July 2010 Issue

Your Cat’s Keen Sense of Smell

Your pet uses her well-equipped nose as a primary way of interacting with the environment. Hereís how.

When it comes to nosing around, a cat has a major advantage over its human caregiver. The adorable feline that occupies your house has a whopping 60-to-80 million olfactory cells compared to a humanís five-to-20 million cells. Because of their well-equipped noses, cats may use their sense of smell as the primary way of interacting with their environment. "They have a large olfactory area in the nose and do a lot of sniffing," says Katherine A. Houpt, VMD, PhD, the emeritus James Law Professor of Animal Behavior at Cornellís College of Veterinary Medicine.

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