Sensitive Senses of the Feline and Canine Variety
Do all animals feel the same way?
Well, not quite. Cats are more receptive to certain types of touch, while dogs are more responsive to others. However, cats and dogs share vibrissae, or whiskers, which are located in identical areas: on the muzzle, above the eyes, cheeks, and behind the front legs near the ankle.
The differences between each species are the sensory receptors they possess. Tylotrichs are special longer hairs located throughout a cat’s coat that deliver specific sensory information. Dogs have a mechanoreceptor nerve at the base of each hair to channel different environmental stimuli.
You may notice as a cat owner, or as a friend to one, that cats may appear aloof towards human touch. This is not the case; rather, unlike dogs, cats find discomfort in being pet on the paws or belly. Dogs are generally more responsive to a good belly rub. If you come across a feline friend, try instead to scratch under the chin or around the ears – cats like a little lovin’ too!
While being cute and cuddly, felines do have heightened senses that can be attributed to their natural hunter instincts. With that in mind, cats are more receptive to motion rather than having a fixed focus on one object. While dogs are great at playing fetch, they do not have the depth perception that cats do, and therefore cannot judge distance or leap between bookshelves. Dogs, however, have a heightened sense of smell, which also appeals to their own wild nature.
Pups and kittens have so much to look forward to as their senses develop and nature takes over. What do us humans have to look forward to as we age and develop? Taxes and insurmountable debt. All those in favor of the animal kingdom? Raise your paws!