A cat’s sense of hearing is not just better than ours; it’s many times more acute than even a dog’s. Knowing just how well a cat can hear may be the answer to his better responding to his name.
Thanks to millions of years of evolution the domestic cat is perfectly adapted to his environment. His hearing is so keen that he is able to detect the slightest sounds of movement of small creatures. Add to this an ability to see through the darkness and a sense of smell that is 100 times more powerful than ours, and you can see why the domestic cat is in every way a born predator.
What do cats hear?
Humans and cats can hear similar sounds at the lower end of the auditory spectrum. Cats can hear sounds as low as 45 Hertz (vibrations per second) compared to the human perception of a sound at 64 Hertz. The human brain however stops hearing sounds over 23,000 Hertz while the brain of the cat can hear sounds up to 64,000 Hertz.
In addition, the anatomy of the cat’s ear makes it a perfect funnel of sounds from the outside. The shape of the outer ear acts like a parabolic dish, leading even the slightest sound of a mouse’s heartbeat into the ear. What’s more, the position of the ears close together allows the animal to pinpoint the exact location of its prey.
What makes a good cat name and why?
The theory therefore is that cats can better hear high frequency sounds than low frequency. With this in mind Vancouver vet Dr Uri Burstyn suggests that a cat will better respond to its name if the name ends with a higher pitch syllable, usually a long ‘e’ vowel sound. Burstyn in this video from the Helpful Vancouver Vet uses his own cat (called Lancelot) to prove the point.
Many cat owners go for names like Bing, Casino, Guru and Onyx; various lists of cat naming suggestions from the internet follow similar trends. But in truth simply to end the cat’s name with an ‘ee’ may illicit more of a response from your cat when you call it. Watch the video below to find out what happens when Dr Burstyn adds an ‘ee’ sound to the end of ‘Lancelot’.
Video: © Helpful Vancouver Vet. YouTube.com
What other names are good?
How about some other cat names that use Burstyn’s principle of the high-pitched end syllable?
In other scientific observations cats have been seen to respond more quickly and readily to all sorts of high pitched human sounds, such as children’s voices, a cat-like ‘meow’ and the long ‘e’ vowel. If you want your cat to respond to you, then end his name with an ‘ee’.