The nose knows: Cats' sense of smell!

This week I was thinking about my cat's cute little nose and wondering, do cats have a good sense of smell? And, who has a better sense of smell, cats or dogs? So, I did some research on the senses of a cat and according to, cats have around 200 million scent receptors, compared to only 6 million that people have! says that a cat's sense of smell is roughly 14 times stronger than that of us humans, so compared to humans, cats are super sniffers! also says that most dogs have fewer scent receptors than cats, although there are a few breeds of dog that have more, like bloodhounds, who are famous for their strong sense of smell. They say a bloodhound has around 600 million scent receptors. 

There is another factor that goes into sense of smell too, and that is the ability to distinguish different smells from each other. says that there is a sensor called the V1 receptor that helps with that. Humans have 2 of these, dogs have 9, but cats have a whopping 30 of them! That means that once again the feline sense of smell wins the contest! Cats are better at detecting subtle differences in a scent that might smell the same to us (or even to a dog!)

But, not only that, cats also have an extra super power when it comes to sense of smell. They have an extra sensor in the roof of their mouth called the vomeronasal organ or Jacobson's organ. You may have seen cats online taking a whiff of something, and then pulling it's lips in or scrunching it's face, well says this cat stink face is actually called the Flehmen response and helps the cat open up the ducts leading to the vomeronasal organ. says the stinky cat face is used to detect pheromones.

But, even though cats are super smellers and can out do most dogs, I doubt drug sniffing cats are coming any time soon. If you know about cats, you'll know that cats do what they want to do, and while they might be able to sniff out contraband, they probably couldn't be bothered to let any one know. So, what do cats use their super sense of smell for? 

When we talked about the cat stinky face above, we mentioned one thing that cats use their sense of smell for, which is to detect pheromones. says that male cats can smell when a female cat is in heat up to a mile away. And the female cat use their sense of smell to check out male cat's territory markers to find a preferred mate, which brings us to another way cats use their sense of smell - to mark their territory and also find out more about territory that has been marked by other cats. 

Cats also use their sense of smell in a way similar to us - to find food! says that more research needs to be done to see how far away a cat can smell something, but they estimate that a cat can smell it's food from between 126 to 154 feet away, which is around a football field wide, so they they don't miss out on any tasty treats! also adds that a cat's super sense of smell is useful to tell them whether something is safe to eat. adds one more use for a cat's sense of smell and that is to detect danger. It's not just pheromones from other cats that cats can detect using their stink face, it's also pheromones from other animals, which then tells the cat whether it is a predator and that they should be cautious or maybe even some tasty prey!

 Aren't you glad you followed your nose and learned more about the how well cats can smell? just think, they are super sniffers and they still want to hang out with you in the bathroom! Now, that's love! 

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published