Cats hunt using sight more than smell


File:Cat eyes 2007-2.jpg Image from Wikimedia Commons, Author: Alvesgaspar

New research from the University of Lincoln, UK suggests that cats may prefer to find food using their eyes as opposed to their nose. The preference for vision vs. smell was tested in 6 cats placed in a maze that required cats to make decisions about which way to go based on either images or smells. The researchers observed that 4 out of 6 of the cats chose the visual as opposed to the smell cues to obtain their rewards (food). One cat showed a preference for using its nose, whereas one cat showed no clear preference at all.

According to a quote in Science Daily from study author Evy Maze, who was a graduate student at the time of the study, "Up until now we really thought that the sense of smell would dominate how cats view their world, but we are now reconsidering this and also the implications of how we manage them."

Dr. Daniel Mills, study author and lead investigator was quoted in Science Daily as saying "We live in a complex world and use all of our senses to make sense of it. This is the first time we have asked cats how they operate rather than assumed this from what we know about their senses. Another important finding from this work is the individual variability -- different cats had quite fixed preferences, and this may have important implications for their welfare. If there is a cat which has a strong preference for using its nose then simple changes in the smell of the environment might have a big impact on it, whereas, for others it may be insignificant. This work provides a unique insight into the important principles of attending to the needs of the individual rather than the population in general for good welfare."


E-R E Mayes, A Wilkinson, T W Pike, D S Mills. Individual differences in visual and olfactory cue preference and use by cats (Felis catus). Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 2015; DOI:10.1016/j.applanim.2015.01.003

University of Lincoln. "The eyes have it: Cats put sight over smell in finding food." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 February 2015. <;.

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I find these finding very surprising because I have always thought that cats had a better sense of smell rather than sight

By Shannon Nicol (not verified) on 04 Mar 2015 #permalink

This is surprising to me as well, I think most of us just assume that because they have such a refined sense of smell, cats use their noses more than their eyes. I would be interested to know more about how the study was conducted and the visual clues etc. A notable thing is that the cats used in this study are domesticated and so they interact with their environment (including food) very differently than a cat in the wild would. Take a leopard for instance, they hunt via surprise and they often lie in wait for long periods of time so it is interesting to consider how their preferences for using their senses vary from pet cats.
It is also interesting to consider the different individuals having different preferences because that is something that I do not think we do enough as people in this society.

By Emma Jepsen (not verified) on 05 Mar 2015 #permalink

I strongly agree with the findings of this research, carefully look at the size of cat's eyes.they are relatively bigger than its nostril, the pupil is also fairly large too.why should they prey with nose instead of its well suited organ?

By u13392159 Thok… (not verified) on 05 Mar 2015 #permalink

We have to be more aware of the circumstances of a slight change of smell in the environment as we need to be sure our cats can survive this change. It is interesting to notice how all species have a different preference for smell even a pet cat can display completely different preferences to that of its neighbour.

By Tayla Rabie u1… (not verified) on 08 Mar 2015 #permalink

The olfatory of humans decreases as they grow, here it seems like some cats' olfactory also decreases as they grow isn't it?


By Sunnyboy Mlombo (not verified) on 08 Mar 2015 #permalink

This research is very fascinating as it gives an insight into the behaviour characteristics of cats but isn't the research too limited into making adequate conclusions about how cats hunt? Would different species of cats use the same technique and how would habitat and type of prey affect the statistics?

By Luke Michaelides (not verified) on 10 Mar 2015 #permalink

On a personal level I am inclined to agree with the findings but I would have been more convinced of the results of the findings if a larger study group had been used. The use of 6 cats is simply too small to conclude that all cats in general prefer to hunt using sight more than smell. u12133214

By Dimakatso Rantso (not verified) on 10 Mar 2015 #permalink

I fully agree with the finding as we where always assuming they predominantly use sense of smell, but now we actual know the facts that they use sight to hunt their rewards.15153666

By phumela mabena (not verified) on 10 Mar 2015 #permalink

The findings of this research is agreeable, as domestic cats are not used to catching their food, but rather finding their food placed in their food bowls, thus they do not make use of their strong sense of smell ( fourteen times stronger than a humans) but instead they use their sense of sight to find their food on a daily basis.

By Isabela de Cas… (not verified) on 11 Mar 2015 #permalink

When I think about how many times my cats have chased a reflecting light or one of their colourful toys, I can completely believe that they will rather use their sight than smell to hunt. As none of the toys or the light has a distinctive smell. But I do also wonder about the wild cats as their pray camouflage themselves so well that they might just need to rely as much on smell as they do on sight.

