Adopting a kitten is a big decision and will require several years of commitment on your part! It is therefore important for you to have all the information you need before you go through with the adoption.
Whether you're getting it from a pet store or another person, it's important to make sure the cat is in good health. One thing you might not know about white cats: they are prone to deafness.
White cats are prone to deafness
White cats may suffer from a genetic malformation that causes hearing problems. This condition is similar to Waardenburg syndrome in men, a genetic disorder that causes depigmentation of the skin associated with deafness.
So, white cats have a 70% chance of being deaf. The likelihood of being deaf is even higher if the cat has blue eyes. It is actually caused by a mutation of the W gene that prevents the pigmentation of the fur and attacks the cells of the organ of Corti, which is responsible for hearing perception.
Taking care of a deaf cat
Adopting a deaf cat is a possibility and will require some adjustments on your part. Indeed, hearing is a very important sense for cats. Rest assured, cats are able to adapt to their environment even if they cannot hear.
Communicating with your deaf cat can be a bit tricky. You'll have to avoid sudden movements, which might surprise it, and communicate with it using treats or body language instead of your voice.
It's also worth noting that having a deaf cat in a house is much more inconvenient than having one in an apartment. Indeed, a deaf cat that hangs around the garden or on the street is more exposed to urban risks. For example, it won't hear cars or other animals. Situations that can harm it and put it in danger.
Adopting a kitty that has hearing problems is, therefore, not a decision to take lightly. Although this handicap requires some adjustments and doesn't prevent you from bonding with your pet, make sure you're able to put in the effort necessary to safely bring it into your home.