First visits with a new client’s pet are always interesting. You never know how it’s going to go. But this visit was different than any other first visit I’ve made: Daytona, the cat, is deaf. I’ve never cared for a deaf cat before, and Daytona had much to teach me.
I had absolutely no idea how much I relied on my voice until yesterday, when my voice was useless. That nice, low, calming kitty voice…useless. Calling for the cat’s attention… not gonna happen. The ordinary chitter chatter I do, talking to the cats I visit…senseless. I quickly discovered that talking preventing me from catching signals that were actually useful for Daytona, so I shut up, and paid attention instead.
What does a cat with a disability do? Pretty much what any other cat does. There’s the basic four that we always asked about when I worked at a local vet practice: she eats, drinks, pees, and poops. She is quite the talker, though she probably can’t hear herself, but she has lots of say unless you happen to be petting her or playing with her at any given moment. She’s a cuddler and happily rubs herself against any part of your body that she can reach. And she’s a demon with toys. I brought her one of my favorite fishing pole toys with a feather at the end; it took her a millisecond to decide that it was very, very cool, and she wore herself out chasing and attacking it. Once she was tired, she was happy for lots of chin and head rubs. Like I said, pretty much like any other cat.
Some minor accommodations are needed, of course, all easy. Since Daytona can’t hear me coming in I have to go find her and make sure she sees me before I touch her so I don’t scare the daylights out of her. When playing with a toy, she has to be able to see it…took me a little bit to pick up on that. Hearing cats hear a toy tap the floor or drag along the carpet and jump into action, but those sounds are nothing to Daytona. (This is Daytona giving me the “duh!” look.)
And should you ever decide to photograph a deaf cat, just so you know, they can’t hear you click your tongue to get their attention either. A toe tap on the wood floor works…she looks right at me when she feels it.
Daytona, of course, has all this down…it was her pet sitter who was a little slow on the uptake, but I’m trainable. Good thing Daytona is smart, and a good teacher to boot. I’m learning, and hoping, if I study hard, for an A in the course by the time she’s done with me.
And for those of you who read my two blogs on the South Newton Township decision to capture and kill all outdoor cats, things are (thankfully) unraveling. The company hired to trap and kill the cats has backed out, given the public outcry. The township decision-makers are under extreme pressure to reverse their decision, and are getting offers of help from national and local TNR groups. Paws crossed that their decision is reversed and sanity rules!