Smell is used by cats for food, mating, and danger.

White cat smelling a bouquet of flowers

Did you know that a cat's sense of smell is 14 times more powerful than that of a human? This is due to the fact that the cat's nasal organ has a bigger overall capacity than a human's. The nose of a cat is arguably its most significant organ.

The survival of cats is dependent on their ability to smell. A cat utilizes scent to find food, mates, and opponents, as well as to determine the boundaries of previously defined territory. Scents and fragrances are an important part of a cat's habitat.

Sniffing for Food

The blind kitten will use its sense of smell to locate its mother and latch onto a teat shortly after birth. A cat's sense of smell will always take it to food after that, even if it is in unusual places. A cat will look everywhere for the next bite, including high tree branches and your kitchen cupboards.

Because taste and smell are so tightly linked, any cat suffering from an upper respiratory illness or an elderly cat with a diminished sense of smell may become "off" their food. You may help a cat like this by slightly reheating its food to improve the odor and promote its appetite.

Locating a Mate

Female cats in heat (during the estrus cycle) emit a potent sex pheromone that may be detected by a male from up to a mile away. You'll understand this phenomena if you've ever been amused by a chorus of lusty Tomcats outside your home as your unspayed female cat attempts to flee. By sniffing the male's territorial marks, female cats can identify a preferred partner.

Establishing Territorial Lines

Male cats use urine or pheromones from glands on their cheeks and paws to mark their territory. They will regularly visit their territorial limits, smelling their marks and reapplying when the stink fades. Other male cats will smell the marks and either respect or try to take over the area by adding their scent markings on top of the original.

Warning of Enemies and Danger

Have you ever seen a cat come out of the house with its head raised high, whiskers twitching, and nose wide open? The cat is smelling out possible danger while also gathering information about recent passers-by in this position. If another cat has just approached, or if there was fish in the delivery truck next door, the nose will use a strong olfactory auxiliary organ to relay the narrative.

Jacobson's Organ and the Flehman Response

The vomeronasal organ, commonly known as the Jacobson's organ, is a spectacular organ found in cats, snakes, and a few other animals. It links the mouth to the nasal cavity and is placed directly below the front teeth. The Jacobson's organ in cats may open up the ducts linking up into the nasal cavity by slightly opening the mouth.

The Flehman reaction is the look of the cat drawing air into the Jacobson's organ, which has been compared to a slightly open-mouthed "smile." The Jacobson's organ appears to play a significant part in all wild and domestic cats' sense of smell, regardless of size or species.

Feline Nose Leather

Depending on heredity and the cat's fundamental coloration, the nose leather of a cat can be black or pink. Although the exterior of nose leather is robust, it is living tissue that is prone to illness. White or light-colored cats, like all mammals, are susceptible to squamous carcinoma of the nose and ears.

This malignancy is more common in cats that are often exposed to the sun for lengthy periods of time. There are veterinarian-approved sunscreens formulated for use on a cat's sensitive nose and ear tips if your cat gets sunburned in this area frequently.