White cats are often deaf: possible reasons

Numbness in cats can have various causes, such as acute or chronic ear diseases. White cats and blue-eyed ones are deaf much more often than fur-colored noses. Why is that? Many cats with white fur and blue eyes are deaf - Shutterstock / papillondream

The fact that blue-eyed and white cats are often deaf is probably due to the genes. The specific gene that is responsible for the light coat and eye color can also be decisive for deafness.

Defect on the white gene responsible for deafness?

A genetic defect is therefore probably the culprit. The white pigment gene is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner and "covers" the actual coat color; it is found in several cat breeds, although often only partially as a piebald. This genetic factor is more common in some breeds, for example Maine Coon, Turkish Angora, British Shorthair (BKH), Persian cat, Norwegian forest cat or Devon Rex. As a result, they are more prone to congenital deafness than cat breeds, where the corresponding genetic factor is less common.

The exact mode of inheritance for deafness in blue-eyed and white cats has not yet been fully researched. It is believed that a gene is responsible for both deafness and color. However, the exact pattern of inheritance is difficult to decipher and so one does not know for certain what certain conditions have to be met for the deafness to really come to light.

Deaf cat: symptoms of cat numbness

A deaf cat does not always show clear symptoms of deafness. Sometimes the ...

A genetic defect causes a missing corti organ

How does the genetic defect lead to deafness? White cats who cannot hear often lack an organ in the inner ear: the organ of Corti. The corti organ carries the vibrations in the cat's ear - if it is not there, the noises do not arrive where they should arrive so that the velvet paw can hear them. Cats that lack the corti organ must not be bred, as this would otherwise be a torture breed.