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February 16, 2012 at 1:06 PMComments: 1 Faves: 0

A Cat's Senses: 15 Fascinating Facts

By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Paws & Awws Blog Series

From their outstanding night vision to their strong sense of acute smell, from the radar-like ears to their incredible touch receptors located all over their body, a cat's five senses are absolutely incredible.
Let's explore them!

A Cat's Sense of Sight

#1. Cats have better night vision. Cats have better vision for night than for day. Their eyes have a wonderful ability to reflect light as it passes through the retina, providing them with optimal night vision and also making their eyes seem to glow in the dark when light hit them.

#2. Cats have slit-like irises for a reason. Cats have poorer eyesight during the day so their slit-like irises help to reduce daylight sensitivity.

#3. Cats have a wider field of vision than us. Cat's have a 200 angle of vision versus humans which is 180.

#4. Cats are NOT color blind. Contrary to belief cats are not color-blind; they can see red, blue, yellow and green lights.

#5. Cats have a third eyelid. Cats have a third eyelid and unlike humans they do not need to blink often (less lubricating) which gives them a better advantage for hunting.

#6. Cats talk with their eyes. Squinting their eyes however is a form of communication, sometimes blinking one eye at a time and much slower than a human's blink. Ever noticed your cat look at you and slowly squint their eyes closed? That's a sign of deep affection and you should return the gesture! :)

A Cat's Sense of Smell

#7. Cats are super smellers. Fourteen times stronger than a human's sense of smell, makes the cat's nose an amazing part of their sensory. A cat's nose helps it to identify food, objects, locate prey and other individuals in their environment. Cat's have about 200 million olfactory receptors (odor-sensitive cells) in their nose compared to a human that has about 5 million!

A Cat's Sense of Hearing

#8. A cats sense of hearing is 3 times better than ours. Do you hear the squeaky sound of that mouse? For a cat, that high pitch squeak is exemplified three times higher than what you are hearing. Their radar-like ears can single out noise up to four to five times farther than a human!

#9. Cats have rotating ears. Their ears can rotate in various degrees with even the capability of making one of their ears point backwards to listen. Their intuitive hearing can help make the cat a very successful hunter by pinpointing the exact location of their prey within three inches.

A Cat's Sense of Touch

#10. Cats have whiskers everywhere - not just on their face.Those incredible whiskers are a cat's primary touch receptors. Whiskers are not just on a cats face, they are located on their front and back legs and over their eyes (those are not eyelashes).

#11. Cats have 3D whisker technology. Whiskers have a high degree of nerve endings at the base, when triggered the nerves send the brain a three-dimensional map of their surroundings. The whiskers help determine if a cat can move between two objects by gauging the distance. Whiskers will also help the cat guide their way through night by the cat moving their whiskers forward, making the whiskers an important part of their sensory code.

A Cat's Sense of Taste

#12. Cats have no sweet or salt tooth. Only recently it was discovered that the cat is unable to taste sweet and salty foods. Cats will typically turn away from a sweet or salty type food preferring more of a meaty food.

#13. Cats prefer savory tastes. Their taste of choice is high-protein and high-fatty foods, making them a carnivore that prefers a meat-based diet.

#14. It's all a little blander to cats. Compared to a human's taste buds of 9,000, the cat has approximately 475.

#15. Cat rely on their nose to taste. They tend to use their nose versus their taste buds to determine if the food they are smelling is something they wish to devour. That is why cats are sometimes consider "finicky" eaters according to their owners. The cat will smell and lick several times before determining if they will eat their whole meal.

Watch out little mouse, the cat is considered to be a super-sensory species that you might not stand a chance against! With their night vision, radar-like ears, acute smell and those whiskers guiding them only gives them more power to POUNCE on you! Then, their taste receptors will determine if you are worthy to eat or not! ;)

Photo Credits:

elislar, H de Smet, ndanger, T a k, alexgorstan, Jsome1


Cat Fancy Magazine, 2012

Pet Place - Understanding your Cat's Senses

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1 Comment

  • Wow! I never knew cats have such superior senses compared to us humans (minus the tasting sense)

    I wonder how the myth about cats being colorblind started . . .

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