How well can cats hear in relationship to people?

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A cat’s ability to hear is nothing short of phenomenal. They can detect sounds at distances five times greater than human hearing. Their ears are so finely tuned that they can focus on two different sounds simultaneously.

Whether those sounds are inches or up to three feet apart, cats can train both their attention and their ears on each sound individually with uncanny accuracy. A cat’s upright, erect ears are controlled by 30 muscles that allow for 180 degrees of rotation to focus in on the source of the sounds.

Consequently, a cat truly does have selective hearing, but what he does hear and choose to listen to is interpreted with radar-like accuracy. It takes a cat roughly 1/600th of a second to use sound to judge distance. They can also determine the “size” of the sound and its location.

When a cat flattens his ears or is upset by the sound of a siren, loud music or raised voices, the animal may well be reacting with pain. One of the reason most cats don’t like to get wet is that water is damaging to their ability to hear, which is one of the animal’s most vital senses for reading his environment.

A woman’s voice appears to be more soothing to cats because they hear higher frequencies than dogs or people. Cats, however, don’t hear lower tones under 30 hertz very well and may not respond to a male voice because they simply don’t pick up on nuances in the low range.

It’s always best to get a cat’s attention by speaking softly because when that super hearing is engaged so is that active little brain. Now, obedience is another matter.

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