Deaf White Cat Syndrome
The Correlation Between White Cats and Deafness
What is Deaf White Cat Syndrome?
It is thought that the prominent characteristic of deafness associated with white coat color and blue eyes stems from the breeding of white British shorthaired cats and blue-eyed Siamese to produce offspring with a desirable phenotype of white fur and blue eyes. Ultimately, the gene that is responsible for white fur, W, is also the gene in which deafness arises from.
Deafness in white-coated cats is seen nearly exclusively and is caused by degeneration of inner ear. This degeneration can occur in the womb, shortly after being born, or even years after being born. The deafness may occur in one ear (unilateral), or in both (bilateral). Interestingly, it is found that if a cat has one blue eye and one non-blue eye and deafness occurs in only one of the ears, the ear that is deaf will be on the same side that the blue eye is on.
A majority of the time most pet owners are unaware that their cat may be deaf in one ear. And even if the cat is completely deaf, some indoor pets are able to function and live normally. However, for most cats it is incredibly difficult to have no hearing senses. Due to the fact that cats rely heavily on the senses of hearing, sight, and smell, if a cat is without one of these it decreases it's chances of survival greatly. Without the ability to anticipate, react, and respond to their environments most cats are found in very deadly and dangerous situations such as, getting hit by a car or attacked by a dog. The odds of these circumstances occurring increases greatly when looking at the deaf feral cat population.
Transmittance and Probability
Deaf White Cat Syndrome is caused by an autosomal dominant gene (W) which causes white fur, and in some cases blue eyes and/or deafness. Not all cats with white fur or with white fur and blue eyes are deaf. However, the likelihood of a cat being born or becoming deaf if they have white fur or white fur and blue eyes dramatically increases. Research has found that 17 to 22 percent of cats born with white fur and non-blue eyes are deaf. The percentage rises to 40 percent if the cat is born with white fur and one blue eye and one non-blue eye. Expectedly, the percentage increases upwards of 65 to 80 percent if the cat is born with a white coat and two blue eyes.
General Appearance of Deaf White Cat Syndrome
Prevention and Diagnosis
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