Oh, That Smell! How Cats Communicate with Their Noses

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From sex drive to fish tacos, communication between felines hosts a variety of responses in varying degrees through their sense of smell. By using their nose, cats can successfully mate, stay alert for other cats, and, similarly to dogs, introduce themselves to other furry friends.

Like a pooch to a hydrant, male cats like to mark their territory by spraying various objects. When entering into an unfamiliar setting, one of the first responses to the foreign area is to sniff the air. Male cats will also rub oil glands, located on their faces and paw, against different items to designate ownership.

Is love truly in the air? Ask the tomcat! Male kitties can detect when a female is in heat from great distances. They do so by sniffing out the pheromones released by the opposite sex and following their nose.

When imposing themselves on alien turf, mating season can be a brutal time for male cats. This territorial transgression can lead to noisy catfights and the eventual domination over the prospective female. Of course, when introducing two cats to a shared living space, at times all hell breaks loose, but not always, depending on the results of the “sniff test”.

Most of the time, cats sniff each other out in order to recognize one another and to determine whether or not they are okay with sharing living space. Scent to a cat can be one of their many forms of introduction. A friendly tap on the nose from each feline designates a thumbs up to the other cat and that both kitties can live together. A passed sniff test is much better than a catfight any day, especially for the cat owners. One sniff can be the difference between a night together in bed or an alleyway brawl!

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