How And What Do Cats Hear? Hearing Range, Frequency, and Deafness In Kitties

Have you ever asked yourself what the differences are between your hearing abilities and those of your cat’s? How is a cat’s sense of  hearing different from ours? And what do cats really hear?

For starters, felines are among the many creatures with extremely heightened senses. A cat’s senses differ from human senses in a variety of ways. One of the most notable differences lies in the fact that felines can hear different frequencies than humans.

Kitties are simply born with evolved senses. It’s not hearing aids, high-quality cat food, or clean ears that expand their hearing range. That, however, doesn’t mean that cats don’t require special nutrition or regular ear check-ups.

So What Do Cats Hear? Range And Frequency

When it comes to a cat’s hearing range, the low-end scale starts similar to a human’s hearing range.

Felines can detect low-pitched sounds at approximately 55 Hz. Cats hear a vast variety of frequencies and are considered to hear better than most mammals. And unlike other animals with acute hearing, feline furballs don’t use ultrasound when communicating.

So cats can, indeed, hear ultrasonic sounds, but they don’t use ultrasound to communicate.

Cats hear better than dogs. On the high-pitched scale, dogs have a hearing range of up to 45 kHz; humans, of up to 20 kHz; and cats of up to 79 kHz. In other words, your fluffy pet’s hearing is not only excellent in general, but also quite sensitive.

An average cat can hear higher frequencies, approximately 1.6 octaves higher than humans can.

Moreover, your kitty’s hearing sensitivity is further evolved due to its big pinnae (outer ears). The cat’s outer ears not only amplify sounds, but they also help the kitty locate the sound’s source. These admirable hearing abilities are partially responsible for the fact that felines are great hunters.

When kitties are listening in on something, their ears are usually swiveling in that direction. Cats can point their ears forward, backward, and even sideways to determine a certain sound’s source.

Is There Any Relation Between Cat Food And Cat Hearing?

As carnivores, cats get their vital nutrition from meat and meat by-products. These nutritious ingredients include proteins, taurine, healthy fats, and vitamins and minerals.

Lack of Vitamin A, B12, and other B-category vitamins can have some nasty results for your cat. For example, vitamin deficiencies can cause liver problems, hearing loss, heart disease, and so forth.

Folic acid deficiency is a common problem for many feral and domestic cats. Some studies show that such deficiency is related to hearing loss and diseases of the small intestine.

While there is no ultimate “super” food that can aid your kitty’s hearing, it’s a well-known fact that lack of enough Vitamin A acts as the main culprit for hearing loss in cats.

If you think your kitty is experiencing hearing problems, it’s best to consult with a vet. In some cases, hearing loss can be a genetic problem. In others, it can simply be triggered by the fact that your cat is getting older.

Deaf Cats And Potential Options

Some cats are hard of hearing, and for these cats, there’s no easy fix.

One company did develop hearing aids for cats, but they will be incredibly expensive, and not even guaranteed to be available on a retail level.

For cats who are hard of hearing, the best thing you can do is to keep them indoors, since it is unsafe for them to be outside where their compromised senses can lead them to danger.

That Blue-Eyed White Cat Deafness Myth …

A popular hearing-related myth is that all white-colored cats, which have blue eyes, are deaf.

Contrary to this popular belief, not all blue-eyed white cats are deaf. Your kitty can be white and hear perfectly well even if it has blue irises.

However such rare kitties are indeed more prone to genetic deafness than other cats. Sometimes white cats with heterochromatic eyes (bicolored eyes) can experience hearing problems on the side of their blue eye. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that you should shy away from adopting a cute white kitten just because it may or may not experience hearing problems.

Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!

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