Sunday, April 29, 2007

Deaf As A Blue-Eyed White

Deafness in animals often goes undetected because so few people are on the look-out for it. Cat-breeders, however - more specifically, breeders of British short- and long-haired whites - are only too familiar with the condition.

The gene that makes a cat white all over has other effects besides determining the colour of its coat. It is also responsible, in combination with other genes, for the colour of a cat's eyes and for the formation of its ears. Many white cats are born with a congenital hearing defect - sometimes just in one ear, sometimes in both. The eye-colour of white cats is also unpredictable; some have orange eyes, some blue, a few even have odd-coloured eyes, one orange and on blue.

Unfortunately the cats most frequently found to be deaf are those with blue eyes, the variety that appeals most to the tastes of buyers. However, a created breed, the blue-eyed Foreign White, which has added Siamese blood, is able to hear perfectly well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Barnaby Warning for Deaf Cat Owners:

Please emphasize that you can never, ever permit a deaf cat to go outside without total supervision. And especially to never trust a cat sitter to honor that rule unless you thoroughly and completely get him or her to understand and agree to it.

We have just gone through a terrible tragedy with our Barnaby - Deaf Turkish Angora Cat (now deceased). Our grandson who was told not to let him out and to whom we paid money to for him to house-sit, let the cat out. The cat was attacked by something and lost his eye and he ran into the road and was killed outright.

We loved that cat with all our hearts and souls and he loved us dearly also. You cannot imagine the pain and suffering we have gone through to find out what happened, to retrieve his precious little body and give him a proper burial. So please, please, please tell people they must not under any circumstances permit a deaf cat to get outside without supervision. Thanks so much, Bill