Who Has Better Sense of Smell – Cats or Dogs?


Who Has Better Sense of Smell – Cats or Dogs?


The sense of smell is essential for cats and dogs. It serves them as one of the most valuable resources of information about their world. According to experts, the both species have a better sense of smell than humans. Unlike humans, they can notice what is going on in their surrounding in more detail. And it is possible due to a huge number of olfactory receptors that determine their ability to detect a different kind of smells. The number of these receptors is in direct proportion to their capability to sense and get information from different odors. The bigger the number, the greater is the animal’s capacity to identify the source of the smell. Experts also claim that this number is physically influenced. Namely, olfactory receptors are located on the animal’s snout. The bigger snout means more place for receptors. For that reason, dogs have a better sense of smell. Their snouts are significantly larger than cats. Some cats can have a better sense of smell than smaller dogs, like Chihuahuas. But, the most cats possess a lesser developed sense of smell, for their generally smaller snouts. It is not surprising that German Shepherd is a breed with a largely developed sense of smell. To find out more about cats and dogs’ sense of smell and why they have a better sense of smell than humans, the article “The Battle of Cats vs. Dogs” gives us an explanation.

Who Has Better Sense of Smell – Cats or Dogs?

The human nose has about 5 million olfactory receptors, microscopic proteins that allow us to detect odors. With 45 million to 80 million receptors, cats have a far better sense of smell—but they can’t measure up to the average dog, whose snout holds between 149 million and 300 million receptors. The canine sense of smell may be a thousand times better than ours, and so discerning that dogs can not only track a missing person but distinguish whether he recently had a meal or smoked a cigarette. Historically, dogs relied on their superior snouts to find prey and avoid predators. These days, dogs are trained to sniff out everything from bedbug infestations to the chemical changes that indicate early-stage cancer.

Even though the dogs’ sense of smell is better than of cats, smells are the important factor in cat life. They use them to mark their territory, to warn other cats that they are not willing to share their space, or and to feel safe. They developed the so-called Flehmen response or their way to get information from smelling. It refers to their specific face when they retain air and breathe deeper to read the information correctly. This particular cat grimace brings many owners a lot of fun, but for them, it is a crucial part of being a cat. Without it, they will not be so good oriented in their world.

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