A cat’s ears tell all. “Facing forward, just aside, my happiness is multiplied.”

A friend once commented that I have small ears. They’re likely normal for a cat my size, but she clearly had sent important signals that I had missed.

Her comment brought to mind American novelist Ernest Hemingway who said, “I have learned a great deal from listening carefully.”  Hemingway  admired cats for their emotional honesty.  His Key West colony of 30+ cats included his first polydactyl (six-toed) cat gifted to him by a ship’s captain. 

Cats hear frequencies higher and lower than humans (and dogs), tuning in like RADAR to distinguish between two different sounds 3 feet away that are within 3 inches of each other.  That’s a big MEOW when hunting prey and staying clear of predators.

Kittens are born with closed ear canals.  Watch their ears unfold as they gradually orient to sound during their first month.  A left eartip says a kitten is fixed and vaccinated. 

Cats hear five times better than humans. Their 32 ear muscles (vs. human’s six) allow them to swivel and rotate 180 degrees like a periscope for a sensitivity boost of 15-20%.

It’s because cats hear so extremely well that their ears provide a feline sign language for us to learn.  Here’s a quick & easy way to learn:

or How to Listen No Matter How Small Your Ears

It’s not meows or random growls that tell you how I’m feeling now.
My every mood is clear to see.
It’s what my ears are telling thee.

Slightly forward just aside, my happiness is multiplied.
Swivel quickly, bow to stern? Is something up to cause concern?
Tightly pulled against my head when it’s the bully that I dread.
But straight and flat like Cessna wings? Back off! It’s time to end this thing!


This article by Head Cat Susan Kumpf appeared in the July 2021 issue of Positively Haywood by Vicinitus.