Sense and Sensibilities of Cats


Joan Henderson
It is fairly obvious that cats are even more sensitive than humans to sound, touch and smell. Here’s more on these unique sensibilities of our feline fellows.
Kittens are born with the unique senses and need them to survive what can often be a difficult world. It appears that almost from birth, kittens seem to know who and where their mother is and they feel the need to stay close for approximately three months before becoming quite independent.
Amazing hearing ability
Time has equipped the cats with excellent hearing which allows them to adapt to the skills of hunting as well as picking up on a great many more sounds than we humans hear. They also seem to understand what many sounds relate to and these sounds carry to their brains and they soon adjust to the squealing of rodents or the heavy footprints of their pet parents or people outside. I have read that cats have a function in their ears that assist with their balance. Unlike most domestic animals who remain on the ground, cats seem to have no problem with climbing even the steepest of slopes and this is generally due to their sense of balance. It has always amazed me how cats cat leap from one area to another several feet away and retain their balance with little effort.
Amazing sight
It has often been said that cats are colour-blind and, as a judge of white Persians, I have often noted that they do not always re-act when we talk to them. They need to see us before indicating that someone is talking – I never just open the cat cage door and pick up a white cat who looks as if she might be sleeping – this can often make the cat jump or growl because they have been startled by the judge. Cat’s eyes are more sensitive than humans so the best approach is to let the cat see you before endeavouring to take them out of the cage. I am always greatly troubled when I see a white cat – whether it be a Persian or a Shorthaired – out on the road as they do not always pick up the sound of an approaching car in the same way that most cats do and the result can be a badly injured cat. Personally I hate to see cats out on the roads whatever their colour.
Amazing navigation
One remarkable aspect of the cat is the way they are able to find their way home – especially when the family moves to a new area and the cat is allowed outside too soon – often, within a short space of time they appear at their old home. Several years ago I read of a three-year-old cat who travelled from one side of America to the other and turned up at their previous home—it took 11 months and one can only wonder what this cat was able to find in the way of food during his travels because he had been a house cat all his life and his food was always supplied by his pet parents. So, if you are moving home, keep your cat inside for at least one month so he adjusts to the change in address. That way he is safe and well.
(Joan Henderson is an International All Breeds Judge based in Melbourne. She has judged furry felines in many countries including USA, Bermuda, Malaysia, South Africa, Hong Kong, Philippines and
New Zealand.)