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


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


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