Deaf Turkish Angora Annoys Owner Because He Jumps on Kitchen Counter

This lady wants to modify her cat’s behaviour. He is a 7-month-old Turkish Angora (TA). She didn’t realise it until recently that he is deaf. Turkish Angoras are not uncommonly born deaf and sometimes have odd-eye color (blue and yellow) both for the same reason: the presence of the while spotting (piebald gene) or dominant white gene which gives her cat such a glorious bicolour or white coat. I have not seen her cat but he is either all-white or bicolor.

Turkish Angora Kittens, Ankara Zoon, Turkey
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Turkish Angora Kittens, Ankara Zoo, Turkey – Photo: copyright Angora Cat Association.

She wants to stop her cat jumping on the kitchen counter and bookshelves when he sometimes knocks over items. She calls these “awful habits”. She complains that she can’t use auditory training – I think she means shouting! Just joking, I hope.

The simple point is this (and I don’t want to be rude): her cat is behaving normally. Domestic cats like to move vertically and travel to high points — totally normal and expected behaviour. The fact that he is deaf is neither here nor there.

The answer is not to try and train out of her cat’s behaviour the desire to jump up to counters and so on. Her response should be to accept the behavior and work around it by providing other high points where her cat can jump to and enjoy. She might also try and find time to play with him more and/or adopt another cat provided he is the right sort of of cat and fits in well. This is called making an enriched environment. It is as simple as that.

Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

The problem in this instance is not the cat’s behaviour but the lady’s perceptions and attitude towards domestic cat behavioural traits. The solution is to be found in training-out some of the lady’s misconceptions about domestic cat ownership.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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11 Responses

  1. Eva Force says:

    True, cats need a place to roast and climbing and scratching options; that said, I am concerned that sometimes cats will act out of character if thy are in pain or have a serious health problem.
    I also wish I knew how long this woman has shared her life with her turkish van inside of her house.someone may have posted that answer earlier.

  2. Kristy Campbell says:

    Oh well! You can provide alternate things to climb and jump on but the cat may like the counter better! In that case, just keep spray cleaner and anti-bac wipes to clean the counter with. The owner’s not gonna win this battle. You love your cat no matter what, just make sure you give plenty of attention and cuddles. If that is the worst of her cat’s behavior she is pretty lucky! KC

    • Michael Broad says:

      Nice comment Kristy. What you are advocating is acceptance and to do things which accommodate the cat rather than “fighting” with the cat and trying to stifle natural behavior.

  3. kevin roche says:

    I really don’t mind my cats jumping up onto the kitchen counter as long as I’m not using my stove to cook (i wouldn’t want them to get burned) but i also have designed and hand built 2 six foot high jungle gyms for them to explore and sleep on.they enjoy the jungle gyms (you can call them cat trees if you want) but my cats are indoor only, if they feel like exploring my apartment from top to bottom i don’t mind as long as it is safe for them to do so…

  4. Rena Lee says:

    If I were a hearing-impaired cat, I might find lower locations such as the floor or sofas a bit more frightening in that I couldn’t hear things coming at me. At least on the kitchen counter or on the bookshelves, people wouldn’t step or sit on me. I personally see the Turkish Angora’s behavior as an excellent survival instinct. Having once accidentally walked into my black Maine Coon Buddy in the dark as he was resting on a black rug (Buddy was okay but upset, but I felt terrible), I feel the owner should actually be grateful her cat prefers safer and higher locations. If the woman does not find the countertops or bookshelves suitable, she should provide other options such as Serbella suggests.

    • Cat's Meow says:

      I agree. She needs to gently teach the cat to stay off the counters while providing safe alternatives. Even though I have never had a deaf cat, I still take the time to teach mine to stay off the counters and eating surfaces by picking them up and placing them either on the floor or the scratching post. They usually catch on quickly.

      • Cat's Meow says:

        A safe way to reinforce that is placing double sided tape or tape circles around the edges. Cats hate the tape stuck on their paws.

  5. Sandra Murphey, No. CA, USA says:

    There are many articles on ways to stop cats from jumping on counters and other places. I can understand not wanting a cat on the kitchen counter, and if that was a problem, I’d find a solution that didn’t include yelling.

    It does take a willingness to try some solutions. I adapt my living space to accommodate normal cat behaviors, and have created simple ways for my cat to jump to high places.

    My dresser top has only 2 items, a clock with a broad base (not easy to knock over) and a pillow. I have another smaller dresser that holds my cordless phone cradle, and even a vase of fake flowers. I feed my cat here, so my roommate’s cat doesn’t eat her food. She’s never knocked over my phone or the vase.

    I’ve had a lot of cats in my lifetime, and never had one that jumped on counters or knocked things over. I’ve always viewed my cats the same as I would a 2yr. old. They depend on us to create a safe space, and a way to protect items that are important to us.

    Cats have abilities that small children don’t have, like jumping, but we need to remember that we have the ability to be smarter than a cat, and yet accept their normal behaviors, within our boundaries.

    I believe that all problems have solutions. It’s up to us to discover what they are. We have a world of information on the Internet from people who have solved the same problems we have.

    • Michael Broad says:

      Completely agree. It is up to cat caretakers to understand cat behavior and then find ways to cater for it as best they can. It is not rocket science and as you say the internet is awash with answers to cat behavior issues. There is no reason for a cat owner to be ignorant about cat behavior and then making the environment as good as possible for their cat.

  6. Serbella McGee says:

    I wonder it this lady has even considered putting a cat tree or a kitty condo in her living space for the cat. I doubt it. Maybe it’s a good thing the poor little thing is deaf, and she knows it, otherwise she’d be screaming at him all the time. Climbing is normal behavior for cats. I agree with Kevin, I’d be happy to see him exploring and climbing. And your suggestion about more play time and maybe another kitten is spot on, Michael.

    My old girl Samirah will not climb on anything but her condo and my bed. I believe that was because she was screamed at so much in her life climbing was not a behavior she developed. I don’t believe she’s arthritic; she jumps into every level of her condo just fine. It took me months to convince her that it was okay to jump up onto my bed and take a nap. That owner needs to change her attitude. If he does climb up onto a hard surface, so what?

  7. kevin roche says:

    I think that is quite impressive that her cat is still interested in exploring and is able to function relatively normal..if he was my cat i would be happy to see him jumping up onto counter tops and bookshelves because that (in my opinion) is healthy behavior…

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