How well can cats smell in relationship to dogs?

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In the ongoing battle of the senses between cats and dogs, there is one area in which Fido beats Fluffy paws down. A cat possesses between 50 million and 80 million receptor cells for odors in his nose. A dog has between 200 million to 300 million! (We humans have a paltry 5 million.)

Evolution has given each animal what he needs to survive and thrive in his environment. Cats evolved as predators whose primary prey is small vermin. Fluffy doesn’t need to track a mouse. He needs to be able to see minute movements at a distance and hear the tiniest sound, which he then interprets for size, distance, and location.

Certainly a sense of smell is important to how a cat interacts with his environment. One of the first things a kitten does, long before his eyes open, is to use his tiny nose to find his mother’s teats and have his first meal. Elder cats will, in fact, stop eating if they cannot smell their food.

Dogs, on the other hand, are pack animals and hunters. In the wild, wolves hunt larger animals and can follow blood trails for long distances. This is why many canine species serve their humans as superior trackers.

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