Cats and their senses

Also in Cat Psychology and Behaviour : -


More info...


A domestic cat is has much in common with its wild equivalent. For all human interference it is still basically designed as a fearsome predator and as such it's senses are still very much geared towards identifying, stalking and hunting it's prey. It's taste, hearing, touch, smell, sight and agility are a unique combination.


A cat's sense of taste is very acute. If you ever try to mix some medicine with food you will know what I mean. Perceived wisdom is that cat's do not have a sweet tooth. Though both my own and anecdotal experience would not support this theory.


It's hearing is far more acute than that of humans, particularly in the higher range of sounds it can hear. It's hearing is sufficient to respond to a human voice and a small number of words, (although it's brain often isn't!).Cats have a well developed sense of hearing of short range sounds although a mixture of different sounds and distant noises are harder for it too distinguish.


The cat's whiskers perform the job of guide in low level light. Both the whiskers and hair on it's body are extremely sensitive to touch and vibrations. These features originate from it's original survival instinct. Cat's were often not top of the food chain and as such were often prey for larger animals (or cats) themselves.

A cat has a group of sensory cells on the back of it's tongue which can "taste" any smell and differentiate a huge range of offerings. As cats are very territorial creatures and have such an acute sense of smell it is logical that they mark the boundaries of their territory with scent.


Designed to see in very poor light conditions, a cat's eyes are not good at differentiating colours. It's sight is designed for hunting and as such it can identify small movements and has a very wide angle of vision.


Cat's have a top speed of about 30 miles per hour it's effortless motion is designed to reduce the amount of food burnt in such bursts. Whilst it is quick, cats are not built for endurance and cannot maintain any great speeds for long periods. They have evolved to identify prey in close proximity and to kill such prey with a short explosive burst of energy.


The ability of cats to jump varies from breed to breed. Some cats can jump up to six times their own body length. It's agile body has inherited a mixture of suppleness and explosive strength that is a formidable combination. It's love of the trees and excellent eyesight give it an advantage in stalking prey that most predators do not enjoy. Similarly it's ability to take to the high ground is an efficient protective measure.


The extraordinary jumping ability of the cat means that it is not consigned to the ground as are most creatures. It's sense of balance and co-ordination has been developed to ensure it stays there! Tightrope walker have much in common with cats in their use of a pole for balancing, the cat uses it's tail in a similar counterbalancing manner.

Click here for a printer friendly version of this page
If you enjoyed this article please link to us


No comments found for this article.

Leave a comment