Don’t worry, this blog is not about smelly cats, but about their incredible sense of smell! This might be the most important sense organ your purry friend has. Have you ever heard of the flehmen response? Every cat owner has seen it before, but more on that later in this blog!
A cat has over 200 million scent receptors, which even outnumbers some breeds of dogs. (But hey, we already knew cats are better than dogs!). All these scent receptors allow them to guide them when they are looking for a prey of to find out where you’ve been when you weren’t at home. This is also why it’s important to not exaggerate with scented cat litters or others special smells you might use. It could be overwhelming to your cat. Compared to humans, cats can smell over 14 times better!
Just like every human has a unique finger print, cats have “nose prints” as well. Every cat’s nose has a unique pattern filled with different ridges and bumps. Maybe some day this can be used as a form of identification, but we don’t think there will be a cat out there who will appreciate to press their nose against a piece of paper!
Since their nose is so sensitive, cats are actually initially most attracted to food by the smell and not the flavor. If it might smell weird to them, you can already forget they will even try it. Something a lot of cat owners will recognize! A useful tip to stimulate your cat to eat is heat canned food in the microwave for a few seconds. Don’t forget to remove the can first! This will definitely increase the scent and might trigger their appetite.
Now let’s get to the flehmen response. Have you ever seen your cat smell something and a few seconds later make a face of utter disgust, confusion and concern all at the same time? Yep, that’s what they call the flehmen response. Basically, it’s a cat stinky face. What they are actually doing is that they’re trying to draw air into their mouths so they can sniff the odor more deeply. They don’t only use the face for bad smells, but also to detect certain pheromones.
Next time you see your cat frozen with its mouth open, don’t worry, it’s just their flehmen response! (Or cat stinky face, whatever you prefer)
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My Purry Friends