Why do cats ears twitch when touched

Mark Twain once said, “If man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve man but deteriorate the cat.” As a self proclaimed cat person, I couldn’t agree more. But as much as I adore my cats, there are still some aspects of their behavior that leave me scratching my head (no pun intended).

One of these puzzling behaviors is their ear twitching reflex. You know the one I’m talking about that rapid fire movement that makes it look like your cat’s ears are dancing to their own beat. It’s both fascinating and a little bit creepy, like watching a possessed puppet show.

So, grab a bowl of kibble and get ready to learn everything you ever wanted to know (and maybe some things you didn’t) about cat ear twitching. Let’s get started..

How do cats use their ears to communicate

If you’re a cat owner, you’ve probably spent more time than you care to admit trying to decipher your cat’s moods. Are they happy? Hungry? Plotting your demise? Luckily, cats have a secret weapon in their communication arsenal: their ears.

As any fan of The Bachelor can attest, body language is key when it comes to communicating without words. And when it comes to cats, their ears are like tiny, furry semaphore flags waving messages to the world.

Ear Position

So, what can a cat’s ears tell us? A lot, it turns out. If their ears are pointed forward and upright, it usually means they’re alert and interested, kind of like when your cat hears the sound of a can opener from three rooms away.

If their ears are flattened against their head, it’s a sign that something’s amiss. Maybe they’re afraid of a loud noise or they’re upset that you haven’t given them a proper belly rub in weeks.

Ear Movement

Let’s not forget about ear movement. Just like when you’re trying to eavesdrop on a juicy conversation at a coffee shop, cats can move their ears independently to pinpoint the source of a sound.

Rapid flicks can indicate irritation or impatience, while slow, deliberate movements can mean they’re feeling calm and content, like when they’re curled up in a sunbeam for an afternoon nap.

Shape of Ear 

But it’s not just about ear position and movement. The shape of a cat’s ears can also give us clues about their health. If their ears are droopy or flat, it could be a sign of an ear infection or injury.

And if their ear tips are slightly bent or folded over, it’s usually just a cute quirk unless your cat is named Dobby, in which case you may want to get their hearing checked out.

In short, if you want to know what your cat is thinking, just look at their ears. They may not be able to speak English (yet), but they can certainly communicate with the best of them.

Why do cats’ ears twitch

Ever notice how your cat’s ears twitch like crazy when you give them a little scratch? It’s like a mini dance party happening on their heads. But why do their ears do this funky little move? Here are the reasons:

  1. Reflexive Twitching

Sometimes, a cat’s ears will twitch simply as a reflex, kind of like when you accidentally step on your cat’s tail and they whip around to give you a dirty look. This type of ear twitching is usually nothing to worry about and is just a natural reaction to being touched or handled.

  1. Attention

a cat’s ears will twitch because they’re paying close attention to something in their environment like a squirrel outside the window or a laser pointer dot on the wall. This type of ear twitching is a sign that your cat is alert and focused on something that has caught their interest.

  1. Irritation

If your cat’s ears are twitching rapidly or aggressively, it could be a sign that they’re irritated or uncomfortable. It’s like when your phone keeps buzzing with spam messages and you just want to throw it across the room. This type of ear twitching may be a sign of an underlying health issue or could be caused by something as simple as a bug buzzing around your cat’s head.

  1. Communication

Cats also use their ears to communicate a variety of messages. If your cat’s ears are twitching, it could be a way for them to express a certain emotion or intention, like if they’re feeling playful or trying to warn you of potential danger.

Understanding your cat’s body language and ear movements can help you better communicate with your feline. [Why not watch some ear twitching videos of cats, just a click would do the trick]

How to safely touch a cat’s ears

“Good heavens, just look at those adorable little ears!” you exclaim, reaching out to give your feline friend a little scratch. But wait.. before you go in for the ear rub, let’s make sure you’re doing it safely.

After all, as famous cat lady Taylor Swift once said, “cats are like music. It’s foolish to try to explain their worth to those who don’t appreciate them.” So get ready to know some tips for safely touching your cat’s ears:

  1. Approach your cat calmly: Sneak up on your cat like a ninja, approaching slowly and quietly to avoid startling them.
  1. Get in the right position: Sit or kneel down on the floor and hold your cat gently but firmly in your lap, making sure they feel secure and comfortable.
  1. Start with gentle strokes: Begin by gently stroking your cat’s head and face, allowing them to get used to your touch. Gradually move your fingers towards their ears, continuing to use gentle, circular motions.
  1. Watch for the “I’m over it” signs: Pay close attention to your cat’s body language and behavior as you touch their ears. If they start to squirm, meow, or show signs of discomfort, stop immediately and try again later.
  1. Never be a bully: Never force your cat’s ears to move or try to clean them without your cat’s consent. If your cat is resisting, it’s a sign that they are uncomfortable, and you should stop immediately.
  1. Clean with caution: If you need to clean your cat’s ears, be cautious and gentle. Use a damp cotton ball or cloth to wipe away any debris or wax, being careful not to push anything further into the ear canal.

When to seek veterinary attention

While your cat’s ear twitches may seem like they’re just vibing to some sick beats, sometimes they can actually indicate a health problem. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, it’s important to seek veterinary attention to make sure your furry pal is feeling wholesome. Here are some must follow tips;

  • Persistent twitching: If your cat’s ears are twitching like they’re auditioning for a role in a One Direction music video and it’s been going on for a while, it could be a sign of an underlying health issue, such as an ear infection.
  • Discharge or foul odor: If you notice any discharge or a smell that could knock out a skunk coming from your cat’s ears, it could be a sign of an infection or injury.
  • Pain or discomfort: If your cat seems to be in more pain than Jack Bauer from 24 or discomfort when you touch their ears, it could be a sign of an infection or injury.
  • Changes in behavior: If your cat is acting differently than usual, such as becoming more like Grumpy Cat or hiding more often than Waldo from Where’s Waldo, it could be a sign that something is wrong.

[Also read “Can I track my cat with a microchip” if your cat hides more than usual and it’s giving you a headache]


Cats’ ears are like their personal radio antennas, picking up on all the sounds around them. So the next time you see your cat’s ears twitching, give them a little head scratch and thank them for being your own personal security guard against any potential dangers.

In the meantime, keep on twitching and share this article with all your cat loving fellas. And please don’t forget to leave a comment below with your own experiences with your cat’s ear twitches. We’d love to hear from you..

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