Cat Nose Facts: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Cat’s Sense Of Smell

cat-noseDogs get a lot of attention for their sense of smell, but the cat nose is nothing to sniff at. Behind its dainty heart shape and tiny nostrils, the cat nose possesses some powerful skills. With the help of, here are ten things to know about your cat’s nose!

  1. A cat’s nose is their most important sense organ. Cats have 200 million scent receptors! Most dog breeds don’t have even close to that number. Your cat’s sense of smell can:
  • Guide them to prey
  • Determine if food is edible or toxic
  • Discover where you’ve been, and
  • Help your cat find home if they get lost!
  1. Cats are born with a highly-developed sense of smell. Even before their eyes have opened, newborn kittens can distinguish their mother’s scent and locate where to nurse!
  1. The color of a cat’s nose is directly related to the color of their fur. Black cats have black noses, white cats have pink noses, orange cats have orange noses, and gray cats have gray noses. If you have a multicolored cat, she might even have a multicolored nose, too. Some kitties also have freckles on their noses.
  1. Cats wear leather year round.  The naked skin around a cat’s nostrils is called “nose leather.”
  1. Cat “nose prints” are completely unique. Every cat’s nose has its own pattern of bumps and ridges. And just like human fingerprints, no two cat “nose prints” are alike. They could be used as a form of cat identification, if cats would sit for inking their nose and stamping it on a piece of paper!
  1. A cat nose knows all the local animal gossip. A cat’s sense of smell reveals all sorts of details about other animals in the area. Outdoor cats mark their territory with their eliminations, so if your cat goes outdoors, they can tell if anyone’s been intruding in their space!
  1. The nose stimulates your cat’s appetite. Cats have very few taste receptors on their tongues, so it’s the smell, rather than the flavor, that stimulates the sense of hunger. In fact, cats with respiratory infections or other nasal blockages sometimes stop eating, because if they can’t smell their food, they don’t get hungry!
  1. Cats greet one another through mutual sniffing. When two cats approach each other, they sniff one another’s noses, sides, and rear ends before going about their regular business. This is the feline equivalent of saying, “Hey, how’s it going? Whatcha doin’?”
  1. Cats really don’t like some smells. Because cat noses are so sensitive, very strong odors can be distasteful and even uncomfortable to smell! Be cautious with scented cat litter: While the smell might be nice to you, it could overwhelm your feline friend’s nose. Cats are also known to dislike the smell of citrus, mint, eucalyptus, lavender, and tea tree oil.
  1. Some cats lick their noses, but why remains a mystery. Some animal experts believe that cats lick their nose as a reset button for their sense of smell, and that it removes any residue that might interfere with their need to smell other things. Others say licking their nose has nothing to do with smell, and actually signifies anxiety. What do you think?

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