If your cat is standing right in front of you, (pretending to be completely oblivious to what is behind them, of course), watch their ears. You’ll likely find that they’re only partly facing you. Keep watching. I bet that, at the slightest sound elsewhere, their ears will promptly re-position.
Did you know that the cat has over twenty muscles that control the movement in the outer part of their ear? This area is called the “pinna”, and acts like a trumpet that can pivot and swivel to pick up and hone in on even the tiniest of sound.
Cats can pinpoint sources of sounds far more accurately when they are stationery as opposed to when they’re moving, so this explains the many times that we see our cats freeze mid-stride; they’re listening.
But not only do cats use their numerous ear muscles to detect sound, they use them to convey their moods and intentions, too!
We’ll talk about our moody moggies another time, but for now, let’s get back to sound 😉
Sound is directed down through their pinna and towards their eardrum like a funnel, where the sound then vibrates against small bones in their middle ear – just like the ones that we have. These tiny bones amplify the sound and pass it on to the next drum which is located in the middle ear. The vibrations are detected by tiny hairs on the walls of their inner ear (cochlea), where it is then converted to messages and sent to their brain for interpretation.
Did you know that cats have been observed as having an upper hearing limit of 60kHz? This is significantly higher than in both humans and dogs, and includes sounds such as the high-pitched squeaks of rodents. No wonder our little hunters are so good at finding mice!
Apparently only cats can hear the sounds in this video. Try it out on your cat.[mashshare]
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