While some people may think that their cat can’t smell very much, this isn’t always the case! Some of your favorite things could have strong smells for your cat.
Many animals (including humans) are able to detect odors via their sense of taste or touch- they use our food and clothes as chemicals we produce that make up those tastes and textures. But what about smelling?
Some experts believe that many cats are actually more sensitive to certain odorants than we give them credit for! This article will discuss the distances at which most cats are capable of detecting different smells, how these distances compare with ours, and why this is important.
Disclaimer: The content in this article should not be used to diagnose or treat illness, nor should it be considered medical advice. Rather, it is intended to be informative only. Although there are anecdotal reports and studies done on average cat nose lengths, there is no formal proof that backs up any specific numbers. As such, we cannot say with certainty exactly how far your own cat’s sniffing abilities go.
- 1 They can smell much farther than we can
- 2 They need to smell to find food and water
- 3 They use smell to communicate with each other
- 4 They use smell to identify themselves as members of their family
- 5 They use smell to identify potential mates
- 6 They use smell to identify potential threats
- 7 They use smell to find their way around
- 8 They use smell to tell the difference between familiar and new things
They can smell much farther than we can
Many people assume that because cats have very good vision, they are not able to sense smells as well. This is false!
Many animals, including dogs and humans, use their noses to detect odors. Scientists now know that some of us enjoy smelling due to the way our brains work.
Neurologists understand how our senses work by studying what happens when one of us experiences a sensation. For instance, when your tongue feels dry, you will probably taste less of everything — water, food, acid. The same thing happens with your nose.
When you sniff an odor, your nostril closes off for a few seconds so that no air can pass through it. During this time, your brain does something it always does before any sensory experience: It registers “no input”.
This is why after waking up from sleep, your first thought isn’t, “Wow, I feel great!” Instead, your mind says, “Huh? What was THAT noise?” Because you didn’t get anything else – like sight or sound – your brain assumes there’s something wrong with your equipment.
It takes about two days for your body to reset and realize that all of your sensors were working just fine! This is why it may take you several hours to be aware of something new. (Awareness includes actually recognizing an odor, understanding its meaning, and being able to describe it.
They need to smell to find food and water
Many people assume that cats can only detect smells up to a certain distance, but this is not true!
Most dogs have a sensory perception limit of about 20 feet when it comes to smelling. This means that if you do not walk your dog for an hour every day, they will never know you are gone. The same goes for letting go of the leash in a public area or leaving your cat at home alone.
Some experts say that our sense of smell actually decreases as we age, which could be why many people believe that olfactory senses fade after we reach adulthood.
This is untrue! Our sense of smell does not decrease, it just becomes less sensitive due to aging. Because cats depend heavily on their sense of smell, they do not suffer from this problem.
They remain able to sniff out all sorts of scents until they eventually pass away.
They use smell to communicate with each other
Many people wonder how far cats can actually sniff or sense their surroundings. It’s hard to tell just by looking at them, but most experts agree that they are able to detect smells about one-hundred feet away.
That means if your cat is barking for no reason, he probably wants to meet someone new. Or she may be getting agitated because there is a strange dog in the neighborhood.
It also doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to think that she could be smelling something dead. Perhaps her friend left behind his/her hat or collar after he/she died during the night.
They use smell to identify themselves as members of their family
Many people assume that dogs are the only animals who can sense smells, but it is not true! That is why some owners get confused when their dog does not seem to be interacting with them or other things around them.
Many species in the animal kingdom depend upon olfactory senses (smells) for communication. For example, cats rely heavily on their sense of smell to recognize individual companions as well as determine if another cat is a friend or a threat. [Reference]
Cats have even been known to detect cancer by smelling tumors! Unfortunately, because they do not weigh much, many believe that cats cannot feel physical sensations such as pain, which makes learning how far their scent sensitivity goes very difficult.
However, like humans, adult cats develop sensory perception skills at an early age. Between 2-3 months, your baby will learn about half a dozen words. This number increases to over 20 by adulthood. Why don’t we know what those words mean though?
It is assumed that babies begin using language to communicate ideas, concepts, and emotions around two years old. It was also thought that adults retained the ability to understand one word until they were middle school ages. These theories have been debunked.
They use smell to identify potential mates
There are many different reasons that dogs get lost, such as when their owners go out or take them for a walk. Sometimes, animals get separated from someone they’re with and wander off looking for them.
But one of the biggest causes of dog wandering is due to poor vision. Dogs have very good senses of sight, hearing, and touch-they can tell when things are not quite right in their surroundings.
However, how far do they really know what’s going on around them?
Most dogs are only capable of smelling about twenty feet beyond their nose! That’s why if your dog gets hungry and you don’t feel like taking them outside immediately, it’s best to carry some food with you so they don’t get restless.
Sadly, some individuals don’t believe in having a pet, making it harder for people who want to adopt a specific breed.
They use smell to identify potential threats
Many animals rely on their sense of taste, touch, and olfaction (smell) to evaluate food sources and determine if they are safe or not. Animals that spend most of their time in water have a limited range for how far they can detect smells.
For example, whales and dolphins depend on taste, touch, and scent to find food. Because fish do not contain fat, their noses cannot work effectively to pick up odors.
Cat’s paws are very sensitive to touch, which is why some cats enjoy grooming each other! However, many dogs are more interested in getting touched than giving kisses, so it is less common to see a dog who loves being licked.
But even though humans love being kissed, we do not need to go looking for it! This depends on what kind of person your cat is.
Some individuals are just too nose-focused and look for intimate contact where a face kiss is given. It may be difficult to tell whether your pet likes physical touching before there are signs.
What about sniffing?
Sniffing is an important way that pets check out new things – especially when exploring unknown territories. But unfortunately, like us, some dogs get distracted by interesting smells and forget to look for potentially dangerous situations.
It was noticed long ago that puppies learn faster from smelling than actually watching adults around them, making it helpful for socialization.
They use smell to find their way around
Many people wonder how far away or close something is, by looking at it and/or studying its surroundings. For example, if you’re trying to determine where someone left their keys, they could go either way – very nearby or extremely distant.
Cats are naturally curious and so when they want to check out something new, they often times need help figuring out whether it is near or far. This article will talk about some interesting things cats do with their noses!
They look for clues in smells
When exploring new areas, dogs rely heavily on vision. However, many animals (including humans) also have an odor sense that can play a major role helping them navigate through their environment.
Some researchers believe this ability is what made us human special!
We as humans depend more heavily on our senses of hearing, touch, taste, and smell than other species we compare ourselves to. We seem to be better able to process information from these senses due to how well our bodies work together.
For instance, your ears pick up sounds, your nose detects odors, and your hands feel textures. All of these sensations are integrated into one feeling which helps tell us what is going on.
Not only does having all of these senses aid us in understanding our world, but it also gives us a strong advantage over other species when it comes to survival.
They use smell to tell the difference between familiar and new things
Many people wonder how far can your cat smell, how much does it take to wake up a sleeping cat, and what kind of smells will startle or awake a dog. There is no general rule for these, as each individual animal depends on their nose, their hormones, and their internal chemistry.
Some experts say that cats are very sensitive to certain odors, able to detect them at extremely low levels. This means that even if you only left a small amount of odor behind, your cat may be able to detect it.
However, this doesn’t mean they always perceive it as negative, like when someone else has left their scent in their fur. Some believe that by exposing your pet’s nose to different scents, it helps develop their sense of smell.
There are several theories about why some animals have bigger noses than others. A larger nose could allow an animal to gather more information through smelling.