Why is my cat staring at the wall?

Your cat is not staring at the wall. She’s probably staring at a place on the wall where there is an insect or where there is some other source of sound which she has picked up. You probably can’t see the insect and perhaps nor can she, but she can hear it. Cats do depend on their acute sense of hearing when hunting. A cat’s sharpest senses are in descending order: hearing, smell and sight. It is said that they can pick up the sound of an ant in grass. And the can pinpoint prey in long grass with their hearing. You probably know that a cat’s hearing is particularly acute at high frequencies. This is a product of evolution as their major prey animals are small mammals such as mice which have high-pitched voices.

Cat staring at something
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Cat staring at something. Photo: public domain.

Cats are not very good at picking up lower frequency sounds. So when your cat is staring into space she may have picked something up with her acute sense of hearing such as an insect’s wings beating or, if she is outside, the sound of a rodent in the grass.

If your cat does not respond to you and she is elderly it might be because she has hearing loss due to her age. Or it might simply be that she doesn’t want to respond. People expect cats to respond quickly because people normally do.

Serval cub with huge ears for sound hunting of rodents in long grass in Africa

Serval cub with huge ears for sound hunting of rodents in long grass in Africa. Not a domestic cat clearly (or shouldn’t be) but a good example of evolution of the cat to enhance hunting of small mammals.

I have found that cats do respond to their owner’s attempts to catch their attention but the response may be delayed while they process it. Give your cat some time and you might be pleasantly surprised.

The domestic cat’s hearing range is between 40 hertz and 65,000 hertz. The human hearing range is between 20 hertz and 20,000 hertz.

Henry's pocket a theory for its existence

Henry’s pocket a theory for its existence. Image: PoC.

Many years ago I wrote about a strange anatomical feature of the domestic cat’s ear flap which is called the Henry’s Pocket. At the time nobody had figured out its purpose, if indeed it has a purpose. I decided that its purpose was to enhance the domestic cat’s ability to detect high-pitched sounds.


Cat senses for survival

A cat’s senses are ready and waiting

Here comes Toji! - Photo by fofurasfelinas (link at base of page) This is a really nice picture by a ...
Ear mite

Home treatment for cat ear mites

Treating your cat's ear mites is possible at home provided (a) you do it in conjunction with veterinary advice to ...
Cat with 2 individual whiskers that curl up and touch both her eyes

Cat’s expressive eyes and mobile ears

The body language of a cat's eyes and ears are worth a quick discussion and I am reliant on personal ...
Deaf white cats

White domestic cats often make bad mothers

The title sounds unfair and biased but it isn't as it is based in biological fact. The prevalence of deafness ...
Hearing range of domestic cat

Hearing range of the domestic cat

The hearing range of the domestic cat is one of the broadest among all the mammals. A study published in ...
'You've got eyes in the back of your head' applies to cats more than humans as they have swivelling ears

Domestic cats have ‘eyes in the back of their heads’

If you are a native English speaker, you have probably heard the of saying "have eyes in the back of ...
Cat Ear Positions - Ears Forward

How many muscles in a cat’s tail and ears?

Tail muscles mainly consist of the following 6 on both sides: M. sacrocaudalis dorsalis medialis (SDM); M. sacrocaudalis dorsalis lateralis ...
Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *