Although it might seem as if cats are clairvoyant, they just have hearing that’s much more superior to that of humans. In addition to rotating their ears 180 degrees, cats can detect sounds ranging anywhere between 45 and 60 hertz. Compared to humans, who only hear sounds up to 20 hertz, they have super hearing. Getting envious is unnecessary; because a cat’s stellar hearing doesn’t always work in his favor, especially when he’s exposed to various sounds that he finds annoying and stressful. Knowing what some of these sounds are can help you create a stress-free, cat-friendly environment.
With their superior hearing, cats dislike loud noises. What might not sound loud to humans, can be deafening and scary to your cat. Fireworks, blaring music and noise from the vacuum cleaner come to mind.
Certain sounds can effectively startle cats and correct them when they’re misbehaving. Shaking a can filled with small rocks or coins, blowing a whistle or sounding an air horn, are common cat aversives. Your misbehaving cat dislikes these noises and will quickly leave the scene of the crime.
There are some sounds that humans can’t hear that are bothersome to cats. Computers, light bulbs, dimmer switches and flat screen televisions, can all give off an inaudible high-frequency sound that can irritate cats. If you notice that your cat leaves the room each time you turn on the television or computer, maybe it’s the sound emitted from the electronic device that’s stressing him out.
When a cat is scared or threatened, he’ll make a hissing sound, blast air out of his mouth and bare his teeth. When you spray an aerosol can, your cat dislikes the sound it makes, because it resembles the sound cats make when they’re in a precarious situation. Your cat might think there’s another cat around that’s making a hissing sound at him.
The Cat Doctor
Michigan Humane Society
International Cat Care