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How Far Can A Cat Hear – Distance And Sound Traveling

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It’s no secret that cats have a fantastic set of ears. As a cat owner, you probably know that no sound is clearer to your cat than that of a can top popping open. No matter where your cat is, he will come running. This makes you wonder, how far can a cat hear?

Cats can hear between 720m – 900m away. That’s roughly four to five times farther than humans can, but some healthy cats with optimal hearing can hear from an even greater distance. 

Cats have great hearing and can pinpoint a location from a few feet away. We’ll try not to get too scientific in this article since it can become confusing, but if you want to learn more about just how good your cat’s hearing is, stick with us until the end of the article! 

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How Good Are Cats At Hearing

Cats have fantastic hearing. 

Cat hearing is one of the best when it comes to domestic animals. 

One of the best examples that scientists often give is that cats can pinpoint the location of a sound from three feet away in less than a full second. 

Think of it like this: when you call your cat from the other room, he most likely already knows where you are before you even finish saying his name. 

While that is a pretty scientific example, every cat owner knows how good a cat’s hearing is. For instance, when you’re yelling at your cat for something, it’s like he’s deaf. He won’t turn his head or look at you; you don’t exist.

On the other hand, when you move the treat bag in the kitchen, your cat is at your feet in an instant. Even you didn’t hear the crinkle of that bag!

What Can Cats Hear That Humans Can’t

Cats can hear several things that humans can’t.

Since your cat has more sensitive hearing than you do, your cat will be able to hear more things than you can. 

Take a moment to pause and think about some of the sounds that your cat hears throughout the day and reacts to. You might find yourself saying, “How did you hear that?!”

Here are a few examples:

  • Birds or other animals outside
  • Cat food cans or treat bags from another room
  • Buzzing of a lightbulb
  • Fizzing from a can of soda or another carbonated beverage
  • Ticking of a clock
  • The sound of the rain hitting the window

Some of these sounds are ones that we might take for granted and overlook. Your cat may think some of these sounds are the most fascinating noises they’ve ever heard!

Some people joke that cats can see or hear ghosts in the house that humans cannot, but the better explanation is that your cat is just hearing things you either ignore or can’t hear yourself!

How Far Can Cats Hear In Miles

It is difficult to estimate how many miles your cat can hear from.

Cats have sensitive hearing, to be sure, but it is difficult to say just how far a cat can hear when it comes to miles.

If we realistically think about how far a mile is, it is hard to believe that a cat can hear from even half a mile away.

This is going to matter where you are.

Let’s think about it like this. Consider this scenario: Your cat gets out of the house at some point, and you’re calling him to get him to come home. 

If you live in a housing development or in a rural area, your voice will travel, meaning that your cat will be able to hear you more easily.

If you live in a city or a place with a lot of other noises, your cat won’t be able to hear you from as good a distance. 

How far your cat can hear will also depend on the cat too. A younger cat with a sharp sense of hearing will be able to hear more than your cat that is ten years or older. 

How To Call A Cat From Far Away

Even though cats have great hearing, you’ll still want to properly call your cat if you know that your cat is far away.

Whether your cat is inside or outside, here are some ways that you can call your cat from far away:

  • Use his name. If your cat is up to no good, he’ll probably choose to ignore you calling his name.
  • Try banging a can of cat food. Your cat’s stomach might hear as good as his ears if he is getting hungry.
  • Crinkle and make noise with one of his favorite sound-producing toys. You might think it’s quiet, but if he loves it, he’ll come! 
  • See if you can get another animal to meow or bark. If they hear another animal from the house, they may be likely to follow the sound. 

Mix up the ways that you call your cat. 

Cats are intelligent animals, and if they start to learn your tricks, they’ll just as easily learn to outsmart you!

Cat Vs. Human Hearing Range

Cats have a keen sense of hearing. Cats can hear from a greater distance and at a higher octave that humans cannot. 

The octave of a sound is how high the pitch of a sound is. 

Humans can hear to a pretty high octave, but at one point, the sound is so high that you are unable to hear it. 

The best example I can give for humans is those apps that make a sound that older humans are unable to hear. Kids like to play it to their parents.

For as high as those sounds may be, a cat may be able to hear it because cats can hear up to a full octave higher than humans. 

We say that only dogs can hear those soundless dog whistles, but chances are your feline friend will be able to hear it too! 

Do Cats Hear Better Than Dogs

It may be no surprise that cats hear better than humans, but cats also hear much better than dogs.

Cats have dogs beat when it comes to hearing; your dog is going to have the better sense of smell between the two, though. 

A cat’s hearing is easily better than dogs, but this makes sense when you think about it.

The ancestors of cats were humans, meaning that they needed to hear well to be able to catch small prey, like squirrels and birds.

Sure, dogs came from wolves, but wolves are larger than the ancestors of cats, so they could catch larger game. Dogs and their ancestral wolves could catch animals that you did not have to listen for, so their hearing did not have to be as sharp.

Cats also have an ear shape that lends itself to hearing better. 

While there are dogs with perky ears, most dogs have ears that flop down. Almost every cat that you find will have upright, pointy ears that catch sound better than dogs.