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Food, sex & domination

 | August 13, 2012
FEATURE

Don’t underestimate that cute-as-a-button nose your cat possesses. Besides looking exquisite on his face, his nose is a super-efficient organ that his very survival and happiness depends upon.

Cats have perfected the use of the millions of odour-sensitive cells in their noses. While he is more than aware it does not measure up to the 200 million his rough and tough canine buddies possess, his sense of smell is still 14 times stronger than his human owners. Hence his sense of superiority over us!

He is also quite content to put his sense of smell to good use, preferring to sniff out infinitely more important things like food, sex and territorial domination for instance, unlike his canine compatriots who get a kick out of detecting diseases, finding missing people and locating drugs and bombs.

How utterly undignified!

Let’s get to the issue of food first. From the time he is born, his tiny nose goes full throttle, expertly locating his mother’s teat so he can latch on for a good drink. Later as he grows into adulthood, he uses this expert devise to craftily detect food in and around his home. So owners, get smart – tempting cuts of meat sitting idly on the kitchen counter will be detected and promptly removed to safer quarters where he can get down to the job of devouring it up.

Now sex! Here the Tom Cat is greatly benefitted by his powerful sense of smell that can detect the sexual pheremones a female in heat exudes even from great distances. One minute he’s lounging under the sun without a care in the world, next minute he’s springing to his feet, scrambling over tall buildings, faster than a speeding bullet for a chance at sex. Ah… the lengths he will go to for the preservation of his species!

Being the macho Top Cat in his neighbourhood also means his sense of smell goes into overdrive in his quest for total territorial domination. He marks his territory by spraying his urine at strategic spots – by ‘strategic’, he means your curtains, table legs or maybe the potted plant in your patio. He also releases pheremones from his face and feet by rubbing his face against these same things and by scratching his claws on it too. These markings are critical to his sense of identity and social wellbeing.

To maintain his presence, he will diligently travel his territorial boundaries frequently sniffing his markings and reapplying his scent if need be. Other males who drop by will sniff him out and choose either to respect him or attempt a takeover of sorts by spraying their own scent over his. It can get pretty ugly at this point (he may have to pull out the gloves for a fight), not to mention, a tad smelly!

Unpretentious as it may seem, his nose is also a warning signal for approaching enemies and impending danger. Has the dog got out again? Or are the grass-cutters approaching with their ear-splitting machines? With his head held alert, whiskers twitching and nostrils wide open, he will make his quick getaway thereby expertly removing himself from a nasty face-to-face meeting with a dog or a noisy grass-cutter.

As much as his other senses play an important role in his survival, nothing quite compares to his powerful sense of smell that keeps him happy and safe throughout his life.

LINKS

http://www.weirdfacts.com/animal-facts/2501-cat-facts.html


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