Meet Neptune the Special Cat
How old are you?
I turned 13 just last week! My birthday is actually my real day of birth.
Where did your name come from?
Since my mom knew I was deaf, and wanted a unique name for me. Since my world, or head is very quiet, she wanted to name me something related to quiet. She thought of Space, and went through the planets and decided on Neptune. I like being different and I love my name!
Was he born deaf or did he become deaf?
I was born deaf. My vet called it congenital deafness.
How did your mom adapt to your deafness?
Mom had never heard of deaf cats, and had no idea white cats were more predisposed to being deaf. It really didn’t matter to her, she just rescued cats. She ran a cattery up in extreme N. TX; at our peak we had 33 cats, who were all ferals, dumped in our little community of 367 people. Mom rescued me from a rancher who didn’t vaccinate, nor spay or neuter their cats, and mom spotted me just wandering through their pastures everyday and was afraid I would be trampled by cows, since I fell asleep wherever I got tired at. She must’ve spent alot of time observing me. One day she visited my rancher and asked if she could have me. She was shocked to see generations of my relatives in one barn, and figured I needed a better life. I was maybe 6 months old, but the size of a 3 month old. On the way home (less than 1/2 mile) she figured I was deaf, because I didn’t respond to anything she was saying to me. When we got to her ranch, she clapped her hands above my head and I just sat in the window looking out. She knew I was deaf. But she didn’t return me; she kept me. She vowed to help me live the best life, despite being deaf. She had a fenced play yard (1 acre) for all the animals to play in and figured I would be ok outside, as long as I stayed in the play area. I did. But she also knew she couldn’t just call me back, so one night she flicked the porch light on and off and waited for me to appear. I did. She also knew I liked to stay cool under the house, where I couldn’t see the flickering lights, so she stomped on the porch–both front and back, hoping I could feel the vibration. I did. She was learning real fast how to let me live my life, but not a scary, lonely life. I also learned to get along with all of the other cats she had.
Mom also uses arm and hand signals. Our most used is ‘come here’ and ‘follow me’. She also never leaves me sleeping alone in a room. If she leaves her office to cook dinner, she wakes me up. A deaf cat shrieks, and loudly. Mom hates my shriek, so she has devised as many ways as possible to alleviate my screaming, and the best way to not hear a deaf cat is to never leave us alone. I prefer she take me with her anyway. I am a momma’s boy, and I don’t care what anybody says to that. Mom has given me a life far better than what either of us ever imagined. Because she took the time to be patient and devoted to me, and put in a lot of effort. It is not easy to actually care for a deaf cat. It takes dedication, learning, problem solving skills and lots of patience to live with a deaf cat and to give us the quality of life we deserve. I say Kudos to mom for figuring me out fast, and for compiling her info into an easy to read book that humans of all ages enjoy reading. We added 6 pages of photos, so readers get a great idea of what my life is like
What made your mom decide to write a book about your life?
After 10 years of us bonding together, and doing research (she was a newspaper reporter), she came to realize lots of white cats are deaf, but so were many other breeds and colors of cats. She also figured out shelters all over the U. S. were full of deaf cats, and most weren’t given the chance to live free and safe, like me. That’s when she decided to write our book. In hopes other deaf cat adopters would have the patience, and skills necessary to coexist with a deaf cat.
We have read many books about cats and by cats. Mom didn’t think she could ever get published by having me write the book, so she wrote it. However, after having me on facebook for over 3 years, we both prefer to hear directly from the cats or animals themselves, from their viewpoint, which is often humorous. Our book is serious, but our facebook page is humorous.
What advice would you give to someone who is trying to write about their cat’s lives? (or their life with cats)
Our advice to people writing about their animals is to try and look at life from the standpoint of the animal; try to put yourself in the animals’ shoes, or hoofs and paws, if you will, and try to figure out what the animal would say or do in any given situation.
Do you have any brofurs or sisfurs that you live with?
Currently I live with Smokie, a 15 yr old grey tabby, found under a school bus; Dodger, who was rescued from the fast lane on a freeway in Ft. Worth, after being flung from a moving vehicle, who is now 2; Tiger, a Tortoiseshell foster who mom adopted after spending nearly a year socializing her and deciding it would be too traumatic for her to be re-homed; and Bowzer, my bodyguard dog, who is a mutt, who was rescued along with his littermates, from under an abandoned trailer next door to our cattery. He just turned 3.
Mom ran the cattery for 17 yrs. After all but 3 of us landed at Rainbow Bridge, mom closed the cattery, sold the ranch, and moved the 3 of us down to a city that is alot country, where we bought a house in a subdivision, 3 years ago. Since then, my best cat buddy, Midnight also went to the bridge. A few months later mom brought home Tiger, as a furriend for me. Midnight and I played and explored together. We were best cat buddies. We were the only males. I still miss him.
