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Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

To flit quietly and secretly past a cat is almost impossible, since our beloved cats have extremely good hearing. It is assumed that cats hear up to three times better than humans. But what are the differences between the cat ears and the human ones? Why do our cuddly pets hear so much better? Or do they just hear differently? This article deals with these exciting questions and would like to give you an insight into the fantastic world of cat hearing.  

Cat ears

Seen from the outside, the ear of a cat differs considerably from the human ear.  The auricles of a cat are proportionally larger, usually vertical to the air and have many cuddly hairs on the outside and inside, which should protect the cat’s ear against the penetration of dust particles. As far as the anatomy of the cat’s ear is concerned, however, there are hardly any differences. As with us humans, the ear of a cat is divided into an outer, middle and inner ear. The auditory canal and the auricle form the outer ear, the eardrum and certain bones the middle ear. The small bones are set in motion by vibrations hitting the eardrum and the inner ear is activated, where nerves are stimulated, which in turn send signals to the cat’s brain. In addition, our darlings have an additional small pocket at the end of the ear, which serves as a bell in addition to the large auricle. The only difference is that the auditory canal makes a “bend”, so you can’t see the eardrum directly from the outside. What are the differences to humans?

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What do cats hear?

  • Cats have 30 different muscles with which they are able to move their ears independently. Thus they are able to locate the source of a sound extremely precisely. We humans, on the other hand, don’t even have a fifth of these muscles. For this reason, we can neither bend our ears, nor put them up, nor put them on as our fur noses can. The ears of a cat serve therefore also as mood-indicators. Set up cat ears, which are directed forward, signal attention. You should be careful, for example, if the cat puts her ears flat, then she could possibly plan an attack. When our cuddly tigers let their ears hang relaxed, then they are in a cuddly mood or just tired.  
  • So our darlings hear with extraordinary precision from which direction the high beep of a small mouse comes, but that doesn’t explain why they hear this high noise, which usually remains hidden from us. The answer is that cats can perceive sound frequencies up to umpteen times higher than humans. This enables them, for example, to hear highly frequented mouse beeps. We humans are able to perceive up to 20,000 Hz (Hertz) with good hearing, cats up to 65,000 Hz. So you see, it’s no wonder that your little darling jumps up as if by magic and sprints in one direction. The beeping of a mouse is very inviting for a cat.
  • Cats are also true geniuses in selecting sounds. You can easily filter out the tiniest noises from a loud background noise. This fact is especially advantageous for hunting. And due to the high radius of movement of the ears, the cat is capable of three-dimensional hearing.  
cat ears -  anatomy of a cat ear


Our beloved kitties can locate and localize sounds better than humans and they also perceive higher sound frequencies. They are also able to filter out certain sounds from a noisy backdrop and have the ability of three-dimensional hearing. The fact is, the cat’s ear is a masterpiece of nature, which should be regularly examined and cared for, in order to allow the cat always a carefree hunting pleasure.