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Cats And People Have The Same Five Basic Senses

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by: Guest
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Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2006 Time: 12:00 AM

Humans and cats have the same five basic senses of sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. The two most important of these senses for cats are sight and sound. These are the two that help protect and defend cats against other animals hunting and harming them as well as other dangers such as automobiles. Cats use these senses to hunt and play.

Have you ever watched the eyes of a cat change? The pupils open and close depending on the time of day as well as the animal’s surroundings. In the daytime, the pupils can close to small slits allowing less light to enter the eyes. In low light, the pupils open, allowing more light in. Behind the retina is the tapetum, a reflective covering, which gives the cat its wonderful night vision. Cats can see much better in the dark than humans can. The tapetum is what makes the cats’ eyes seem to glow in the dark.

The pinna, also known as the auricle, or pointed part of the ear that stands up captures sounds that may be too sensitive for the human ear to hear like the sound of running mice or the high pitched chirp of birds. In fact, cats can hear two octaves higher than humans can. The pinna are able to move quickly and independently of each other in the direction of noises.

Did you ever wonder why cats can fall from a great distance and still land on their feet? The ears are what give cats such wonderful balance. Three sensitive pathways inside the ear notify the brain when there is a change in direction or speed. In addition, tiny microscopic hairs called cilia cover the inner ear chambers. These cilia notify the brain when a change in direction or motion takes place allowing the cat to quickly and easily change position. This happens so quickly that a cat can right itself in midair, landing squarely on its feet, something almost impossible for humans to do.

Cats also have a greater sense of smell than humans due allowing them to sniff out prey and sense danger. Nitrogen is one of the smells that cats easily detect. This is important because the smell of nitrogen often signals that food has spoiled or gone rancid. This sense of smell is what keeps a cat from eating something harmful.

Have you ever wondered why a cat’s tongue is so rough? Their tongues are covered with papillae, small projections that cover the tongue. Papillae serve two main functions. The abrasive texture of the tongue allows the cat to pull meat off a bone and pick up small pieces of food. The rough texture is also used in grooming, allowing the cat to pull loose hairs out and to clean itself. The sense of taste helps cats to distinguish between edible and dangerous foods just as its sense of smell does. Unlike humans, cats don’t have a sweet tooth. In fact, they can’t taste sweetness at all.

Cats have a wonderful sense of touch. Their skin is full of nerve endings which send information back to the brain on objects they touch. This is also why cats love to be petted and stroked. Cats use their paws to examine things just as humans use their hands. The sensitive pads on their paws can feel slight changes in vibration in the ground. Their whiskers, which are also very sensitive, can detect movement and also give cats information on their surroundings. Their sensitivity to movements in the air helps cats from walking or running into objects like furniture and trees. They also help cats to judge distances so they know if they can fit through openings and spaces.

About the Author

Sharon B. Gilbert, Ph.D. is an avid researcher and writer. Her particular areas of interest are cats and women's health. For further information visit Copyright 2006 Source:

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