If you have a cat, you may have spent many hours staring at your cat’s face and admiring its beautiful features. Although you may look at your cat’s face with affection, you might not have thought too much about the individual features of their face and each of the features’ purposes. There are amazing facts about all parts of a cat’s anatomy, including its nose. Here are 20 interesting facts about a cat’s nose that you might not know.
1. A Cat’s Nose Has More Than 200 Million Sense Receptors
According to Catster, a cat has more than 200 million sense receptors in its nose, which is significantly more than humans and also more than many dog breeds. It means that the nose is a cat’s most important sense organ.
2. They Use Their Nose to Learn About Other Cats
One of the most important roles of a cat’s nose is learning about other cats in the area, which applies to both wild and domestic cats. Cats are a territorial species, and they mark where they have been with urine and feces. When a cat is out and about, they smell the area to find out where other cats have been. Not only does it tell them if another cat has been in their territory, but it also tells them details about the other cat, such as its gender. They can even distinguish between the cats they know and new cats that are unknown to them.
3. The Nose Is an Important Element of Eating
Patch.com says that the nose plays an important role in the eating process for cats. Cats have far fewer taste receptors on their tongues than humans and dogs. Therefore, they rely on their acute sense of smell to determine what food is available and if it is something that is appealing to eat. It is smelling food that triggers a cat’s appetite.
4. Nose Problems Can Cause a Lack of Appetite
Similarly, any problems with the nose can have the reverse effect and cause your cat to suffer a loss of appetite. If your cat cannot smell their food, they are not tempted to eat. Therefore, if your cat suddenly loses its appetite, it is potentially a sign that there is something wrong with its nose, such as a nasal infection. However, it is important to note that many other health conditions can cause a loss of appetite, so you should always get your cat a check-up with the vet if they are off their food.
5. Cat’s Use Their Nose as a Greeting
When humans greet each other, they use a combination of verbal communication and physical gestures, such as shaking hands or back-slapping. Cats greet each other in a different way from humans. While vocalization forms a part of the greeting, a cat’s nose also plays a role. One of the ways that cats greet each other is by sniffing, as this gives each cat information about the other and allows them to familiarize themselves with a strange cat.
6. There Are Some Smells That Cat’s Do Not Like
Just because you think that something smells nice, it does not mean that your cat agrees. Differences in the smell preferences of humans and felines is one reason that some cats avoid scented litter. Some of the fragrances that cats are known to dislike include tea tree oil, eucalyptus, citrus, lavender, and mint.
7. Fur and Nose Color Are Linked
If you have several cats of different colors, then you might notice that their noses are also different colors. It is because the color of a cat’s fur dictates the color of its nose. In most cases, the nose is the same color as the fur, so black cats have black noses, gray cats have gray noses, and ginger cats have ginger noses. However, some colors are different. One example is white cats, as they all have pink noses. If you have a multicolored cat, they may have one of the colors from their fur or a multicolored nose. Some cats also have freckles on their nose.
8. A Cat’s Nose Print Is Like a Fingerprint
One of the features of humans that make each individual unique is their fingerprints. No two people have the exact same fingerprints, and that is why the police use them to identify potential suspects and prove they have committed a crime. In the case of cats, their unique feature is their nose, as no two cats have the exact same nose. Each cat nose has a unique pattern of ridges and bumps.
9. The Sense of Smell Develops Early
Morris Animal Inn says that the sense of smell develops early. It develops even before a kitten’s eyes have opened. It is essential that a kitten can smell as soon as it is born, as it helps the cat to distinguish its mother’s smell. Similarly, a kitten needs to smell to locate where it needs to nurse.
10. A Cat Uses Its Nose as a Tracking Device
A cat’s nose plays a key role in a cat’s sense of direction and its ability to navigate. It uses its sense of smell to recognize familiar areas and to assess whether there are threats in a new area. If your cat gets lost, it will rely on its sense of smell to get home.
11. Smell Is Essential for Hunting Prey
In the wild, cats hunt prey to survive. A cat’s nose and an acute sense of smell are vital for this activity, as smelling helps them to locate and track prey. Many domestic cats retain their hunting instinct and will hunt pray when they are out and about in their local area. However, it is less important for domestic cats as hunting is a fun activity rather than something they need to do for survival. Indoor cats are unlikely to use their nose for this purpose.
