1. Did you know that each cat ear is controlled by 32 individual muscles? All the better to ignore you with!
In comparison, humans only have a measly 6 muscles that control our ears, which is kind of lame. Thanks to these muscles, those triangles on top of your cat's head have an excellent range of motion: cats can rotate their ears up to 180 degrees! This range of motion allows cats to pinpoint the location of prey, making them excellent hunters.
2. The fur growing out of your cat's ear is also known as "furnishings."
The term "ear furnishings" is preferred by cat fanciers and breeders, but every time I hear it I picture an aging Victorian-era countess proudly gesturing to her cat's ear tufts at the first-ever cat show at the Crystal Palace in 1871. "Check out the furnishings on this baby," she probably would have said.
3. The reason cats "always land on their feet" is rooted in their ears.
We all know that cats have a pretty amazing sense of balance. The age-old belief that cats always land on their feet has to come from somewhere, after all! Just like us humans, a cat's ear canals are filled with liquid and lined with tiny hairs. When the fluid moves over the hairs, it tells your cat’s brain which way she’s moving. In conjunction with what's called the vestibule, a cat's inner ear system transmits information about whether a cat's right-side up, upside down, lying on its side, et cetera.
4. Cats actually have better hearing than dogs. And humans, of course.
A cat's sense of hearing is five times stronger than your own. And while dogs are known for their amazing hearing, cats actually can distinguish sounds much higher in pitch than dogs can, and can even detect tiny variances in sounds: just one-tenth of a tone apart. This acute sense of hearing allows cats to distinguish how big or small a prey animal is and detect a wider range of species, predator and prey alike.
5. A cat's ear temperature can help indicate stress. But only the right ear.
Scientists have found that the temperature of a cat’s right ear (but strangely not the left ear) is related to the level of certain hormones released in response to stress, and could be a reliable indicator of psychological stress.
Bonus: This shelter cat's very good, very long ear furnishings. We give these a 13/10.
Thanks for reading!