Anatomy of a Cat: The senses

Predator twilight (sunset and sunrise) at the origin, the cat has highly developed senses. It sees its world differently from humans, and he has even lent supernatural powers. There are so many stories of cats who predicts earthquakes or other disasters. The most likely explanation is that its ear is capable of perceiving vibrations inaudible to the human
60 to 80% of white cats with blue eyes are deaf

60 to 80% of white cats with blue eyes are deaf

Its ear is particularly noticeable in high frequencies: it receives ultrasound up to 50 000 Hz when the ear of man is limited to 20 000 Hz Its flag cone can be guided through twenty-seven muscles, allowing it to swivel each ear independently to pinpoint the source of a sound and its distance

The deafness of white cats is related gene "W", which is responsible for the lack of pigment in the hair, which appear white. Indeed, it is shown that the allele W is directly responsible for degeneration of the inner ear, causing hearing loss. Deafness is not expressed consistently in all cats but can be bilateral deafness, unilateral or absent. The kitten was born normal but at the age of one week, its inner ear, instead of continuing to grow undergoes progressive changes. The degeneration is usually complete in three weeks

The view

Focus on the eye of a cat

Focus on the eye of a cat
The tapetum lucidum of the cat's eyes reflect light.

The sight is its primary meaning. Her field of vision is wider than that of humans: the angle of binocular vision is 130 °, for a total field of vision of 287 °, against only 180 degrees in the human although this remains far the absolute record of the animal world.

Light intensity influences the shape of the pupil: elongated narrow slit in bright light, it expands into a perfect circle in the dark. Contrary to popular belief, it is unable to see in complete darkness. It is much more efficient than the human eye in darkness. At night, the bright eyes is due to a layer of cells of the retina called the tapetum lucidum, which acts as a mirror reflects the light received, which the passed a second time in the retina and its intensity increases visual in the dark

However, it seems (this is still debated) that the cat does not see the color red and, in general, it differs very little detail. Its vision is on the grainy images while a moving object it appears more clearly (eg prey movement)

A peculiarity of the cat's eye is that besides the eyelids lower and higher, it is protected by a third eyelid, the nictitating membrane. It closes from the bottom edge of the inner corner of the eye outward. When it does not close completely, it is often the sign of a health problem in cats Cats can have eyes of different colors like blue, green, yellow, brown ...


Focus on the cat's nose.
Focus on the cat's nose.

The smell is of great importance in the social life of the cat to mark its territory. Furthermore, it is its keen sense of smell that enables it to detect rotten food and poison. He has two hundred million olfactory terminals, against five million for human


The sense of taste is developed in cats, less than men, however: in the adult cat, there are 250 papillae containing taste buds 2 000 Unlike the dog, the cat's sense of taste is located at the tip of the tongue, allowing it to taste without swallowing. It is sensitive to bitter, acid and salt, but not to sweet

Its sense of touch is also well developed. Its whiskers (whiskers, but there are also the legs, under the chin, eyebrows) it indicates the proximity of obstacles, even in total darkness, allowing it to detect changes in pressure of the air. They also enable it to measure the width of a passage. It is important not to cut because the cat would be destabilized. The lining pads paws are very sensitive to vibration and its skin is studded cell extremely sensitive tactile

Other senses

Jacobson's organ

The Jacobson's organ is a real sixth sense. As the dog or horse, the cat is able to enjoy the smells using its vomeronasal organ. He curled its lips to allow odors to go through two small ducts located behind the incisors up to two bags of fluid in the nasal cavities loaded concentrate odors
The balance in a fall: the vestibular organ

Its vestibular organ is highly developed, giving a good sense of balance. This explains the surprising possibility for the cats to turn around quickly to get back on their feet during a fall

If a cat had a fall of two feet or more (if that is not the case, its technique does not work) when he is on its back, he can turn to cushion the fall. Indeed, he first turns its head toward the ground, causing the front legs and hind legs The cat is found then the belly towards the ground and takes a position that resembles a flying squirrel. It remains to bend it back and when he approaches the ground, he gathered its legs as if he were on earth. However this does not necessarily save but just makes the fall less serious. Android app