't strictly outdoors all the time, though. We only let him out when he meowed at the door and always brought him in at night.


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Old 11-16-2012, 04:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I have nothing against cats going outside provided they are in a safe(ish) location. I realise it also depends on your set of values. However a deaf cat is not one I would allow outdoors under any circumstances. They're not safe at the best of times. Being deaf is a disability and needs to be treated as such for the cats own well-being. You will not be doing it a great disservice, rather the opposite.

As mentioned, many people especially in cities in Canada and the USA do not allow their cats outdoors their entire lives, the cats don't know the difference if it's all they know and in fact often fear the outdoors. Some shelters make you sign papers saying it will be a fully indoor cat before allowing adoption. It's a culture divide there for sure; I have relatives in the UK that have come visiting and they'd never heard of such a thing as keeping a cat indoors and instead have heard of some shelters only adopting out older/disabled cats if they're to be indoor only.

I wouldn't go as far as say it's frowned upon though, maybe by people on here it's more black and white as good or bad but in the "real world" I've found it's often a case by case basis, and in cities in North America cats are not very safe outdoors which has caused the shift in thinking over the last few decades. Before that they were mostly free roaming here as well. We're very high density populations in cities with a lot of cars and the UK also lacks coyotes, a dangerous predator that are inching into cities here.

I mean, the volunteers at the cat sanctuary are all cat lovers often to the extreme and half if not more of the ones I know allow their cats outdoors or have in the past.

The statistic saying ~4 years outdoors is very vague and impossible to really document, I'm convinced the number was simply feral cats that don't belong to a colony that's routinely fed. That's a tough life.
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Last edited by Carmel; 11-16-2012 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 11-16-2012, 05:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Although I am very much an indoor / outdoor cat person, I agree with the other posters that allowing a deaf cat to roam isn't a good idea - they are more vulnerable to quite a few hazards.

Has the vet checked out the reason for the deafness? There is the chance that it is something treatable.
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmel View Post
I wouldn't go as far as say it's frowned upon though, maybe by people on here it's more black and white as good or bad but in the "real world" I've found it's often a case by case basis, and in cities in North America cats are not very safe outdoors which has caused the shift in thinking over the last few decades. Before that they were mostly free roaming here as well. We're very high density populations in cities with a lot of cars and the UK also lacks coyotes, a dangerous predator that are inching into cities here.
I said that it's frowned apon from a shelter pov. I use to work in one and the town I worked in had laws stating no outdoor pets allowed. Now where I live theres no such laws and many people have several outdoor unaltered cats... which is why it is one of the highest kill shelters in the province. Most rescues save cats from here. That said, one guy I worked with at the shelter just came from the UK and he said the same thing... where he lived in England there are no such thing as a litter box, when he started he thought it was a joke! He said shelters don't let you adopt if you plan to keep it inside.

That said, I really hope you don't allow your deaf kitten out as it really is a death sentence.
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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My mom's cats have always been indoor/outdoor. She's on 5 acres in the country so it works well for her. My guys have always been indoor only, as we're in the city on a very busy street and it's just not safe for them to be out. Deaf kitty should definitely be kept indoors for his own safety. If you can't do that (whether because of your other cat or on a moral level--and that is fine), it might be better to rehome him to someone with all indoor kitties or somewhere that he would be the only cat, so seeing other cats going outdoors wouldn't be an issue. It would not be safe to let him outside.
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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My family had indoor/outdoor all growing up so that's all I had known. We never had a cat longer than a year or year and a half before they either disappeared or tried to cross the road, got into something lethal or were shot (so much for it being safer to roam in the country with 7 acres). With my last cat, for the first time I decided she would be indoor only. She lived to be 16, so my anecdotal evidence is that indoor only kitties are much longer lived ... at least where I've live (in the city and in the country as well).

I would think a deaf cat would be at an extreme disadvantage outdoors.
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Glad to say it's not the same here, Galathiel. My last cat to die was over 20 and she had been indoor / outdoor from kittenhood!

On the deaf cat issue, however, I feel exactly the same - there are too many threats that are picked up on an auditory level.

Just to add that the one who died before that was about 10 and was as a result of chronic asthma not an outdoor threat.

Last edited by Arianwen; 11-19-2012 at 03:07 PM.
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