In the pet world, dogs have received more attention for their sense of smell…but what about cats? A cat uses their nose for a wide variety of things. With the help of Catster.com, here are 8 things you might not have known about your cat’s nose!
1. The nose is the most important sense organ. Cats have 200 million scent receptors! Most dog breeds don’t have even close to that number. Your cat’s sense of smell can:
- Guide them to prey
- Determine if food is edible or toxic
- Discover where you've been
- Help your cat find home if they get lost!
2. A cat is born with a great sense of smell. From the moment they are born, a kitten already has a highly developed sense of smell. This provides them the ability to distinguish their mother's smell and to locate where to nurse even when their eyes are shut!
3. The color of a cat’s nose is directly related to the color of their fur. Black cats have black noses, white cats have pink noses, orange cats have orange noses, gray cats have gray noses, and so on. And if your cat is multicolored, they might just have a multicolored nose, too. Some kitties also have freckles on their noses.
4. Cats wear leather in every season. The naked skin around a cat's nostrils is called "nose leather."
5. Cats have “nose prints.” Just like humans' fingerprints, every cat’s nose has a unique pattern of bumps and ridges. There has apparently been some talk about using nose prints as a form of identification, but good luck with getting your cat to tolerate having their nose inked and pressed against a piece of paper!
6. The nose tells your cat about other cats and animals in the area. Outdoor cats mark their territory with their eliminations, so if your cat goes outdoors, they can tell if anyone’s been intruding in their space!
7. The nose stimulates your cat’s appetite. Cats have very few taste receptors on their tongues, so it’s the smell rather than the flavor that stimulates the sense of hunger. That’s a big part of the reason why cats with respiratory infections or other nasal blockages stop eating; if they can’t smell their food, they won’t get hungry!
8. Mutual sniffing is a feline greeting. When two cats approach each other, they sniff one another's noses, sides, and rear ends, and then go on about their business together. This is the feline equivalent of saying, “Hey, how’s it going? Whatcha doin’?”
9. There are smells cats really don’t like. Because cats’ noses are so sensitive, very strong odors are distasteful and even painful to smell! Be cautious with scented cat litter; the smell might be nice to you, but it could be overwhelming for your feline friend’s nose. Cats are also known to dislike the smell of citrus, mint, eucalyptus, lavender and tea tree oil.
10. Does your cat lick their nose? The reason is still unknown. Some say it’s like a reset button for a cat’s sense of smell. Licking the nose removes any residue such as pollen that may linger and interfere with the cat’s need to smell other things. Others say it’s a sign that a cat is anxious or nervous and has no connection with the sense of smell at all. What do you think?