This is a story about Diva, our deaf kitten.
When my daughter was working at a nearby store as a cashier, a man came in and said, "Do you know anybody that wants a kitten?" She said, "I have been looking for a kitten." So several hours later he brought in a box with a little white kitten, only several weeks old. He said he found her lost in a farm field in New York. My daughter was of course thrilled. She had been wanting a kitten for a long time, and even though we were checking the newspapers and asking around, we were having little success in finding a kitten.
The first thing we did was invest in some kitten food, and we got the dry kind. Also, bought a litter box with litter. We took to the kitten right away, and she became very attached to sleeping in Jeni's bed, where it was all warm and cozy.
A month laterWe didn't begin to notice she was deaf until about a month later, when kittens are at the "playful" stage. We knew from experience from an earlier cat, that they respond to crumbling paper wads and throwing them, and crumbling plastic grocery bags. And when we tried to call her, she wouldn't respond. She wasn't responding to anything, just playing with things she could see, like pulling a string of yarn, etc. My husband says, "I think she is deaf." We were like, "No way!" But as a couple of more days passed we realized he may be right.
We couldn't figure out what to do. We got on the Internet and did a search for deaf kittens. Everything we read appeared to match Diva's personality and looks. They said most white cats, especially with yellow eyes are deaf. They recommended that, when approaching a deaf kitten while they are sleeping, to tap on the furniture next to them first.
We found it interesting that she wasn't afraid of the vacuum cleaner, but played hide and seek with it instead. She wasn't afraid of jumping in the shower with us, because she can't hear the water running, which is apparently what scares the cats.
They also recommended that you build a hiding place in a large box. Just cut a door and some windows for her to peek out of, etc. We did this and she loved it! She was going inside all the time. We would tease her with different toys through the windows. You can see the box we made for her in the background of this picture. Jeni decorated it. The front door says, "Enter at your own risk." In this picture Diva is about 3 months old.
Christmas was a lot of fun for Diva. She especially liked the dangling curled ribbons and the ornaments on the tree. We put up a smaller tree on a table in the foyer, and would catch her sleeping behind the tree every night. We bought her a huge Christmas stocking full of little cat toys and treats. She was knocking the little plastic balls around all over the floor.
Diva also has no interest in going outside. We have another cat that is black named "Spike" that we adopted to keep him from being sent to the Animal Shelter. Spike is always wanting to go outside. In and out, in and out. But Diva just sits on the windowsill, and looks outside. She can see birds but can't hear them, and she can't hear the cars going by.
The Warm Spots
We noticed right away that Diva likes warm spots. She would jump on our computer case and fall asleep right on top. But not only was it for the warmth, she is also comforted by the vibration of the fan in the computer. We have a table lamp, and after her shower she would sit under the lamp until she dried, sometimes falling asleep. Now that she is a year old, we don't give her showers that much anymore, but she still falls asleep next to the computer.
Special developed senses
After about six months we noticed that Diva is very sensitive to smells. She smells everything, and she is very sensitive to vibrations. She can feel the floor vibrations of someone just walking through the house.
But after several months, Spike started hissing at Diva. We couldn't figure out why, and it really upset us. But Diva doesn't even realize that Spike is hissing at her, because she can't hear him. So she doesn't leave him alone at all. But we get fed up with his hissing and kick him outside.
This past summer was awful with fleas. We tried everything to get rid of them. We kicked Spike outside and wouldn't let him in, bought the flea collars which didn't work, the flea powder, that sort of worked, but Diva wouldn't let us put the powder on her. So we wound up getting some flea shampoo and giving Diva a bath every couple of days. So it was a temporary fix. But when the new flea eggs would hatch, they would find Diva, and poor Diva would wind up in the shower again.
My hubby had had enough, he wanted to kick Diva outside. I bagged everything up in plastic bags and washed down counter tops and everything. It was like spring cleaning in the middle of the summer. By this time of summer, Jeni had moved out of the house and left Diva here. So, I called her up and said, "Come and get Diva or we're not going to be able to get rid of these fleas." So she came and got Diva and commented, the only reason Diva got fleas in the first place was because of Spike, which is probably true.
After Diva was gone, we sprayed the whole house, washed all the sheets and blankets, and everything else I could think of. But it was still a month before we had our last flea jumping on our ankles. I didn't find out till later that all these flea products just have powdered boric acid in them. So, if I would have bought some of that, I could have saved me a bunch of money... and stress.
Several times when Diva would sit in the window during the summer, a fly or bug would land on the screen. Diva was interested in chasing down flies that got into the house too. But when they got on the screen Diva used her claws on the screen to try to get the flies and ripped several of our nylon screens which we had to replace. The metal screens just have several claw marks in them.
Whenever Diva wants into a room with a closed door, she scratches on the door. The doors are varnished however and doesn't leave scratch marks. The main destruction was to our unfinished shutters on the lower bathroom cabinets. One side is shredded with claw marks. She also enjoys clawing our black vinyl footstool. When Diva came back home, I guess she remembered where her scratching pole was. So I have actually removed the shutters off the bathroom cabinets. She goes inside the cabinets and hides.
Diva has explored every area of the house, except she won't go into the attic, even if the steps are down. Everytime we move furniture around she is in the way looking for new spots where she hasn't explored yet. If I leave a cabinet door open, she will go inside, just because she has never been there before.
We wondered for a long time whether Diva would ever meow, or if she even knew how to meow. She surprised us and maybe even herself, when she scratched at a door, and since we didn't open it, she meowed. So she only meows when she wants to get into a room. She never meows for food, she just rubs up against your legs. When she is hungry she is probably the most friendliest. Does she purr, yes she does purr.
Food and Drink
Diva won't eat anything but dry cat food. Her favorite is Special Kitty in the green bag. We have tried several types of canned cat food and special kitty treats, but she won't eat them. Sometimes she'll eat a cat treat, but she doesn't like them. She won't eat our leftovers either, even if it's fish or chicken. As far as something to drink, she won't drink anything but water, and not out of a bowl either, unless she's desperate. Usually she sneaks in the bathroom to get a drink.
We were hoping, that somehow as she grew older, that she would outgrow her deafness, but it hasn't happened. Sometimes she does things like moving her ears, that makes us think she does hear. But she is only listening to the vibrations. So what does she do now that she is a year old? Not much. We don't see her play with toys anymore. Sometimes she'll play with my toes, but not for long. She eats and sleeps, and follows Spike around when he's in the house. She seems to be getting fatter too. I hope she didn't get pregnant when she got outside.
Well, Diva did get pregnant, and none of the kittens were deaf. When the kittens were 1 week old, we came home from work and the kittens were missing. We looked all over the house for them. It turned out that Diva moved the kittens under our bed. I crawled under the bed and got them out and put them back in their box. But Diva would jump in the box and take them out, and put them back under the bed. I guess she felt they were safer there. But kittens meowing under the bed did not work for us, so we wound up putting them in the bathroom. See more pictures of Diva and the kittens below.
- Pregnant Diva on the front porch... Diva on the front porch
- Pregnant Diva sleeps behind the Christmas tree... Christmas tree
- Diva had 3 kittens, a white, a grey striped, and a black with white boots... Diva's Kittens.... Here's a closeup of kittens... Diva and kittens on the front porch eating