The Five Senses….


Cats are inquisitive by nature. They like to explore new things and surroundings and greatly rely on their sharp senses. Be it their strong sense of smell which makes them choosy or their sight which helps them catching a prey even at night, a cat’s senses are in all ways miles ahead of our senses. Let’s see how.

Both cats and dogs have tapetum lucidium. This means that they have a reflective layer behind their retina. It is due to this characteristic that they are able to see even in darkness but there is a disadvantage as well.  It reduces their night vision. Also it is due to this membrane that the excessive light is reflected and a cat’s eyes shine green. Cats see things in panoramic view. This is because cats can dilate their pupils. They have a third eyelid, called the nictitating membrane, which partially covers the eye from the side and appears when their eyelids open. Also, they do not need to blink their eyes regularly to keep them moist. The colour of their eyes varies from golden to green. Blue eyes are generally associated with Siamese. Unlike the myth that blue-eyed cats are deaf, they have perfect hearing.

If you have a pet cat, then you would certainly agree that they are very finicky and picky about their food. Humans have about 9000 taste buds, but cats have only 473 taste buds. This is the reason that cats rely on their sense of smell to judge their food as well.
They mainly respond to four main tastes – sour, bitter, salty and sweet. Since they are carnivorous their response to sweetness is less. So in the competition, cats certainly beat humans with a score of 4 – 1.

The other sense is received by their whiskers. A cat has 24 whiskers, the exception being the Sphynx who hasno whiskers. Cats use their whiskers for sensation, navigational purpose and to gain information about an obstacle and its distance. It is their whiskers that tell them how narrow or wide the area is. They work like an antenna and if the whiskers tell the brain that the area is wide enough, the kitty would squeeze through. The numerous nerve endings at their base give detailed information to the brain. The whiskers also help the cat in hunting. They don’t make physical contact with the object and sense the air movement using their whiskers.
A cat’s attitude and mood can also be judged by studying its whiskers. If they are pointing outwards, it shows the kitty is in a friendly mood, but if they are flat, it indicates that the cat is aggressive.

Has your kitty being sniffing all around looking for a mice or that small piece of food fallen under the couch? Courtesy their strong sense of smell, sniffing comes naturally to all cats.
Cats have always been known for their strong sense of smell. It is believed that their sense of smell is one of the strongest among all the other senses. And it is due to this reason that they are highly sensitive, even more sensitive than canines. A cat’s sense of smell is about 14 times stronger than a human’s sense of smell.

Cats can hear up to 64 KHz which is about 1.6 octaves above the human hearing range. You would be surprised to know that the cat’s outer ear is connected via 27 muscles. And they can rotate their ears 180 degrees to get even the faintest sound from the surrounding.

You can now imagine how sensitive these creatures are. Even a slight change in their routine, be it the change in food brand or your regular perfume can be cause of stress for your feline friend.