Anatomical characteristics of Cat Ears
The cat ears are multitasking: precise hearing organs, sophisticated communication tools, and physical attributes form the elegant silhouette of the cat... We detail in this article how useful they are for our feline friends!
Cat ears: anatomical characteristics
The cat, this agile little feline, always has its senses on alert. Its ears are very mobile and allow it to hear sounds, even the smallest, with precision. Let’s detail the anatomy of this sensitive organ:
Impossible not to notice the pavilion of the cat ears. Proudly erected on the top of your little companion's head, it captures and amplifies the sounds heard from all sides;
At the base of the pavilion, we distinguish the entrance to the auditory canal. This descends almost vertically and then forms a right angle. The eardrum is at the end of the conduit;
Internally, we find the Eustachian tube, the middle ear, and the inner ear, which is located a little above the eardrum. It is an organ that plays an important role in balance.
In some cat breeds, the anatomical structures of the ears have changed. Scottish fold cats have folded ears. likewise American Curl, Ukrainian Levkoy and Highlander Cats have different anatomical ears. You can check out our Cat Breeds blog to learn about cat breeds and their different traits.
Good to know: The middle ear is also called the tympanic bulla because it forms a kind of small cavity at the back of the eardrum.
The Cat Ears as a means of communication
In addition to their auditory acuity, the cat uses its ears to communicate. Felines have a very wide range of communication. We can say that they use their tails and also the postures of their ears are an integral part of it. We can retain three important positions:
The cat's ears are straight, attentive to the different sounds that surround it: the cat is in an attitude of expectation, relaxation, or quiet listening. You will notice that his face is relaxed and if he looks at you, he may blink to tell you that everything is fine.
Ears turned back, black eyes, tense face, arched body, puffy hair, threatening growl, this cat is angry and wants to intimidate the intruder who is in front of him. If he's talking to you like that, leave him alone or you risk a good scratch;
If, on the other hand, the cat's ears are flat back, this means that it is in a state of intense fear, its whole body is gathered together, lying on the ground or ready to run away. Attention! The cat is extremely defensive and if it does not have the opportunity to escape what terrifies it, it will attack.
Good to know: It can be very useful to know how to decipher the body language of cats. It is not enough to look at a single part of the body to understand what your little feline wants to say, its whole being, its expressions, and its meows will give you complete information on its mood at the moment.
Diseases in Cat Ears
Cats' ears can be affected by more or less serious pathologies or infections, you should never neglect them and leave a problem lying around that might seem trivial to us at first. Here are the most common diseases in cat ears:
It is the result of an infection by a parasite or bacteria. The primary cause of otitis externa in cats is ear mites (mites, Otodectes cynotis, invade the ear canal). It is usually spotted by the "coffee grounds"-looking deposit in the cat's ear and the unbearable itching it causes.
Rather inflammatory, here it is the inner ear or the middle ear that is affected. A foreign body that has fallen into the ear canal can also cause internal otitis. The cat generally has its ears lowered, and shakes its head, it can even stagger or lose its balance if the inner ear is affected.
Deafness in cats
Cats can also be deaf. It happens that the cat is deaf only in one ear, we meet for example this case in white cats with odd eyes (one blue eye and the other of another color), the deaf ear being on the side with the clearest eye. All-white cats with blue eyes have a high risk of being deaf.
Squamous cell carcinoma
There is cancer of the pinna of the cat ears, it is squamous cell carcinoma. It usually affects cats with light skin and hair. The edges of the ears thicken, become crusty, and then become more and more damaged. Veterinarians can then resort to surgery to stop the spread of the tumor, they cut the ear flap affected by the pathology.
Good to know: To prevent these conditions, consider regularly inspecting the condition of your cat's ears. You can clean with a compress and a specialized cleaning product (never use a cotton swab) and if you have any doubts, talk to your veterinarian quickly who will be able to auscultate using appropriate instruments. If you learn more about how to care for yourkitties, you can check out our Cat Care blog for the tips and guides.