Cat Nose Knows

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Flickr: lissalou66

Cats' nose is a very small organ, but perhaps the most important organ that enables a cat's survival in the wild. Cats are sensory creatures that rely heavily on their sense of smell. A cat interprets his world as a world full of smells and odors. They use their nose to distinguish friends from foes, to select their mates, trace their territory and seek out food.

Food

When cats are born, their eyes are shut. However, they are able to locate their mother cat by sniffing out her whereabouts. Cats can smell food from afar. In fact  according to their sense of smell is 14 times stronger than ours. It is no surprise that cats can smell odors in the house that we cannot. The way cats determine a savory food is by smelling it because taste is associated to smell in felines. The better it smells, the more attractive the food is. The reason that cats with upper respiratory infections often experience loss of appetite is because their nose is congested, blocking their ability to smell food properly.

Territory

Cats mark their territory often by spraying. A tom cat uses this method to signal other cats that he has occupied the area. Other cats receive his message through sniffing out his urine odor. In fact, in a multi-cat household, spraying can be common if the cats have not established their social status. A more dominant cat may communicate by spraying, leaving his strongest scent to his opponents.

Mating

An unspayed female cat is able to tell which tomcat she wants to mate with by smelling the scent of all the male cats. She is able to see which one has the characteristics she is looking for. On the other hand, when a female cat is in heat, she exudes a powerful pheromone that can easily allure tomcats. Tomcats can even sniff out the pheromone from a distance even between a closed door.

Jacobson's Organ

Besides using their nose, cats have another amazing organ that aids them in smelling. It's called Jacobson's organ or vomeronasal organ located in their mouth behind the front teeth. When cats detect a strong odor, they often open their mouth slightly, breathing through it, allowing the smell to travel into their mouth and captured by the Jacobson's organ. Cats are able to use this powerful organ to tell the gender of a cat, his health status, even predict unusual occurrence such as natural disasters.

Nose Leather

Cats' nose leather is a bit tough since it is often used to contact with random objects. There are mainly 2 nose leather colors: pink and black. Some cats have primarily a pink nose pad with black speckles scattered around. Cats nose leather is similar to human finger prints. No feline noseprints are ever alike.

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