The Mysterious Pockets on Your Cat’s Ears


I’m sure you’ve noticed the intriguing structure at the base of the outer part of your cat’s ear. It’s that delicate slit that forms a tiny pouch. Medically, this thin flap of skin is known as the cutaneous marginal pouch, but the name you’ll most often hear when referring to this part of a cat’s ear anatomy, is Henry’s pocket.
What is the Function of Henry’s Pocket?
Well, the exact function isn’t really known, after all, cats certainly do like to keep secrets, don’t they? Experts do have possible theories though. It’s believed that this special ear feature helps funnel sound down into the ear canal and aids in sound location. Henry’s pocket may also enhance the ability to detect higher pitched sounds.
The thin pouch may also play a pivotal role in body language as it might help the cat’s ability to flatten the ears back against the head.

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The Elusive Origin of the Name
Where the name “Henry’s pocket” comes from is a question that remains unanswered. Perhaps only cats are the keepers of that information.
Photo: Erik Jan Leusink on Unsplash
Is Henry’s Pocket Exclusive to Cats?
Cats aren’t the only animals with this special ear design. Some dogs also have their own Henry’s pockets, and you can find them on the ears of bats and weasels too.
Photo: Pam Johnson-Bennett
A Hiding Place for Parasites
Because of the design of these ear pouches, they can be the perfect hideout for bacteria, infection, and parasites. When checking for parasites, especially ticks, remember to inspect that thin little ear pouch as well.
If you notice your cat scratching or pawing at the ears, it’s time for a veterinary exam to check for infection, ear mites, fleas, or ticks.
Need More Information?
If you’re interested in learning more about cat behavior and training, refer to the books by Pam Johnson-Bennett. Pam’s books are available at bookstores and online. We’ve included links to Amazon here on our website.
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