Сats exchange information using chemical signals, an invaluable means of communication for those who lead solitary lives.
It happened that researchers have paid much less attention to the cat’s sense of smell than dogs, so many people have the impression that cats’ sense of smell is so. This opinion is wrong.
Smell and feel
In the world of cats, scents play a colossal role, providing them with a significant amount of information about the surrounding world. The cat’s body is covered with special glands that synthesize and secrete pheromones, a mixture of several low-molecular fragrant substances.
These glands are close to the sweat and sebaceous glands, urinary tract and rectum so almost any secretion of the animal serves as a pheromone mark. These tags tell other cats who have left them: a familiar or unfamiliar animal, healthy or not, male or female, and affect many important behaviors including aggression, maternal behavior, caring, and mating.
Apart from cat pheromones, the world is full of ordinary but no less interesting scents: mice, birds, dogs, humans, catnip, valerian, and many other object’s smells.
- Females have odorous glands that are opened into the urinary ducts, and these glands are also an abode for bacteria.
Male urine splashing is a manifestation of sexual activity, but females can also do so during estrus. Urine contains information about the sexual or emotional status of the animal. There are also glands around the genitalia of cats – male and female, but these are poorly understood.
- There are many sweat glands on the pads of the paws that activate when cats are scared. They produce pheromones of danger. It’s easy to notice that places trampled on by a scared cat are avoided by other animals.
Glands between the paws serve to mark the area. Cats leave smelly marks when they sharpen their claws against different objects (most often vertical surfaces).
These scratches, like urine spots, are well visible and similar to QR-codes on the walls of historical monuments.
- The most smelly glands on a cat’s face. The cat often rubs them near different objects. In doing so, animals exchange both tactile and chemical signals.
Cats sniff each other first when they meet, which takes up to 30% of the time spent on communication. Obviously, the chemical information makes it easier for them to manage the relationships in the future.
Therapy of pheromones
The well-being of an animal depends on how naturally it can behave.
Cats need their own scent for comfort, signifying a safe space. Therefore, it is vital for them to mark the area.
Pet owners are fond of watching your cat rub against a chair leg or their own, but when it claws at the couch or, worse, splashes its urine, this behavior is misunderstood.
People who are worried about their furniture and dream of removing the cat’s claws (in some countries it’s available) will actually deprive the cat of its correspondence rights.