The cat's head-related transfer function creates a directionally dependent mid-frequency notch in the amplitude spectrum of a broadband sound as the stimulus propagates to the tympanic membrane [Rice et al., Hear. Res. 58, 132-152 (1992)]. Our previous behavioral studies [May and Huang, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 100, 1059-1069 (1996)] have indicated that the cat's sound-evoked orientation responses are well directed to the azimuth and elevation of broadband noise bursts in the frontal sound field, where pinna-based spectral notches are prominent and change systematically with sound direction. In the present study, the importance of mid-frequency directional cues in the cat's sound localization behavior was further evaluated by manipulating the frequency and bandwidth of orientation stimuli. The accurate pattern of orientation behavior seen previously with bursts of broadband noise was relatively unaffected when stimulus bandwidth was decreased to mid-frequency bandpass noise of 5-18 kHz. In contrast, poorly directed head orientation responses were observed in tests with high-pass noise (> 18 kHz) and mid-frequency pure tones. When tested with narrow bands of mid-frequency noise, cats oriented toward the spatial location where HRTF-filtering properties most closely matched the stimulus spectrum. These results suggest that important sound localization cues are derived from mid-frequency spectral features of the cat's HRTF.