12. There Is a Special Name for the Nose Skin
You might notice that the skin on your cat’s nose is different from the skin on the rest of your cat’s body. Not only is it hairless, but it is also thicker than the rest of their skin. These characteristics have led to the skin on a cat’s nose being referred to as nose leather.
13. It Is a Mystery Why Cats Lick Their Noses
Although many facts about a cat’s nose are known and proven, there are still some mysteries surrounding this part of the feline anatomy. One mystery is why cats lick their noses. One theory is that it is to get rid of the residue of former smells to clear the nose to recognize new smells. Another theory is that nose licking is behavioral rather than anything to do with smell. Some experts believe that a cat licks its nose when it is stressed or anxious.
14. Cats Also Smell with Their Mouths
A cat’s nose is very different to that of a human, and it extends beyond what you can see on the outside, says Treehugger. There is a section of the nose called the Jacobson’s organ, or the vomeronasal organ. It sits in the nasal cavity behind the external part of the nose and above the roof of the mouth. Cats use this organ to help them smell by breathing in through their mouths. It is part of the tasting process for cats, as they have a more acute sense of smell than taste. By using this organ, they can decide which foods are appealing to them and identify foods that are potentially toxic. Although humans do not have a Jacobson’s organ they can use to smell and taste in the same way as cats, there are many other animals that smell and taste in this way. These include goats, snakes, dogs, and horses.
15. Closed Nostrils Is a Sign a Cat Is Smelling
As noted in the previous fact, cats smell in a different way to humans. When a human breathes in the air to capture a smell, they will usually flare their nostrils to get more air into the nasal passage. If a cat wants to smell something of interest, it will often close its nostrils and pull back its upper lip to expose its teeth before breathing in through its mouth. They do this when using the Jacobson’s organ. This behavior is called the flehmen response, which is also known as flehming, flehmening, the flehmen grimace, the flehmen position, and the flehmen reaction. Flehmen is a German word that means to bare the upper teeth, and it is linked to the Upper German Saxon word flemmen, which means to look spiteful.
16. They Use Their Nose to Find Their Way
Another reason that cats use their nose is for mating. When female cats are in heat, they release powerful sex pheromones. These pheromones are also released in their urine, which they spray while they are on heat. The pheromones attract male cats who can find out all the information they need about the female from the smell, similar to reading a dating profile. Male cats can smell the sex pheromones from up to one mile away. If you have not spayed your female cat, then you may notice more tomcats prowling around the area when your cat is on heat as they are attracted to her smell.
17. A Wet Cat Nose Can Mean Several Things
If you notice that your cat’s nose is unusually wet, there are several potential causes for this. First, it is sometimes a sign that they are sweating. Second, it can mean that your cat is trying to keep cool. Finally, it may mean that your cat has a nasal infection. If the latter is the case, you may also notice that your cat has a loss of appetite.
18. There Are Also Several Reasons for a Dry Cat Nose
There are also several reasons your cat can have a dry nose. Having a dry nose is normal for some cats, so you only need to worry about why your cat’s nose is dry if it is normally wet. One of the most common reasons for a cat’s nose becoming dry is because they are dehydrated, and the simplest solution to this is always to make sure your cat has plenty of fresh water to drink. Dehydration is more common during the warmer months, and your cat may need to drink more water during that time. A further reason for a dry nose is that your cat has been licking their nose too much, causing it to become dry.
19. The Nose Helps to Keep a Cat Healthy
The nose plays a vital role in keeping your cat healthy. When a cat breathes in, there are various allergens and bacteria in the air they breathe. Their nose acts as the first line of defense in protecting your cat against bacterial infections or allergens, says Pets 4 Homes. It does this by trapping the bacteria and other particles to prevent them from reaching other parts of the body and affecting your cat’s health. If the allergens irritate the inside of the nose, then nasal secretions are released, or a cat will sneeze to dispel them from its body.
20. Nasal Discharge is a Common Problem
A common problem from which cats suffer is nasal discharge, and there are multiple reasons why your cat may suffer from these. Some potential reasons include bacterial infections, fungal infections, upper respiratory infections, nasal tumors, cleft palate, head trauma, allergies, pneumonia, cheyletiellosis, dental abscesses, or a foreign object lodged in the nasal cavity.