They hear things that go unnoticed by the human ear, see things invisible to the naked eye, and smell a piece of fresh fish from blocks away. If there’s one thing anyone familiar with the feline species is aware of, it’s that a cat’s senses of sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch are magnified far more than a human being’s. But why are a feline’s senses heightened, and how do they work to assist kitty in living up to the nine lives he is said to have? “The senses of sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch are used in the wild to help cats collect the maximum information about their environment that they can at any one moment and then use that information to survive,” says Nancy J. Dunkle, DVM, and owner of Exclusively Cats Veterinary Hospital in Medford, N.J. “They process this information based on past experiences and on instincts so that they can execute the ‘perfect behavior’ for survival.
Eyes That See in the Dark
Like people, cats possess a pupil; however, while a human being’s pupil is round, a cat’s pupil is elliptical in shape. This construction allows for a greater amount of light to enter a cat’s eye. Though a cat is said to have excellent vision, this is only partially true.
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