I agree with Thokozani, the size of their eyes is a good indication that sight plays a large role in their hunting. Another aspect you should consider is their hearing. Most cat's ears are large and can be twisted around independently which they can then use to pinpoint where a noise is coming from. We reared a serval, a type of wild cat, that could pounce onto food that we rustled in the grass with amazing accuracy even though it could not see the food. u15093337

By Daniel Parsons (not verified) on 11 Mar 2015 #permalink

I agree with Thokozani the size of their eyes does suggest that sight is very important in their ability to hunt. However i would like to take this one step further. Was sound involved in anyway in these tests? Cats have relatively large ears that can be turned to face different directions. They can use them to pinpoint exactly where a noise is coming from without even being able to see it. We reared a Serval a few years ago, a type of wild cat found in Zambia, and if we would rustle a dead mouse in grass that is too long for it to see the mouse the serval would move her ears about until she knew where the noise was coming from. She would then pounce from even two meters away and land with pinpoint accuracy on the mouse. It would be interesting to incorporate sound into the tests as well to see which sense really is the one most relied upon.

By Daniel Parsons (not verified) on 12 Mar 2015 #permalink

The environment in which the cat lives plays a significant role in the way eye sight and smell is used. Some cats can relate smell to certain things and use it in hunting instead of it's eye sight. 15010709

By Ingrid Marais (not verified) on 15 Mar 2015 #permalink

This makes total sense to me for if we look at a cats features, they have big eyes and a small nose. This allows foe better sight than smell. of course smell plays a big role but for a predator it better to see the prey than to smell it. u15034730

By Quinton R (not verified) on 22 Mar 2015 #permalink

I do agree with Isabela. I think it depends on the amount of stimulation the different senses of the cat receive. If a cat hunts for it's food it will be more focused on the sight of the prey, if a domesticated cat receives food simply by its owner it will react to smell. This is only my opinion?

By Marne Olivier … (not verified) on 23 Mar 2015 #permalink

This makes total sense, cats needs big eyes to spot and identify prey. u15034730

By Quinton Rancati (not verified) on 25 Mar 2015 #permalink

Being a huge cat lover, I have taken note of how cats are so alert in numerous situations. I had always thought it was thier sense of sight that was the dominant over their sense of smell so I am not surprised by the results found by the University of Lincoln, UK.

What I am interested to know is, was there certain classification of breeds that were used for this experiment that could have influenced the results? And also, would a larger experiment group have changed the results significantly?

Clearly Cats are superior to dogs... I love learning new things everyday! #TeamCats

It is a cutting edge discovery. large amount of the cat depend on their sight for its prey rather than smell. the question is did this experiment used one particular cat species and how many times did you conduct the experiment.

By S Mngambi (not verified) on 26 Mar 2015 #permalink

Due to the fact that cats are both diurnal and nocturnal , it doesn't come as a surprise that they prefer using vision more than smell when hunting. This will enable them to have great advantage when hunting at night.

By Thule Mlandu (not verified) on 28 Mar 2015 #permalink

What would then happen to cat that relies on its sight, and gets eye damage? would it be able to adapt and rely on its sense of smell?

By Tiane' Schmidt (not verified) on 29 Mar 2015 #permalink

This a really remarkable statement, I have a cat myself and enjoy watching her. If a cat relies on their eyesight, and gets some sort injury, will the cat be capable of adapting by using their sense of smell then? Are they able to use their hearing sight as a main factor as well? student no 15008861

By Tiane' Schmdit (not verified) on 29 Mar 2015 #permalink

Cats have an increased size of retina and the cone to rod ratio varies to that of humans meaning night vision is possible. However i would like t know who would have a beter kill ratio while hunting, a blind cat, or a cat without sense of smell? This will answer the question as to which sense is utilized more while hunting. u15028047

By Dean Carlisle (not verified) on 29 Mar 2015 #permalink

Unlike human, cats do not need to blink their eyes more often in order to keep them lubricated with tears, and the considering the fact that they don't blink their eyes regularly give them an advantage to stay focused when hunting . But I think further experiments should be done because this results are only based on one experiment, and it might have been a coincidence.

I think for some cats, their sights and sense of smell are more equivalent to each other but for some cats one is more dominant towards the other thus 4/6 cats had the high dominance in visual than sense of smell.

This is very interesting. Cats in general like chasing something that moves, whether it is a bird or a buffalo. They are very precise, which makes them excellent hunters. They have a double eye lid and can see very good at night which are all beneficial to them and shows just how important their sight is. But smell should not be completely left out. Although they prefer sight they can smell a meal before they see it. They can use their nose to pin point the exact location of their next meal. For example if you are busy cooking meat, the cat will smell the meat before they see it.