Does your mom support any shelters or organizations?
Oh yes, mom supports Mansfield Animal Care and Control, and has helped turn our city shelter into a no kill facility, and encouraged workers to place cats online. MACC also partnered with PetSmart, and they house some of our cats in their adoption space at our local store. Mom also donated money to build a cat room with larger, modern cages, which separate the dining and bathroom areas. We call them kitty condos!!! The cat room also features A/C and heat, an industrial sink, a drain in the floor along with freshly painted walls. Now MACC has adoption events, a mobile trailer for community events, and cats are welcome to live at MACC until they find there forever home. Needless to say, our city shelter had a bad rap, but mom and the city employees worked together to make a dramatic change, and now MACC is a nicer place to visit, as well as being a no-kill facility. Mom used to volunteer as a cat behaviorist at MACC, but since Tiger came on scene, all her efforts go toward helping Tiger become a real cat. She never felt carpeting, or played, or got to walk around, so mom is finishing at home, what she started at MACC. Some people can really abuse animals, and for some of these animals, it takes more than a year, to gain their trust, get them to play, and get them on their way to being a cat. Tiger just discovered treats last week. I also update Tiger, Dodger and Bowzers lives pretty often on my facebook page, so my page isn’t just all me all the time. I am very grateful mom gave me catmates. I am not bored, nor do I sleep all day. I have a life!!!
Is there a chance that the book can be pawtographed ?
Mom has a footprint of mine in plaster, and we’ll be using that for me to ‘sign’ our books.
Anything else you would like to add?
If I may add that neither mom nor I recommend having a deaf cat as a solo cat. Another cat, even a dog, will give a deaf cat a playmate; deaf cats tend to sleep the day away if they are not stimulated. Mom makes sure I am stimulated all of my waking hours. Also, it is ok for deaf cats to go outside, IF a yard or area is fenced, or if the deaf cat is supervised. In the country I was supervised, plus I had a bodyguard dog (my first dog, Bandit, a Doberman, died in 2008 of Prostate Cancer), and I had many catmates who kept their eye on me.
On another note, before I was neutered, I was married to my catmate Spunky; Mom presided over our wedding in the dining room, and soon after Spunky and I became parents. I loved being a dad!!! My days were full of family outings. Mom explains this in our book too. Sadly, Spunky and my daughter, Radar, both went to the bridge. When we moved here, I became a momma’s boy, because I was lonely. (Unlike rural living, cities mandate how many animals residents can have, and to me 5 just isn’t enough!!!!) Us cats have a wide range of emotions and thoughts just like people. We feel hunger, excitement, sadness, loneliness, boredom and love.
I am a healthy cat who visits my vet for annual shots. My major surgery was to be neutered, but I also spent 2 days in kitty ICU, with an IV, because I was dehydrated. I forget to drink sometimes, because my life is sooo exciting. But somehow I never forget to eat. I also suffer from ear mites or dirt in my ears, so every 7-10 days mom has to clean my ears.
Our ranch was on the small side, consisting of 17 acres which we grew hay on and sold to other ranchers. Our play area was 1 full acre.
I love to be outside, and I love nature. I respect nature and help mom rescue mother nature’s creatures. Here in TX the summers are hot, so I can watch nature from the comforts of my covered patio. I love watching birds, butterflies, and dragonflies. It is usually too cold in winter to go outside, and I hate being cooped up. I call this cabin fever. However, I can watch the birds from my crow’s nest, just by looking out the window.
Mom has also rescued the following animals: mice, frogs, squirrels, opossums and snakes.
Mom also walks me to a creek, about a half block away, to see ducks and turtles. I don’t hurt or attack animals, I guard them until mom comes to rescue and rehabilitate them. In the last 13 yrs, we have rescued and rehabilitated lots of wildlife. Mom is originally from California, but I am a native Texan cat.
I also love car rides. It was easier and safer to ride in a car up in the country. Down here it is dangerous, with all the traffic, and I find traffic scary, so mom takes back roads on scenic tours of the country, where we see horses, donkeys and cows. I love cows. Mom knows I’m a country boy!!!!!
This article is dedicated to the loving memory of Spunky, Radar, Midnight as well as the others that went over the Bridge way too soon. Fly free little ones and know that you are still loved.
A facebook group of owners of deaf white cats- http://www.facebook.com/groups/2358033161/?fref=ts
Neptune’s Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Neptune-The-Special-Cat/260978582681?fref=tsAuthor’s Note: The author would like to thank Neptune and his mom for answering my endless questions and providing me with lots of information about deaf cats and Neptune’s life to include in the article. Thank you so very much and I wish you the very best on the book. Photos and videos were used with permission.