Your Cat’s Sense Of Smell

Did you know that a cat’s sense of smell is his primary sense? Cats use their noses for identifying individuals and objects in their environment…more than we use ourcat's sense of smell eyes! A cat’s sense of smell is amazing. In fact, if a cat relied solely upon his sense of vision, he’d be lost. Feline visual acuity is, in fact, 10 times less than that of humans!

What makes cat’s noses so special? Well, each one is comprised of 200 million odor-sensitive cells compared to the five million that each human has. Cats live in a sensory world that is vastly different than that of humans. The cat’s sense of smell is so important to him and actually plays an integral role in environment as well is in his relationships with humans. As a result, it may cause cats to engage in behaviors that might seem peculiar to humans.

According to, the following scenarios might lead you to understand just how sensitive cat’s noses truly are:

  • If you have ever placed scented litter in the litter box and your cat refuses to use it, understand that the perfume used to scent the litter is actually a repellent for cats.
  • If you notice your cat sniffing his litter box (and you’re using unscented litter) before using it, he is checking to be sure it’s clean enough
  • If you visit a friend and spend time petting her cat and then come home only to be greeted by hisses and growls from your cat, then you can begin to understand that she immediately smelled your “disloyalty” to her!
  • If you get a new piece of furniture for the house, the unfamiliar scent of it may upset your cat and compel him to mark it with his own signature scent. He may rub himself on it, scratch it, or, Heaven forbid…spray his urine on it!

Yes, cats are unique creatures, indeed. One more interesting fact about cat’s noses……..the pattern on each cat’s nose is unique, as fingerprints are for humans!

Written by Karen


Karen is Publisher of Fully Feline. She also owns a pet care business in Overland Park, KS called Joy of Living.