By Simone van Niekerk (not verified) on 30 Mar 2015 #permalink

This makes sense when you look at the way cats chase or run after the lights of lasers when playing. To use eyesight more when hunting assures a better outcome than using sense of smell because the cat can actually see the prey. By only making use of sense of smell it makes it difficult to locate the prey especially when camouflaged.

By Liza van Rooyen (not verified) on 30 Mar 2015 #permalink

This makes sense when you look at the way cats chase or run after the lights of lasers when playing. To use eyesight more when hunting assures a better outcome than using sense of smell because the cat can actually see the prey. By only making use of sense of smell it makes it difficult to locate the prey especially when camouflaged.

By Liza van Rooyen (not verified) on 30 Mar 2015 #permalink

This is interesting to find out. Domestic cats are smaller cats, does the larger use of eyesight when hunting apply to larger cat species like lions or leopards as well?

By Michael David (not verified) on 30 Mar 2015 #permalink

This makes sense when you look at the way cats chase after the light of a laser. By using eyesight when hunting it makes it easier to see/spot the prey especially in difficult circumstances. The reliability of the experiment would be better if a bigger sample space were used(more cats to evaluate). Is this applicable to wild and bigger cat species as well and not just domestic cats? Do they use sense of smell more because the prey camouflage themselves better in the wild?

By Liza van Rooyen (not verified) on 31 Mar 2015 #permalink

I would agree with this study as cats can see far better in the dark than most animals.there fore they are likely to use their more advanced sense to get food or to choose for . yet the research done here is inadequate it fails to show how cats choose or in better words how does the sense of sight overcome that of smell when it comes to food.

By 15065635-T.M.S.MAOKA (not verified) on 31 Mar 2015 #permalink

I agree with Liza van Rooyen. I think that the reliability of the experiment can be improved by evaluating more cats. Also I think that to divide their results into different categories can also improve their studies. It will narrow their information down on when will cats use different sense for different purposes.
I've read that cats with lager ears, can pick up faint sounds and will therefore rely more on their hearing for hunting than sight.

By Anike Lucas- 1… (not verified) on 01 Apr 2015 #permalink

I agree with Dimakatso Rantso as this small group of cats is insufficient to provide reliable results. I also believe that we cannot really rely on an experiment that involves too many other uncontrollable factors. It is for instance impossible to say that a cat relies purely on its sight as we cannot eliminate its smell and hearing during the experiment. This has led me to firmly believe that we cannot conclude that all cats rely more on their sight/smell/hearing.


By Alri Richter (not verified) on 01 Apr 2015 #permalink

I find the results not trustworthy because of the fact that the experiment has been done only on six cats. I think better results can be obtained if more cats are used during the experiment.

My opinion is that there has not been enough research to support this statement that cats use their eyes instead of their nose. I think the dominant factor varies for all cats as they get different stimulation. Different living environments can cause different scences to develop better than others. Like humans I believe that not all cats will uses the same scences as all of them are different. u15011446

By Amore van Baalen (not verified) on 02 Apr 2015 #permalink

I don't think the results are trustworthy because only six cats were used in the experiment. More reliable results can be obtained by testing more cats.

I agree with M, Malan. The experiment can not be hundred percent correct, I think the experiment should be done with more cats and I wonder how different environments and cat species can contribute to the results?

By Marne Olivier … (not verified) on 02 Apr 2015 #permalink

I have to say that i agree with Dr. Daniel Mills. Researchers tend to tar animals of the same species with the same brush. This experiment shows that the way a cat uses his different senses differ from the way another identical cat uses his. It is clear that different environments and a lot of other factors can all contribute to the way cats apply their senses. I love this article as it shows that there are many alternatives to achieving the same goal.

By Van der walt, M (not verified) on 03 Apr 2015 #permalink

I disagree with the above statements, although I believe sight and smell are used in different situations. My cat brings 'trophies' (usually a veld mouse) into my room. He will take a nap and when he wakes up, he will know exactly behind which cupboard or chair the mouse is hiding, without seeing the mouse. 15015964

By Kay-Lee Avenant (not verified) on 03 Apr 2015 #permalink

The results to this experiment do not seem too accurate and are quite doubtful because the sample size of the experiment is too small. I would however like to know whether all six cats were of the same age because a difference in age would affect their sense organs.

By Payal Upadhyay (not verified) on 03 Apr 2015 #permalink

I never knew that cats prefer to use sight more than smell. However, this research and accordingly the theory that you have developed may not be as accurate or broad based because of the small number of the group of cats on which you conducted the research. the theory might well be true, but it would be beneficial to prove it with a larger number of subjects.

