Cats are designed to be hunters from the top of their ears to the tip of their tails. Learn more about the anatomy of cats in this edition of Pet Pointers.
When your cat is hunting -- their entire body is involved as they stalk their prey. When your cat is stretched out low to the ground, prepare yourself, they are preparing to pounce. Watch your cats’ tail also. That amazing tail works as a counterbalance as your cat walks along narrow fences, high branches or even perched at home, helping them to accurately pounce on prey and maintain their balance.
Able to move independent of one another, a cat’s ears are extremely sensitive. Ears will face forward and be pointed up to take in all the important environmental sounds from a tiny mouse to approaching humans.
Your cat has amazing vision and extra rod cells in the structure of their eyes that assist in locating prey in the dark and sensing motion. Cats have a field of vision of about 200 degrees, while humans have 180 degree vision. Cats can also see the differences between colors; however, they are better with blues than reds or orange.
You may have noticed your cat intensely sniff the air with their mouth open. With help from the Jacobson's organ, located in the roof of your cat’s mouth, their sense of smell is about 14 times stronger than our own, giving them another advantage over their prey.
Your cat has four rows of whiskers on their muzzle around their nose. These whiskers are very sensitive and can sense changes in the flow of air, even detecting the breeze created as a mouse scampers in the dark. Whiskers help your cat detect the size of a space as well, helping your cat determine if a hole is big enough for them to get through, with their whiskers being as wide as their body -- unless they are overweight. The whiskers on your cat’s ankles detect movement so kitty can keep track of their prey and determine if they are still alive while in your cat’s paws.
If you come home one day and find a gift waiting for you, even from an indoor cat, don’t be alarmed -- your cat is just doing what comes naturally.