As a cat parent you might have always wondered about the question: Do cats smell with their mouth? Some people believe that cats use their mouths to sniff out things they can’t see, but is there any truth to this claim?
Let’s take a closer look at what science has to say about cat smell and find out once and for all if felines use their mouths to smell.
Do cats smell with their mouth? A special organ called Jacobson’s organ is found on the rooftop of the mouth of cats, which helps the cat gather information about the scent in the air, it seems like they smelling with their mouth. However, this is not the case.
Do cats smell with their mouth?
A cat’s Jacobson’s organ has two openings that lead to the nasal cavity. The air goes into these passages and is directed towards small pits in what is called the vomeronasal olfactory epithelium.
These cells are loaded with receptors for certain substances. When a cat takes in scents, the sensory cells send nerve impulses to the olfactory bulb in the brain which interprets these scents based on memory.
The mouth of a cat is not used for smelling except during moments where cats sniff something with their mouths open or when they lick things. Cats do not perceive smells as humans would, but instead, categorize them according to taste.
They use the smells that they inhale into their mouths and exhale through their noses when they breathe out to determine if something is safe or dangerous to eat by using their memory of what cats typically eat and the tastes of those foods.
When a cat is nursing her kittens, she will stick her nose in each one’s mouth to smell how many milk teeth the kittens have. She can also do this with her own kitten’s mouths or tails to determine if they are hers.
A cat will use its Jacobson’s organ when smelling urine on another, to ensure it belongs to one of its own kind and that it is not a potential enemy.
A cat will also use its Jacobson’s organ if curious about a new scent she comes across, but this is not always the case. Cats are known to show little interest in scents that they come across often or that seem common.
Cats generally do not like strong smells, like those made by humans who eat pungent foods such as garlic and onions. Some cats cannot tolerate citrus smells, such as orange and lemon; citric acid may be poisonous to them.
Cats make about 100 different sounds, but they only meow at their owners and other cats in order to get attention or food. Cats do not automatically meow at all humans but learn to restrict this sound to those they want something from.
Do cats use their tongues to smell?
Whenever a cat sticks its tongue out they forget to take it back which leaves a lot of wondering as to what they are actually doing. It is believed that cats use their tongues to smell objects and other animals because whenever they lick anything it almost always smells very strong.
A cat’s tongue is covered in many sensory organs which helps them know if something tastes or smells good enough to eat. When a cat licks itself it is not to smell itself but to collect the oils from its fur by using it like a glove.
If you were to touch your cat’s tongue you would find that it is rough due to the texture of these sensory organs, much like sandpaper. A cat uses its tongue almost exclusively for taste, rather than smelling things. The reason why it seems like cats smell with their mouths is that when they stick their tongues out they expose the sensory organs to scents in order to collect information about them.
Why is my cat smelling my mouth?
Your feline has a tendency to enjoy the warmth of your body and the smell of your breath, your body temperature can be comforting to your feline friend.
Cats also use their mouths as a tool to explore the world, so they will stick their tongue out to feel what is around them and if necessary taste it. If you are sitting on the floor petting your cat he may come very close to your face in order for you both to enjoy the warmth of each other’s bodies.
Your cat may also lick you because he is trying to groom you. Cats have a natural instinct to keep themselves clean and will use their tongue to remove any food debris or dirt that has found its way onto itself.
This licking behavior falls under the category of marking territory because your cat is leaving its scent on your mouth as a way of announcing that you are his.
It is possible for a cat to smell so strongly with its mouth because it has an excess of saliva building up in its mouth. Cats have much shorter snouts than humans do and this makes it easier for the flow of saliva to build up, therefore making their mouths smell stronger.
A cat may also be smelling you because he is trying to comfort you by licking the salt from your tears away, a behavior called allorubbing where a cat rubs against another in an attempt to spread its scent and comforts them with it.
Why does my cat have his mouth open and tongue out?
As we have already discussed above, they do this because they sometimes forget to put it back and they have this organ called Jacobson’s organ which helps them to identify or taste food.
Their tongue is covered with sensory organs that help them know if something tastes good enough to eat, so they will lick everything once to know about it.
In this blog post, we discovered the answer to the question Do cats smell with their mouths?. As mentioned above, it is believed that they do so because their tongue is covered in sensory organs that help them tell if something tastes or smells good enough to eat.
In addition, we learned that a cat will stick its tongue out to collect information about scents because these sensory organs are exposed when the tongue is extended. Cats also use their mouths as a tool to explore the world, which means they may stick their tongues out to feel what is around them and if necessary taste it.
Finally, you should know that the reason why it seems like cats smell with their mouths is that when they stick their tongues out they expose the sensory organs to scents in order to collect information about them.
Cats also have a tendency to enjoy the warmth of your body and the smell of your breath, so do not be surprised if they come close to your face.