Friday, September 02, 2011

#3 Sensory capabilities of cats vs. humans

Cats are superior to humans. This can be seen in the fact that they rule households around the world, making humans feed and tend them, dispose of their feces and comb their fur. And while their cognitive abilities may not be quite as advanced as ours, they are far superior to humans in their sensory capabilities.

For example, with regards to visual capabilities, they have been shown to have better night vision than humans due to their tapetum lucidum, a reflective layer behind the retina. Additionally, their visual field is estimated at 200˚ (as compared with 180˚ in humans) due to a binocular field overlap. They also have heightened depth perception.

And while I’m not sure if this is a sign of their sensory superiority, cats have a third eyelid which closes from the side.

With regards to hearing, cats have a similar range of hearing to humans on the low end of the scale, but a much greater range on the higher-pitched sounds (1.6 octaves above the range of humans and 1 octave above the range of dogs). Cats ears can also swivel independently in the direction of a sound and their ear flaps can point backwards as well as forward so as to accurately pinpoint the sound’s source – giving them the ability to very accurately judge the location of a prey according to its noises.

With regards to smell, their sense is about 14 times stronger than humans and they have twice as many olfactory receptors compared with what people have. They even have s cent organ in the roof of their mouths!

With regards to touch, a cat’s whiskers allow its brain to receive information similar to that found in the visual cortex, enabling them to create a 3-D map of their surroundings based on touch.

With regard to taste: “The cat is an enigmatic animal. Composed, this strict carnivore is fussy about the quality of its food. It attaches equal importance to the smell, flavour and texture of its food. Its preferences, based upon its individual experience, give it a particular sensitivity.” This is from the website of company which claims to be “the world number one for petfood appetence factors.”

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