Deaf cats and their “mute meows”

A lot of people assume that deaf cats are also mute cats. But far from it actually. Like I also mention in our frequently asked questions, deaf cats are known for their big voices.

As deaf cats can't hear how loud they are, they tend to go a little overboard. Some deaf cats even purr very loud, but when Ronja purrs you can hardly hear it at all. So of course there are exceptions.

Who are they talking to?

They say that adult cats don't communicate with each other by meowing. Adult cats meow at humans, to get what they want, but not to each other. However I have noticed that Victor actually sometimes meows to Ronja. This happens when they chase each other around the apartment for fun. He meows constantly in their little breaks. Maybe he is saying "again again" or "I'm gonna get you". I'm not really sure on that one. Either way it's not very effective.

Victor mostly talk to his humans though and he can be very persistent. He also meows if he has spotted a bug he can't reach (Ronja does this too). Whatever the reason, there always seems to be a reason for his meows and apparently he has a lot to say.

Random Ronja Soundtrack

Ronja on the other hand seems to be meowing at random sometimes. Of course she meows when she begs for food or wants to go outside. But she also meows when she jumps up in her cat tree and when she plays. She seems to have a whole soundtrack of noises going on when she is moving. She makes everything from cute little noises to loud whining meows, that makes you jump to see if she is okay. It's really difficult to catch on camera as she tends to stop once she notice us. But here's what I did catch on camera.



That's just a little sample of what it sounds like living with Ronja. Most of the time it is pretty endearing though. She never meows at Victor though, so on this particular point she is just like a hearing cat.

People often wonder why a deaf cat would meow. But I think it's instinct for them to meow at humans. And I'm sure they can feel vibrations in their throats as they meow, so they know that they are doing something, even though they don't know what sound is. And it's very effective in getting the humans to pay attention. This is what a typical mornings sounds like at our house. 

So deaf cats meow and purr like hearing cats and sometimes even more. I am lucky to have two deaf cats who control their volume pretty well, because some deaf cats can be very loud. If you are considering adopting a deaf cat it's important that you know that this could be something you'll have to live with. They don't hear noise, but they sure can make noise!

12 Responses

  1. I just took in a little deaf boy and was wondering if you had any tips on communicating with him. He doesn't meow either. My other babies seem to understand and love him right off. I want to talk to him like I do the others. He's a great little guy. Just need to learn a little more like any good mama woulf. Lol
    • Humom
      Hi Toni, Congratulations on your baby boy. Hmm, I have never heard of a deaf cat that DOESN'T meow? Usually they are the most talkative, so I wonder what that's about? I'm not sure that's got anything to do with his lack of hearing. I've never felt that communication was a problem with my deaf cats. Getting them to do what I want is a problem yes, but that's a whole other story, haha. Deaf cats are very observant of their surroundings including their humans. THey tend to have more eye contact as they read us to better read a situation. They are very aware of our body language, so I slow blink and use hand signals. Usually when I get questions about deaf cats I send them to my website - but you already found it. So basically all my experience with deaf cats are on here. If you haven't already I suggest you check out the posts I've written. You can find them all in the top menu under "deaf cats". Also please read our FAQ under about - maybe you'll find something usefull there. Feel free to follow us on social media. We're on Facebook and Instagram.
      • My deaf kitten doesn’t meow either. She will cry out when her big sister gets too rough and she does trill sometimes.
  2. I have a female who is deaf and mute. She makes no sounds and when meeting new people they mistake her inaudible cry attempts as silent hissing at them. She still goes through the motions of sound at all.
  3. My Goku is the contrary. When she could hear, she had a great range of meows, and she could modulate her voice in a infinite way. Now that she is deaf, she doesn't meows often, and she only does three kind of meows (loud meows only when physically alone, but she did those even when she was still a hearing cat).
    • My cat was always very quiet and now, when she's deaf(old age), she almost never makes any sounds. Sometimes "meows" (opening the mouth and in situations, when she normaly would meow) without sound-or at least without one possible to hear for the human ear:)
  4. My cat (the old one, that is turning deaf) is dying and got dementia. A couple of days ago i took her in my arm, and she meowed loud. I felt the vibration of the sound going through the whole body of my cat. Probably deaf cats meow because the sound vibrate in the whole body, so they notice that doing that has an effect and probably the effect is pleasant. If they even notice that, doing that people react, is fast to do 2+2. deaf people don't do sound because unlike in cats, our voice don't affect our body. However, some deaf people admitted that they love music because it vibrates and it is pleasant. They also sayd that music shouldn't be too loud. they hate loud noises too, they say they vibrate too much.
  5. I have a young deaf cat who screams constantly, whether it be for food or attention. While he is adorable, the yowling begins to drive me crazy after a while. Do you have any advice on how I could train him to be a little more quiet despite him not knowing just how loud he is being?
    • Humom
      Hi there, While I'm sure the volume of his meows has to do with him being deaf, the amount of meows might not be related. So I'd treat it as any cat meowing a lot for attention. Don't award his meows. Don't give him any type of reaction (good or bad) when he meows, but give him love and food and playtime, when he is quiet. It will be difficult and it will take some time for him to adapt. But eventually he should figure out that he gets what he wants when he doesn't meow. Of course there could be all sorts of things going on that makes him meow like that, like things that requires a vet. But I can't very well tell you if that is the case. So if you're sure he is healthy, I'd start looking into the above practise. Jason Galaxy made a great video about this matter, where he also gets into eating and playing habbits, which could have an impact as well. I hope it can be helpfull to you:
    • I’m thinking my kitten is deaf because he’s white and has blue eyes, so he has a very high possibility of being deaf or hard of hearing. But the thing that made me notice (I have had a white blue eyed deaf cat before but the fact slipped my mind) was he goes to meow and no sound comes out. I realized he watched my other cats meow but he likely can’t hear them, so he mimics their actions since he is a kitten. Not sure if it works like that but that’s a theory I have :)
  6. I rescued a stray beautiful blue eyed, white cat from outside my work. She was emaciated but incredibly friendly and easy going! I named her Delilah:) My boyfriend took her to the vet and she was 100% healthy but maybe a little constipated they said. A month or so later we find out that she wasn't constipated but pregnant. And we also figured out she was deaf. She gave birth to 6 healthy kittens 3 months ago. 3 of her kittens have new homes but we still have 3 of her babies and none of them are deaf or blind! She has always meowed a lot since we rescued her but it's getting excessive, especially at night. And she meows extremely loudly now after having her kittens! I have the patience to deal with her meowing but my boyfriend doesn't. Delilah isn't allowed in the bedroom at night when we're sleeping anymore. I'm not sure what she wants or needs from me. Do you have any thoughts or advice? I love Delilah and feel like I could do more for her.. Thank you!
    • Humom
      Hi Brandy, Has she been neutered? Cause if not, it could be her mating call which is louder than usual meows. This could explain why her meowing has gotten worse after giving birth. Regarding the nighttime howling I'd treat this issue the same way you would with a hearing cat. So first thing to look at if you're sure your cat is healthy is playtime and mealtimes. Cause those things can help you sleep at night. I recommend watching this video by Jackson Galaxy: I wish you good luck with Delilah - thank you for rescueing her and her babies. /Sanne

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