What’s That Little Flap on Your Cat’s Ear?

Hey everyone, thanks for stopping by! Today I want to share some interesting trivia about cats. Or more specifically, cat ears.

Henry pocket1

Whatcha doing way back there? Come closer so I can show you… closer, closer. That’s better.

Henry pocket2

The large triangular flap that makes up our external ear is called the “pinna.” Now, see the little flap on the outside of the ear, at the base? Do you know the name for that little pocket of skin? I’ll tell you…

Henry pocket3

That little flap is called the cutaneous marginal pouch. Another name for it is the “Henry’s Pocket.”  Here’s a close-up picture of my Henry’s Pocket. Unfortunately, this little pocket is not big enough to carry a tube of lipstick or even some spare change inside. This is too bad, because the main reason I don’t go shopping is because I have nowhere to carry my moneys.

Henry pocket4

Here is a picture of Harley’s Henry’s Pocket. What does his pocket remind you of? Look closely!

Henry pocket5

It’s a baby bird!

Henry pocket6

What’s in your pocket? Don’t worry if you have some wax in your pocket, just use some ear cleaner and your pocket will be good as new.

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  1. I love the curly furs in your ears–and Harley’s little avian friend!

  2. You are a very educational cat Daisy

  3. Daisy,

    I never knew the name of it, but my beans loves playing with mine and my roomie’s Maui’s pinna whatever and thinks it’s cool.

    She likes to put her finger in it, tickle and touch and then she crunches our ears and gives ear massages, is this safe for her to do to us? We so love the massages, but the touching our of pinnas, well we love the massages…..know what I mean.

    • Daisy the Curly CatAugust 12, 2013 at 2:50 pm · Reply

      I love having my ears rubbed! If you enjoy it, an ear massage is a great idea (and it will help your bean be more aware of any changes that could signal trouble such as an ear infection).

      • When she does it, she thinks she’s got us wrapped around her finger, but we won’t tell her that it feels soooooo good. Especially if we have an itchy in our ear that we can’t scratch.

        So Daisy, shhhh don’t let her know how much we love those ear massages! It’s our secret ok?!

  4. I have always wondered what that was! Now I know and that was fun! Especially Harley’s flap…er…pocket…er…birdie.

  5. Sooo, what’s the purpose of it?

    • My thoughts exactly!!!

    • Daisy the Curly CatApril 3, 2014 at 8:10 am · Reply

      The outer ear flap works like a funnel to direct sound into the ear canal. Not sure that the Henry’s pocket has a specific purpose. One possibility is that it helps the ear flap fold more easily when the ear lays back. Or maybe it’s just there to collect dirt!

  6. I nabbed this about HENRY’S POCKET from a July 2014 post by Michael Broad. It makes sense to me–and to Merlin, my remarkable cat (http://pictures-of-cats.org/cat-ear-anatomy-henrys-pocket-why-it-exists.html).

    “We know that some sound entering the ear hits the ear canal leading to the ear drum more or less direct while other sound waves bounce off the ear flap. This means some sound waves are delayed before impinging upon the ear drum. Sound entering Henry’s Pocket is further delayed because is bounces around the pocket before exiting.

    This delay causes interference with other frequencies – interference effects – which attenuates the loudness of some frequencies of sound – “[the ear’s] geometry leads to interference effects that attenuate other frequencies” (source: http://interface.cipic.ucdavis.edu/ – Psychoacoustics of Spatial Hearing).

    This is called a “pinna notch” meaning, I believe, that at a certain wavelength there is a blip in the sound (“pinna” refers to the ear flap, the bit you see).

    The interference and subsequent reduction in the loudness of certain sounds leads to the accentuation of other sounds, namely high pitched sounds made by rodents thereby enabling the cat to detect with great precision the location of prey even when it cannot be seen. This aids survival, the reason for all evolution.

    The cat has superb hearing and can hear frequencies as high as 65,000 cycles per second (or higher) a full octave and half higher than people. It is said that cats can detect frequencies from 55 Hz up to 79 kHz. Young mice emit alarm calls at 40 kHz while adult rats emit ultrasonic calls at 22 kHz 50 kHz, both detectable by cats.”


  7. So what was all this nonsense for anyway, since you didn’t actually say what the PURPOSE of the flap is? What a waste of time!

  8. Wow Sharron. Can you plz not be so rude to Daisy?
    Daisy, I very much enjoyed your cute little article! My mommy is reading this with me as we speak and she is massaging my “pinna” while doing so. :)

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