Deafness in a cat is a condition that may prevent it from hearing in either one or both ears. The actual process of going deaf is often a gradual one, and you may not notice that your cat is deaf until most of its hearing ability has been lost. Feline deafness is diagnosed through a series of tests, behavior observations, complete medical history and standard physical examination. Deaf cats are able to go on and lead happy lives, responding to visual cues such as hand signals or even flashlights.
A cat that is going deaf may seem to completely ignore you when you speak to it. Your cat may no longer come when you call it or when it hears the bag or can of food opening (though it may come running once it sees food in the dish).
Deaf cats often startle more easily than they used to when you touch them while they sleep. They may not wake while sleeping unless you physically touch them, not being bothered by noise or others entering the room. Cats that are losing or that have lost their hearing may sleep more often than they used to.
If a cat is deaf or is going deaf, the cat may be preoccupied with its ears. You may notice your cat frequently pawing at its ears or shaking its head often. If a cat is losing its hearing but can still hear a little bit, you may notice that the cat seems disoriented or turns the wrong direction when you call it.