Top Ad 728x90

The sense of hearing in cats: explanations

Hearing is a highly developed sense in cats thanks to the anatomy of their ears. Always on the lookout, the little feline can be listening to his environment while doing something else entirely. But this is also the case when he is (or seems to be) plunged in a deep sleep because his "acoustic radars" are in continuous control. Let's see why this little predator has such a keen sense of hearing.

Cat, an animal on high alert

Even if it seems to be asleep, the cat is always in standby mode. In fact, if you look at a cat when it's sleeping, you'll see that its ears don't stay still for long. In fact, the cat is alert at all times, day and night, no matter what he is doing, and it is thanks to his oversized hearing that he can monitor everything that is happening around him.

When his ears wiggle, it's because they're orienting themselves to better capture and isolate a sound, much like a radar would. The cat's ears move independently of each other, and orient themselves 180° thanks to the thirty or so muscles with which they are equipped.

A cat's sense of hearing is so acute that it is capable of isolating a very discreet sound in a cacophony of sounds and identifying it. For him, no confusion is possible. But how does this ear work to capture the surrounding noises so well?

Cat: an overdeveloped sense of hearing

The cat is an outstanding predator, constantly on the alert, alarmed at the slightest sound. This faculty is made possible thanks to the capacity of its inner ear to perceive ultrasounds of the order of 40 000 hertz! This is much more than the frequency perceptible by the human ear since it is limited to 20 000 hertz. It is said that the cat perceives up to eleven octaves. Even the smallest high-pitched noises can still be heard by a cat with hearing loss, but loud sounds are more difficult to hear.

The cat's middle ear consists of the stapes, anvil, hammer and three ossicles. The latter are located in a resonance box whose wall is extremely tense (much more so than that of his master) and consequently, they react much better to the vibrations of the eardrum. Thus, when a sound reaches the pinna of the cat's ear, it is directed towards the eardrum. In the middle ear it is converted into mechanical vibrations and then, via the inner ear, these vibrations are transmitted to the nerve cells of the hearing system.

Because of the strong response of the ossicles, the cat has no difficulty isolating a particular sound even if it is drowned out by many other sounds. Her inner ear functions as a filter and each sound is analyzed, both in terms of its nature and its distance.

Thus, if a sound perceived among many others is the one emitted by the movement of a small rodent or a bird, the cat will immediately launch out in pursuit. If there is no sound from a source of any interest to the cat, it can remain quite stoic. In any case, it is difficult to approach the kitty - even with the utmost discretion - without arousing its senses. His ultra fine hearing does not deceive him.

Taking care of your cat's ears

In order for the little feline to keep his fabulous sense of hearing for as long as possible, it is important that his master takes care of his ears. In any case, it is necessary to avoid earwax plugs favored, in the cat, by the L shape of its auditory canal, which does not really facilitate the evacuation of this wax. As a result, the earwax ends up accumulating, which can, in the long run, cause infections such as recurring ear infections. This can lead to problems with the eardrum and may result in a more or less significant loss of hearing.

A small routine visit to the veterinarian is essential to regularly check the good condition of your cat's ears because they are quite fragile. It is also important to periodically clean them with a specific product recommended by the veterinarian, using a tip designed for the animal's ears. Of course, cotton swabs are absolutely forbidden.

Top Ad 728x90