The effect of odor on cat behavior.

The effect of odor on cat behavior.

Cat’s sense of smell is far more developed than our phenomenon. Cats perceive the environment and familiarize themselves with the environment through smell. At the same time, they use their sense of smell to find food. When they are courting, they can smell the smell of cats of the opposite sex hundreds of meters away. Follow this scent to pursue and connect with each other. Therefore, smell and sense of smell have many effects on a cat’s life.

Cats like to rub their owners with their bodies, so that the smell of their body stays on the owner’s body so that they can distinguish themselves. When you encounter a cat you don’t know, it first smell its nose and tail. If you “do not speculate”, “fists and feet” and bites and fights. The winner is calm, straight-haired, and arched. The cat, who looked like he was about to lose, fell face up to the sky and defeated.  

Cat’s sense of smell is realized by the olfactory nerves distributed on the mucous membrane of the back of the nasal cavity and the cribriform cells. The olfactory mucosa covers an area of ​​​​20 square centimeters to 40 square centimeters, which is twice the size of a human being. There are more than 200 million olfactory cells inside, which can smell the musky odor diluted to one-eight millionths. When the smell enters the nasal cavity with the inhaled air, it can stimulate the olfactory cells to produce excitatory impulses, which are transmitted to the brain along the olfactory nerve to cause the sense of smell.

When cats are born, their sense of smell has been highly developed, and kittens show a strong tendency to avoid bad smells. It is very important for olfactory to develop well at this time. It allows young animals to find the nipples of female cats. When vision develops (3 weeks of age), smell becomes less important.

For adult cats, smell is an important identifying mark among cats-first face to face, then face to anus. The sebaceous substance contained in the anal epithelium is unique to each carnivore (anal glands are only available in carnivores). The smell is also used to explore new environments. Certain odors can cause rapid reactions in cats. Some companies put some odorants in the garbage to prevent cats from eating the garbage, but the effect is not good.

To sum up, the role of cats’ sensitive sense of smell in their lives:

1. Cats living in the wild can roughly determine the direction of their prey through their sense of smell, and then determine the direction of hunting.

2. In daily life, domestic cats can judge where food is placed by their sense of smell.

3. Cats will smell food before eating. They can distinguish spoiled, stale and poisonous food with their sense of smell.

4. Female cats can secrete a kind of sexual secretion when they are in estrus, while male cats can find female cats by their sense of smell, mate, and reproduce offspring.

5. Newborn kittens cannot open their eyes. They can find their mother’s nipples through their sense of smell and drink milk.

Scientists summarized 14 chemical substances from different biological sources, including the effects of the odor of certain plants on cats. The study found that when a cat smells its odor, it affects its behavior. The three major categories of these chemicals include 7 methyl cyclopropane pyrone , 7 methyl 2-pyridine and 4 methyl benzene furan. Some of the more common plants include kiwi variegated, oriental vine, valerian (asparagus), cat thyme, honeysuckle, and catnip. Cat’s response to catnip is often thought to be related to hallucinations , because the feeling of smoking catnip is similar to that of marijuana. Its active ingredient, cis-nepetalactone, is a monoterpene, which can be detected at a concentration of 1/109.

When touching catnip, the cat will smell it, lick it, chew it, or eat it. After head shaking, staring, and salivation appear, the cat may hold the catnip with its forelimbs and rub it with its head. Usually the skin on the back of a cat will tremble. If the reaction increases, the cat will rub its side. Sometimes there may be excitement jumps. The reaction may last 5-15 minutes, with an average duration of 2.7 minutes. Satisfaction will last for 1 hour . It has been speculated but unproven that the smell of catnip activates the central area related to estrus behavior, because it behaves like female cats in estrus.

Cats’ response to catnip varies greatly among individuals, with about 30-50% of cats completely unresponsive. Although the response is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner, it may change with age and experience. Kittens under 2 months of age, fear and stress , will have a decreased response to peppermint. Heat will prolong the reaction.

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