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Lexi - Chapter 9

By Mark Crocker

Whiskers and Ears



      If you donít know who I am my name is ďshe who must be obeyedĒ or if you are human I am called rather laughingly ďLexi MayĒ or just ďLexiĒ. But if you are human and reading this just call me by my real name which is ďshe who must be obeyedĒ.

      Last time I talked about my whiskers and how they help my sight. Before I start to explain how my whiskers help my hearing I want to go over some key points about my whiskers and things you must never ever do to our whiskers. One about thing is never cut or trim our whiskers. This would be like making you temporarily blind or deaf. True they do grow and whiskers do fall out from time to time. But they never fall out all at once. Even when we are unwell our whiskers donít fall out as we need them.

      If I was give a choice between losing my eye sight, hearing or whiskers my whiskers would be the last thing I would want to lose. Remember my whiskers can and do help me at night and when there is no light at all. Without my whiskers I would find it harder to get around. I would be almost blind without them and I would be almost deaf without them. I canít stress enough how important my whiskers are. And not just to me but all chosen ones.

      It does not matter how dirty and messy they get. It does not matter if they get nasty chewing gum on them. But if we are not well or they get something toxic or nasty on them you can help us clean them. Yes soapy warm water and lots of rinsing well do. That is if you can hold on to us and you can manager to hold us still.

      But never ever cut off our whiskers. I canít stress that enough.

       Now you might have noticed that as we chosen ones get older our whiskers get longer and look very grand. This is as you have guessed a sign of age but also one of health. However and thankfully our whiskers donít get so long that they are a bother and hindrance to us. Having whiskers that are too long would be a real bother to us as keeping them clean would be a nightmare and they would get in the way. Thankfully when they get too long or too old they fall out and get replaced by younger whiskers.

      I mean it would never do for use chosen ones to have whiskers longer than our bodies. Just think about the nightmare of cleaning whiskers that are longer than my body and not to mention how we would look with whiskers so long that they look silly. And on top of all that it would be sensory overload. I mean they would be vibrating at the slightest thing and that would drive us chosen ones crazy. And the last thing you would want is a crazy chosen one on your hands.

      As I started last time and I am reiterating right now is that our whiskers are ultra important to us. You see our whiskers are just the right size for us. Not to long and not to short. They do the job we need and that job is helping us get around in the world.

       Now we are going to talk about whiskers and how they work with our hearing.

       As I have said over and over again almost to the point of boring you to death is that our hearing is so far beyond yours that we can hear your heart beat and the heart beat of things that we hurt.

      So how can whiskers play apart in helping us chosen ones with our hearing?

      If you go back to what I was saying last time you will notice a very brief mention of us being able to detect the wind movement of your voice when you speak.

      This may sound like a useless ability but itís not. Look at it this way.

       Letís say for some reason I can no longer hear. My whiskers are able to detect when you speak whether I turn my head and look at you depends on whether I want to communicate with you on not. However as we get older our whiskers are not as flexible as they use to be and they donít vibrate as much.

      Right now I am five and half of your years and my whiskers are still very flexible but as I get old they wonít be as flexible as they are right now. But then my bones wonít be as rubbery as they are now and I wonít be chasing around like I do. But thatís all part of getting old and being a wise old sage chosen one is what I plan to be.

       Now letís look at my ears and how my ears are set up on my head.

      I am going to get a little detailed here so if it gets boring either skip ahead or get over it and read on. I have two ears that on the backside are convex and covered in fine fur. The skin is almost visible underneath. There is a very good reason for this and it has very little to do with hearing. The reason I have such light and fine fur on the backs of my ears is to do with helping me cool down. You see I donít sweat. And no I donít perspire either.

      So my ears help with cooling me down when I get hot.

      Now letís move to the inside of my ears. The inside of my ears are concaved and have no fur but instead have fine hair that protects the bare skin on the inside of my ears.

      The shape of the inside of my ears helps me in a number of ways and not just helping with sound and my hearing. Look closer at the inside of my ears and you will notice that I have a long of long thick hair almost like whiskers that protects my ears from things falling in. They are about the thickness of my whiskers but far shorter. You will also notice that the inside of my ears has very little fur and what fur there is, is very fine indeed. You will also notice lumps and bumps in my ears and the further down you look you will see less fur until there is none.

      I can also move my ears and make the scan the air around me listening for sounds. I can turn them from facing forward to just over ninety degrees. This gives me just over one hundred and eighty five degrees of good hearing. The other one hundred and seventy five degrees I can hear very well but no where as good as I can towards the front.

      Now listen up and I will explain things in a little more detail. Each ear can swivel independently turning from the front to over ninety degrees. Now being able to swivel my ears like I can is very useful for us chosen ones. It helps us with being able to tell how far away something is and in what direction it is in.

