How To Understand The Behavioural Patterns Of The Feline Cat

Adult cats do not seem particularly sensitive to sweet things and are most sensitive to sour tastes. At one time, it was thought that their sense of taste was negligible, but cat owners will notice that their pets show marked preferences foe certain foods. Texture and smell may play a part in this, but are they the reason for a cat preferring smoked salmon to sardines? Why do many cats have a liking for prepared foods, when given a certain flavour? The whole of a cat's body is extremely touch-sensitive, especially on the head and down the spine where the lightest touch on a single hair can stimulate a response.

This is because the skin is liberally supplied with small raised areas known as tylotrich pads, or touch spots-which are depressed if so much as a hair is moved. Immediately the cat's nervous system signals a response a shiver passes along the spine or an ear twitches.
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 They can see the speed of the reaction for yourself but, if the animal knows you are about to touch it, it will already be prepared for the signal and, because it knows the source, the reaction may be suppressed. Another measure of the speed of reaction is the way in which a cat will withdraw its claws if they touch bare skin. I had found with my own cat that i seldom had the faintest scratch when it has leaped upon my naked shoulder, although if i had been wearing clothes the claws would have been used to secure a firm landing. Similarly, thickness of clothing seems to be accurately registered; claws that are extended on a sweater are immediately withdrawn when they find only a thin shirt between them and flesh. The cat's paws are also particularly sensitive, and a considerable potion of the brain is devoted just to the sense of feel of the front paws, which are used to carry out investigations of all kinds.

The nose is also highly touch-sensitive and will often be used in conjunction with the paws. Nuzzling with the nose is a common sign of affection which may be accompanied by intertwining of the whiskers, although quite what this signifies is not understood. A cat's hearing extends over a much wider range than that of man. It ranges approximately from thirty to forty-five thousand cycles per second-some twenty-five thousand cycles higher. The most human beings can hear-and is probably at its best around eight thousand cycles.

The large outer ears have a series of ridges which trap and concentrate the sound waves. The ears are highly flexible so that they can manage rotate them in all directions, while the head can be rotated to facilitate the tracing of the sound source. Cats can distinguish between two similar sounds originating a mere one, and a half feet apart at a distance of twenty yards and they can hear sounds below four decibels in volume. Almost all cats will distinguish the engine noise of their owner's car from that of any other. Individual cats will instantly respond to noises that interest them, even if they are in some quite different part of the house.

 The refrigerator being open for instance, or the cap being removed from a bottle of milk, the click of their food cupboard door or the opening of a can. The cat's inner ear seems to be constructed like ours, but there must be some difference for cats appear to be immune to travel sickness. While many dogs get upset by the motion of a car and people are often amateurish sailors, the cat will happily take such movement in its stride