5 facts about catsโ€™ ears you should know for sure

BY | September 14 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Cats are fascinating animals. They can do amazing things. Almost everyone is aware of cats' senses of sight and their smell. Many know about their eyes and noses. However, not many people know about their ears. That body part deserves a good note as well. They can do a lot more than simply detect sound. They control balance and communicate the feline mood. Ears also help to hunt prey.The cat's ears can be divided into three physical parts: the inner ear, the outer ear, and the middle ear. The pinna makes up the outer ear along with the ear canal. Its function is to capture the sound waves and then transmit the same to the middle ear via the ear canal.

  1. Ears and versatile rangeHuman ears are mostly stationary. The ears of the cat, in contrast, have 32 muscles which help the body part to rotate, twitch and enjoy a better hearing range. The ear of the cat could rotate up to 180 degrees. This makes them an excellent tool when it comes to tracking down small prey moving swiftly from one place to another.
  2. Better hearing capabilitiesThere is a misconception that among pets, dogs have the best hearing abilities. This is wrong. Cats have a better frequency range to hear. The dog's hearing range begins from 67 hertz and ends at 45,000 Hertz. In contrast, the range of the cat starts 45 hertz and ends at 64,000 Hertz. Humans in comparison are 20 hertz to 23,000 hertz. No wonder you see your kitty's ears perking up while you and the dog continue to lie placidly.
  3. Maintain balanceCats, like humans, have fluid inside their ears which helps them to maintain balance. The inner ear of the cat has a vestibular system. The latter is full of fluid and assists your cat to maintain balance. Ears are the reason cats almost always land on their feet.
  4. Communicate feelingsA good and attentive cat owner knows what their cat intends to do by the position of its ears. Since the cat has 32 muscles in its ears, it can move the part like a satellite dish to communicate different moods. An uncomfortable cat with have its ears flat against the head and have a tense stance. The annoyed cat will have its ears twitch and erect. If the cat's ear is twitched without any provocation, this means it is trying to locate the source of the sound.
  5. Deaf ears at the beginningKittens get born with closed ear canals. It means your kitty was deaf when it was just born. The ear canals open when the kitten is a week old. The cat will begin to recognize sounds after two weeks. It can differentiate between most sounds within a month.

How to Prevent Ear Disease in your Cat?

Image credit : PixabayCats, in general, are not prone to ear infections. However, when they do get one, it is important to get it treated immediately, if not, it can become chronic and lead to deafness and other complications.A cat inflicted with an ear infection will show its discomfort by pawing or scratching its ear or by tilting its head in the direction of its affected ear. Other symptoms include a yellowish/blackish discharge, strong odor, loss of balance, swelling of the ear, redness of the ear, and hearing loss.If you cat has ear disease, then it is better to take it to a vet, do not try to treat it yourself. You vet may treat the ear disease with an ointment or with oral/injectable antibiotics or may recommend a surgery, depending on the severity of the infection.

Causes of ear infections

Ear mites are the number one cause of ear infections in cats. Cats that live outside or those that often go outside are more prone to get ear mites. An ear infection in a cat may also be due to some underlying medical conditions. External ear infections are called 'otitis externa' and middle ear infections are called 'otitis media'. Chronic otitis can be long-lasting. Basically, any cat can develop chronic otitis. Allergies to certain foods, as well as environmental allergies can cause chronic otitis. Some of the other ways how your cat can develop ear infections include:

  • Not cleaning your cat's ears properly
  • A ruptured eardrum
  • The buildup of wax in the ear canal
  • Bacteria/yeast overgrowth in the ears
  • Very thick hair in the cat's ear canal
  • Presence of foreign bodies in the ear
  • Polyps/tumors in the ear canal
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Self-inflicted trauma (heavy scratching)
  • Deficiencies/excesses of some hormones
  • Eosinophilic granulomas (related to the immune system disorder)

Prevention

Cleaning the ears of your cat regularly will help to prevent ear infections. This will also give you an opportunity to regularly examine your cat's ears. If you notice any signs of infections, you can immediately take care of it by taking your pet to the vet. It is better to get advice from your vet on how to properly clean your cat's ears.Keeping your cat indoors will prevent your cat from getting ear mites from other cats. Of course, even indoor cats can get heartworms and fleas. Flea and tick medication for cats can certainly come in handy. Opting for a high-quality diet for your cat will keep it healthy, a strong immune system will help to prevent diseases.Healthy ears are pale pink in color. They will be free of any odor, and ear wax. Always make sure you cat has healthy ears. A little care and you can avoid a world of pain for your feline friend.

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