Appointments: (02) 6251 1444
16-18 Purdue St, Belconnen, ACT
(Parking via Gillott Street)
Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 5:30pm
Saturday: 8:30am - 1:00pm

Canberra Cat Vet Blog

The sense of smell

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The lining of cats’ noses has a large surface area for trapping smells. It’s 5 times as big as ours. They also have large olfactory bulbs, which are the part of the brain where smells are initially analysed. Cats are very sensitive to scent and can discriminate more scents than they are likely to meet in a lifetime. As a result we have to minimise the number of strong scents we present to our cats as they are easily overwhelmed by them.

Mice leave scent marks to let other mice know they are about. Cats locate the mice using these scent marks, especially at night when vision is less reliable. When the cat finds the mark the marking mouse is long gone so the cat waits patiently for the next mouse to come along and sniff the mark - then he pounces on the poor mouse

Cats use scent to mark their own territories, too. An anxious cat will urinate around the house to warn other cats off. Less threatened cats rub their faces onto objects leaving a pheromone behind. This makes them feel more comfortable and lets other cats know they are there. Feliway is an analogue of this pheromone and we recommend it for cats who are anxious or taking a while to settle in to a new environment.

Cats also have a sense that we lack. While we are not quite sure what they are sensing, we think that odours from other cats are dissolved in saliva and moved up two tubes in the roof of the mouth to the vomeronasal organ. When you see a cat pulling up its top lip in a funny way while apparently sniffing an object she’s probably sensing another cat has been there.


Search Blog

Recent Posts


aggression dental check pet hard faeces pain killer touch hunters brown snake blockage collapse best vet best cat clinic litter tapeworm New Year's Eve urination holidays grooming blind sudden blindness asthma ribbon poisons slow vision holiday introduction castration hunting cage cat containment herpesvirus behaviour change enteritis straining gifts cough ulcerated nose foreign body opening hours old cat weight control outdoor cat itchy chlamydia food puzzles desexing not eating panleukopaenia joints aspirin new kitten physical activity hiding snake hypertrophic cardiomyopathy snot renal disease stiff anxiety African wild cat award paracetamol checkup whiskers cat vet fat tradesmen discount grass obese spraying urinating outside litter rolls wobbles anaemia massage furball skinny groom roundworm best veterinarian carrier poisonous love diuretics RSPCA introductions panadeine vaccine pain hospital sick cat bump hypertension tablet teeth hyperthyroidism sore ears rash pet meat cancer new cat inflammatory bowel disease fireworks spey panadol hairball pancreatitis cat friendly urinating vomiting blindness hyperactive euthanasia lame skin cancer flea treatment conflict hole nails face rub body language moving Hill's Metabolic indoor cats dry food introduce pheromone attack runny eyes polish jumping microchip tooth string restless exercise adipokines sense of smell scratching dilated pupils paralysed catoberfest advantage unsociable overweight lilies plants cat history thirsty drinking a lot desex nose scabs cognitive dysfunction blue snuffle wool abscess,cat fight liver computer panamax decision to euthanase petting cat intestine annual check training aggressive fits heaing sensitive stomach socialisation arthritis snakes toxins xylitol hunched over painful client night snake bite breathing difficult goodbye urinating on curtains or carpet headache best clinic weight panleukopenia enemies prednisolone Canberra antibiotics poisonous plants salivation seizures learning scratch scale scratching post check-up calicivirus corneal ulcer mouth breathing heart disease permethrin cranky ulcers tick furballs fear weight loss bed snakebite odour litter box ACT sensitive feline AIDS thyroid senior constipation dehydration marking eye ulcer sick fleas vet visit runny nose snuffles in season bad breath appointment change diabetes mental health of cats head holes return home cortisone hunter information night stare into space free paralysis tick old train lily skin cat fight home visit eye infection blocked cat cat sore eyes on heat paralysis dental treatment ulcer comfortis new year kittens eyes urine spraying pet insurance birthday drinking more sun poisoning introducing when to go to vet vomit house call worming poison FIV lump plaque meows a lot activity wet litter christmas prey blood test urine pill lilly cat flu yowling pain relief virus kitten deaths cat enclosures hungry noisy breathing wet food diet dymadon open day competition eye vocal fight signs of pain stress blood in urine rough play feline herpesvirus cat behaviour toxic flea prevention cta fight obesity insulin off food twitching dental sucking wool fabric appetite IBD kitten pica FORLS blood pressure abscess aerokat antiviral photo competition unwell gasping holes in teeth fluid pills kidney disease mass changed flu rub visit allergy, cystitis diarrhoea cat enclosure pred cat worms crytococcosus water feliway revolution senses heavy breathing hearing home high blood pressure kibble health check tartar lymphoma radioactive iodine thiamine deficiency blood bladder stones kidney fever bladder tumour allergy open night kidneys echocardiography spray dementia enclosure sneeze sore examination cryptococcosis strange behaviour vaccination thirst behaviour kitten play worms mince biopsy lick breeder rigid head AIDS mycoplasma depomedrol Canberra Cat Vet feline enteritis bite


A calm, quiet haven for cats and their carers staffed by experienced, cat loving vets and nurses.

Canberra Cat Vet 16-18 Purdue St Belconnen ACT 2617 (parking off Gillott Street) Phone: (02) 6251-1444

Get Directions