      Let me explain unless you know something about triangulation. Letís say that there is a mouse off to my left side. By listening careful for the mousse heart beat I can tell where it is and how far away. You see sound traveling from my left side with reach my left ear before it reaches my right ear. Knowing the difference in time from one ear to the other tells me where the mouse is. Also by working out the angle from my right ear I can work out how far away the mouse is.

      Being a chosen one I can do this so fast that I really donít think about it. You could say it is something I do on an instinctual level. However it is something we are not born with but something we have to learn. Often times when you see a very young chosen one play hunting what they are doing is learning how to judge where something is by the time of the sound hitting one ear before hitting the other. And to be honest itís funny to watch as to start with they often miss and look so silly when they do.

       Now letís say the mouse is moving or trying to run away. Again by using the sound of the mouse and its heartbeat I can tell how fast it is moving and in which direction. Yes I know I have hardly mentioned how my whiskers help my hearing and I will get to that soon. I can use my hearing for other things other than hunting.

      Letís say I canít see. As you know if you have read my pervious thoughts titled ďmy whiskersĒ you will know that I can use my whiskers to find my way around when itís totally dark. Now my hearing can help me much in the same way as my whiskers do when itís totally dark. This is done by how the sound changes as I pass something.

       I want you to try something. Go outside and walk fast and listen to the sound things make as you walk by. You will hear a sound as you pass by. Ok so that did not work to well. What you need to do is do that again with your eyes closed and listen harder.

      So itís hard for you to be able to listen to sounds as you pass by them. But they are there trust me when I tell you its so. If you listen hard you can hear the sound as the object gets closer and then as it gets further away. Now if you know the speed you are traveling at and how long it takes for the sound to get to you from where the object is you can work out how far away it is.

       Now factor in that the air coming towards you from that object vibrates the air and then add in whiskers that vibrate when air hits them you should be able tell you how fast you are moving what size the object is and what angle the object is to you.

      But you donít have whiskers so you canít do that.

      The thing is that the air currents coming off the object makes my whiskers vibrate and I can give a much more accurate direction of where the object is. Now lets so I canít see anymore. I become totally blind. Well, my whiskers help my hearing and makes it almost like I can see. Think of it this way. Around you the air is always moving. It moves when the wind blows, it moves when you walk, it moves when you talk. The air is never still and knowing that the air is never still come into play when I talk about and explain how my whiskers and hearing work together.

      You still donít get how my whiskers and ears work together. ?

      Ok let me explain it another way. When one of us chosen ones goes hunting we use sight, sound and smell to hunt with. As we move though the world low to the ground hunting we focus on our prey. With our eye sight fixed on the target we are blind to the world around us and unaware of anything that might be hunting us. But by using our hearing we can hear if anything is trying to creep up on us. Now this is when our whiskers come into play in a big way.

       Now letís say Itís me out hunting. Remember a few moments ago I said that the air is always moving. Well letís say I focused in a nice juicy mouse that I am going to have for dinner. All I can see is the mouse sitting there munching on something with its ear listening for anything such as me that is out to eat it. At this point I am wide open to be eaten myself and this is where my whiskers really come into play. There I am crouched down ready to pounce on the mouse suddenly my whiskers start vibrating. Now I could turn my head and look, but that would mean that I would lose sight of the mouse and I wonít have my mid afternoon snack. So I turn my ears and listen without taking my eyes off that nice juicy mouse. Now by listening I can get a rough idea of the size of the thing behind me, how fast it is moving and if its getting dangerously close to me.

      Now as I am down wind from the mouse so it wonít smell me I canít smell whatís behind me. But then I donít need to as I have my ears and whiskers giving input into what is behind me. Did you read how I just used my whiskers to tell what was behind me? Almost like seeing and hearing all at once. By using my ears and whiskers together I get a very detailed picture of what is around me. Now if you think I am making this up you need to go online and do some research much as my human does. When I have finished explaining about my whiskers I am going to add some links to help you better understand our whiskers and how important they are to us.

      Letís go over the facts about my hearing and my whiskers.
  • My whiskers vibrate to help me track sounds.
  • My whiskers work with my hearing so that I can know how far something is away from me.
  • My whiskers can tell me if something is sneaking up behind me and therefore a danger to me.
  • My whiskers can tell me how fast I am moving by how much they vibrate.
  • My whiskers can tell me how fast something is moving again by how much they vibrate.


      I am going to take a break from writing for a while as it plays nasty tunes on my claws. I will return to writing in a few months. Until then Take care of your chosen one.
She who must be obeyed. Meow .

      Oh, if you have any questions feel free to contact me at lexithecatsworld@gmail.com

Handy Links: cat-whiskers-7-facts

why cats have whiskers


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