How sensitive is a cat's hearing?:
At the lower-pitched sounds, there is little difference between humans and cats (and dogs). At the higher
sounds, humans can hear up to approximately 20,000 cycles per second. Dogs can hear sounds of
frequencies of up to 35,000 to 45,000 cycles. Cats can hear sounds of an amazingly high pitch -- sounds
up to 100,000 cycles per second!
Interestingly, the highest pitched squeak that a mouse can make is approximately the same frequency --
100,000 cycles per second. That is no coincidence. Cats' hearing evolved to enable them to be
better hunters. Cats hunt by lurking in ambush and listening very closely for the slightest squeak
or rustle of their prey. Their incredibly sensitive hearing allows them to be very effective at this
The hearing ability of a cat does decrease with age. But younger cats can not only hear a wide
range of sounds, but they are also able to detect the precise direction of a sound. They can distinguish
between two sounds that are only 18 inches apart at a distance of 60 feet. They can also easily
tell the difference between two sounds from the same direction but a different distances.
Clearly, our cats can outperform us when it comes to hearing abilities!
Source: Catlore, by Desmond Morris, Crown Publishers,
Inc., New York, 1987, pp. 6-8.
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