Did you know that a cat’s sense of smell is 14 times higher than a person’s? This is because a cat’s nasal organ has a larger overall capacity than a human’s. Undoubtedly, a cat’s nose is its most important organ.
For cats to survive, their sense of smell is crucial. A cat uses smell to find food, possible allies and enemies, as well as the limits of previously-marked territory. The majority of a cat’s environment is made up of scents and odors.
Soon after birth, the blind kitten will utilize its sense of smell to locate its mother and latch onto a teat. A cat’s sense of smell will always lead it to food after that, albeit occasionally in unexpected places. A cat will scour the entire room for its next meal, including your kitchen cabinets and tall tree branches.
Due to the close relationship between taste and smell, cats with active upper respiratory illnesses or elderly cats with weaker senses of smell risk going “off” their diet. When a cat is in this scenario, warming up its food just a bit can help to increase flavor and aroma and pique its hunger.
Looking for a Partner
When a female cat is in heat, a male can smell her powerful sex scent from a mile away (during the estrus cycle). If you have ever enjoyed the chorus of lusty Tomcats outside your home as your unspayed female cat sought to run using every trick in the book, you would understand this phenomenon. Female cats can also scent out a potential mate by smelling the male’s territorial markings.
Setting Up Territorial Limits
Male cats mark their territory with pheromones released by glands on their feet and faces or with urine. Routinely, they will move about the perimeter of their territory, sniffing at their markings, and reapplying when the scent wears off. Other male cats will either respect the area when they see the scent markings or try to take it over by adding their own scent markings on top of the existing ones.
Warning of Danger and Enemy
Have you ever seen a cat lifting its head high, twitching its whiskers, and flapping its nose when it enters the outdoors? The cat is acquiring information about recent observers while scouting the area for prospective predators. The nose can sense if another cat has recently ventured past or if there was fish in the delivery truck next door thanks to a powerful olfactory accessory organ.
The Jacobson’s Organ and the Flehman Response
A stunning organ found in cats, snakes, and a few other mammals is the vomeronasal organ, also known as the Jacobson’s organ. It is located in the mouth, next to the front teeth, and connects to the nasal cavity. By slightly expanding the lips, a cat’s Jacobson’s organ can gain access to the ducts leading to the nasal cavity.
Occasionally, the Flehman response—also referred to as the “cat pulling air into the Jacobson’s organ” look—has been likened to a faint smile. All wild and domestic cats, regardless of size or species, appear to have a keen sense of smell, which is mostly regulated by the Jacobson’s organ.
The color of a cat’s nose leather can vary depending on genetics and basic coat color. Although the nose’s surface is sturdy, it is formed of live tissue that is susceptible to disease. Squamous carcinoma of the nose and ears is more common in white or light-colored cats, as it is in all animals.
This malignancy is highly common in cats who are frequently outside in the sun for long periods of time. If your cat frequently gets sunburns on the sensitive nose and ear tips, vets advise using sunscreens that have been specially developed for this purpose.
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