4 Reasons Why Cats Flatten Their Ears

Pexels // Stefan Prutsch

Cats sometimes go into “airplane mode” and flatten their ears. Not only is it cute, it is deliberately cute. For real! Here’s why:

What Makes Cat Ears So Special?

Firstly, the context. Did you know that cats have 32 muscles in each ear? It allows for a 180-degree rotation movement and helps them identify the source of sounds and hear better during noisy situations. They almost serve as built-in antennas!

A Long, Complicated Name

We know that the name “airplane ears” is cuter, but the official name for this term is “cutaneous marginal pouch flattening” (CMPF).

Pexels // Mk7 Bober

CMPF is the process of folding the skin along the outer edge of a cat’s ear. This movement helps cats protect their ears from damage in certain situations, for both domestic and wild species. Interestingly, the wild ones put their ears back to protect themselves from predators.

Why Cats Flatten Their Ears

Airplane ears tell a lot about a cat’s mood. It is their way of communicating and expressing their emotions. Understanding these gestures can help you strengthen the bond with your furry friend. Here are four things your cat might be trying to tell you:

Pexels // Arjunn. la

1. “Let’s play!”
Airplane ears sometimes indicate a cat’s desire to play. It can also be accompanied by other playful behaviors, like chasing after a toy.

2. “I’m feeling a bit scared.”
If your cat is feeling threatened or anxious, they tend to flatten their ears against their head. This means they’re trying to protect themselves. It may also mean they’re protecting their ears from getting damaged in a fight.

3. “I’m trying to assess the situation.”
Cats often use their ears to scan a potentially dangerous situation. Flattening their ears can also mean they’re unsure about something.

4. “I’m annoyed, FYI!”
Other signs of annoyance might be hissing, biting, and scratching. Also, if cats are upset by a loud noise or another cat, they can make this movement, too.