Cats rely on acute hearing as an important part of their hunting. They don’t tend to chase prey over great distances. Instead, they take a step back and listen for prey nearby, they would listen out for sounds like rustling beneath leaves, to wait for the opportune moment to pounce. Their ears are fine-tuned for this job.
The external ear, of the cat, is large, upright, and cone-shaped. As any ear would it acts to both catch and amplify sound waves. The cat’s ear can amplifies sound waves 2 to 3 times for frequencies between 2000 and 6000 Hertz (Hz).
Cats can move its ear around as much as 180 degrees, this is aided by about 30 sets of muscles (humans only have 6 sets). This enables the cat to focus on the sound source, but even cats can't move their ears fast enough to localize sounds.
Humans and cats share the same level of hearing at around 20 Hz, but the difference in high frequency sound limits is vast. Humans can hear frequencies of up to 20,000 Hz, dogs hear around 45,000 Hz, cats up to 64,000 Hz, and mice up to 95,000 Hz. We are most sensitive to sounds of around 3,000 Hz.
Deafness can be associated with white coat colour in cats, but not all white cats are deaf. Hearing loss is most likely to appear in cats with the dominant white gene. Cats can also be white due to the white spotting gene, but deafness is not associated with that gene.
According to one study, about 40 percent of white cats are deaf in both ears and 12 percent are deaf in one ear. White cats with two white parents are more likely to be deaf in one or both ears. Cats with two blue eyes are more likely to be deaf than cats with one blue eye, and both are more likely to be deaf than cats with no blue eyes.
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