Marilyn ArrivalMarilyn, a charming and beautiful white female cat, adopted a couple in Ballydehob one day. But asthma struck and Marilyn came to us. Marilyn is deaf and will need an indoor, or enclosed outdoor, environment, well away from the dangers she can’t hear.

Marilyn’s Story


Marilyn wandered in to the garden of a couple in Ballydehob one day and decided to stay. She made herself at home and won the hearts of the couple almost immediately with her charming ways. She was a stray, but her complete acceptance of everything thrown at her and her friendly nature would suggest she’s been somebody’s pet. She’s probably been dumped.

Unfortunately for Marilyn, one of the humans she adopted was allergic to cats and his asthma exploded at her arrival. In addition, the couple were going on holiday and wanted rid of her before then. They called us a few days before they were due to head off and Marilyn came to us on Monday 13th May, 2010.

Bep, one of our fantastic fosterers, took Marilyn on board. The original intention was that Marilyn would have the bathroom all to herself … that didn’t last long and she now has the run of the house, and sleeps by Bep’s head at night. Bep’s totally bowled over by Marilyn and we’ll have a hard time persuading her to part company with her I think!

Note: Allergies to animals need not be a problem. I, myself, am allergic to animals but find I grow immune to the animals in my care (and I’ve had 25 fosterees at various points!) – and antihistamines keep me going till then. See, for example, PETA’s Living With Allergies to Animals factsheet.

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PETA’s Living With Allergies to Animals factsheet

How to Live with a Deaf Cat

We’re pretty sure Marilyn is deaf. Not as common in white cats as people think, but it does happen. As a result Marilyn would like an indoor home, or one with a restricted garden – she needs to be kept away from the dangers she can’t hear, such as dogs and traffic.

But her deafness isn’t a problem beyond that. In fact, there’s a few benefits – no problem with the vacuuming!

There’s interesting articles on the net about communicating with deaf cats – hand signals can be learnt by the clever creatures, and torchlight or similar can be used to call them in at night. And there’s even a hearing aid available for deaf cats!

Find out more about living with a deaf cat on our Deafness page.

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Fostering Funs

Marilyn was getting a wee bit bored at mine, so Carla volunteered to foster her for a while. I’ve been lolling at the emails Carla’s sent me, updating me on Marilyn’s explorations and settling ins. I have to include them here:

28/7/10 From Carla:

One verry happy cat, racing around like a greyhound. She clearly approves of the space and the views; playing with anything in sight, pens, brushes, toys. The young swallows are practicing their flying art and she is totally “into” birds; she likes to sit ON the laptop.

Not white anymore. the chimney was part of the circuit and up she went at great speed. I almost had another heart attack, but she came out with the same speed and repeated it a few times just for fun. One verry dirty deaf cat.

In short, we are having a ball.


Do you have any sleeping pills? feline and human. and maybe tracking devises for “lost objects” – she drives me mad, NOT a quiet cat. She got herself trapped in an empty suitcase, god knows how she got in, but she certainly knows how to alert you when she’s in trouble. What a voice!! She’s an expert now at switching on printers and better at the computer than meself, expect next email to be Marilyn’s, complaining that she wants to go outside and diminish the bird population.

Please explain to her cats are supposed to be sleeping 2 thirds of the day.

Marilyn 31st July

by Carla

Am exhausted, M is quite a handful, a bit like these ‘over active’ kids.

She’s very clever and knows 3 signs already!

She is:

  • active beyond believe, high strung and always on ‘alert’
  • very insecure and needy – follows me around, wants to be touching – on top of me, does not matter which part, all the time
  • panics and screams when I leave her sight
  • looks for hiding places all the time and any I try to provide are rejected. Favorites are: chimney, behind cupboards, plumbing spaces, etc
  • her voice is something else – she screams with no tone variation. Other animals might find this threatening and attack.

I think I might have figured out what spooks her so much; in a playing spell I threw a soft toy at her and she freaked, scared, from me. And straight away up the chimney (now blocked off). Could not get close to her for a day. She came to the bed late at night and got sick. There must have been bad experience there – people throwing (hard) things at her to get her attention or forbid her something, maybe. There are a lot of mirrored cupboards in the bed and bathrooms, she might be convinced there are other animals in the house. Only after I let her roam the house (bedrooms) this search for hiding started. Bedrooms are closed now and she is calming down.

There is more to her deafness than i thought. We take hearing for granted – it must be scary not to ‘hear’.

Am still thinking about better communication. Perhaps it could be possible to take a mobile phone apart and keep the ringing and vibrating function. 2 things achieved then, she knows you are calling her and you hear where she is. With food treats one can teach her the vibrating is positive. I know just the person to ask if this is possible.


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Posted in Fosterees 2010, Irish Fostering Tails.

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