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One minute your kitty is settled on the sofa, and the next it’s distracted by a blank wall. You look at the wall for some kind of sign, but nothing you see explains the sudden interest. Some people claim that a cat’s heightened senses enable them to see ghosts or spirits. But let’s take a look at how a cat’s hearing works to see what’s really going on.
Did you know cats can hear frequencies four to five times higher than we can? In fact, they have access to a range of ultrasounds that are inaudible to humans because of their high frequency. Your cat’s ears are shaped like little radar dishes and can move independently through a range of 180 degrees.
Cats can hear a mouse walking in the soft grass more than 10 metres away; their ability to pick up on these frequencies are far beyond our auditory capabilities. This explains why cats sometimes seem to be focused on something invisible: Maybe they can hear a squirrel on the roof or another cat under the window… with such sensitive hearing, just imagine what else they pick up on! When your cat starts looking frantically in every direction for something that doesn’t appear to be there, it may not be looking for something but trying to identify where a sound is coming from.
Not entirely convinced? Cat’s ears are also specifically designed to detect where a sound is coming from. Humans can accurately identify the source of a sound within 20 degrees, whereas cats can identify it within 5 degrees and determine the exact height of where it’s coming from—something that we just can’t do.
So, by moving their head and ears (as they do when they appear to see ghosts), cats are able to determine where a sound is coming from. So perhaps it’s less of a case of cats seeing something you can’t and more likely that they’re listening to a whole world that you just can’t hear….
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