If you’re planning to have a white ragdoll or just got one, you probably have the same thought, I had few years back. Are white ragdoll cats actually deaf? We will find that answer here in this article.
Are white Ragdoll cats deaf?
Several studies link Ragdoll cats to deafness, a result of the W gene they carry. The breeds( this includes the Ragdoll) that carry the W gene are more likely to experience deafness than those that do not possess the same gene.
Interestingly enough, parallel studies link cats with white coats to an increased likelihood of deafness, with blue eyes being an additional variant in the mix.
Cornell University conducted a study about white cats with blue eyes/non-blue eyes and the probability of deafness associated with either category.
The results were telling, with 17-22 percent of white cats with non-blue eyes being born deaf, around 40 percent with one blue eye were deaf, and a staggering 6-85 percent who were born deaf had two blue eyes.
It shows that Ragdolls, or more specifically, a white Ragdoll( the blue eyes are a given), is quite likely to be deaf. Some cats are deaf in only one ear. This situation witnesses a higher incidence with cats who possess a singular blue eye.
If, for example, the blue eye is on the right side of their head, then it is likely that the cat will be deaf in its right ear. Of course, there is no universal law that decrees that a white Ragdoll cat will be deaf. It is a matter of chance.
Why do some white Ragdoll cats become deaf?
The phenomenon causing the deafness is called congenital sensorineural deafness and is a common occurrence in domestic cats.
Far more common in cats with white coats than any other color, white cats with blue eyes are often entirely deaf. A 1997 study showed a 72% incidence rate, which further explained the process. It found the animals under observation to be deaf.
The entire Corti in the cochlea degenerated in the weeks immediately succeeding birth.
Additional observation showed that even during the weeks preceding complete loss of hearing, the brain stems of the cats would not respond to auditory triggers.
It effectively meant that the cats could never hear and had never experienced anything resembling auditory stimulation.
In most cases, the degeneration of the spiral ganglion of the cochlea soon follows the degeneration of the Corti.
Genetics also factors in while determining the cause and likelihood of deafness. A lot of white Ragdolls inherit deafness- the result of the W gene.
It is an autosomal dominant gene that is also pleiotropic- that renders it responsible for multiple factors at once, such as a white coat, blue eyes, and deafness.
The gene exhibits complete penetrance in the determination of the color of the coat but has an ambiguous impact on both blue eyes and deafness.
The last two are a matter of probability, ascertained by chance. It is an interplay of other relevant genetic components and possibly environmental factors.
It is not difficult to ascertain if or not your Ragdoll is deaf. If he/she does not respond to everyday sounds, finger-snapping, and cooing, then a visit to the vet is imperative.
If your cat is, indeed, deaf and it turns out to be a congenital condition, then a cure is out of the way.
In conclusion, more often than not, a white Ragdoll cat is deaf. A white coat coupled with blue eyes is unshakeable odds. However, in the eventuality that you are the owner of a deaf Ragdoll, there is no cause for panic.
There are ways to take care of and ensure the safety of deaf pets. It might seem like a daunting task, but it turns easy once undertaken out of love and discipline.
Hi There, AJ Oren here. I am the founder of this amazing pet blog & a passionate writer who loves helping pet owners to learn more about their pets through my articles. I am also the content manager of this blog. I have experience in pet training and behavior, sheltering, and currently working for a veterinary clinic.