By An-zelle Lubbe… (not verified) on 04 Apr 2015 #permalink

Cats have a tapetum lucidim which is a layer behind the retina. This layer improves the ability to see in darkness. Cats also have a visual field of 200°. This proves that cats tend to use their sight to hunt.

This is indeed a very interesting study. A cat's nose is still a very powerful sense. There are almost 200 million odour-sensitive cells in the nostrils, which makes them extremely sensitive to scents.

By Steyl, A u15005233 (not verified) on 05 Apr 2015 #permalink

This study makes sense. The fact that cats have bigger eyes, could be a reason for them relying more in their eyesight.
However, I wonder how this applies to other species of the cat family. In cases where undomesticated cats hunt down their food (usually hidden from their prey) they could possibly rely more heavily on their sense of smell.

By Sachin Bhoora … (not verified) on 05 Apr 2015 #permalink

This information is a bit suprising. I am not to certain if I agree with the results or the way this experiment has been conducted. My opinion is that they should have used more cats to carry out this experiment, as this would make the results more reliable. I would also like to know if only domestic cats are acountted for in this experiment or if it is applicable for wild cats as well? I think the sense use to hunt depends on the enviroment the cat is found in, as well as the type of cat you are dealing with.

6 April 2015
In response to Taine' Schmidt's comment. She asked: "What would then happen to cat that relies on its sight, and gets eye damage? would it be able to adapt and rely on its sense of smell?"
Cats' sense of smell and hearing compensates for the loss of sight, which makes it difficult for the owner to determine blindness in a cat. If a cat is going blind it will memorize its surroundings and will only start bumping into things if there is a change in the environment, like if the furniture in the house is moved.
Here is a link that provides interesting information about this:……

By Steyl, A u15005233 (not verified) on 05 Apr 2015 #permalink

It is quite interesting to know that different cats prefer using different senses to find their food. It seems logical that the preferred sense, sight or smell, would be determined by the environment the cat lives in. Wild cats need to actually hunt their prey, so smell would be necessary to track down prey whereas sight would be needed to catch it. Domesticated cats on the other hand do not have the need to rely as heavily on their senses. Humans provide them with food and depending on the household environment, that determines which senses would be favored in finding the food. Perhaps more studies can be done to see just what makes cats preferential to use one sense over another.

By Anita van Deve… (not verified) on 05 Apr 2015 #permalink

I have to say that I agree with Dr. Mills when he said that cats should be researched individually according to their environment and other impacting factors. Researchers tend to tar animals of the same species with the same brush. This leads to generalized conclusions, which can be proven wrong. I like this article, as it shows that there are many different ways to achieve the same goal.

By Van der walt, M (not verified) on 05 Apr 2015 #permalink

In this experiment it seems as if they merely focused on two senses, sight and smell. A cat's sense of hearing is absolutely incredible. They can hear high frequency sounds we cannot. They can also distinguish the tone or pitch of sounds better than we can. In addition, a cat's ability to locate the source of a sound is highly advanced. From a yard away, a cat can distinguish between sounds from sources only 3 inches apart. I think more studies should be done to confirm this experiment

By Marne Olivier … (not verified) on 05 Apr 2015 #permalink

6 April 2015
Cats are not the only felines with this trait. Tigers rarely use their sense of smell in hunting and they have a small olfactory region in their brain. Tigers rather use their sense of smell for communication, like marking their territory with a personal scent.

By Steyl, A u15005233 (not verified) on 06 Apr 2015 #permalink

I think the really key point that must be taken from this research is that scientists are now testing previous theories and general assumptions. I believe this test has a good premise however as it stands , it is non-credible having used only 6 cats. A larger sample of cats with a variety of species and ages must be used before the findings can be valid and used to prove a theory. The test should be done in both a night and day environment as it is well known that cats have incredible night vision however the question is whether or not they depend on their vision more so than their sense of smell.

By Howard MJ u15040692 (not verified) on 06 Apr 2015 #permalink

These results are quite interesting and surprising. I always thought cats used their noses when they hunt due to the fact that sometimes the prey might be hidden. however if cats use their eyesight mostly to hunt, how do they know where to start looking? wouldn't their sense of smell and hearing send them on the correct path to actually see their prey? this is quite a difficult topic to study, its like determining which came first, the chicken or the egg? i agree that more research should be done testing all the variables for their senses

By Megan Soal (not verified) on 06 Apr 2015 #permalink

I agree with Marne Olivier, cat's use their sense of hearing to hunt. Without this sense they won't be able to hunt as effectively.

By Hetta Poggenpoel (not verified) on 07 Apr 2015 #permalink

I am a bit discouraged by the validity of the results this study produced because surely the sample of cats used was far too small. We are expected to make a generalisation of a species based on six representations of the entire population; I don't think that is common statistical practice. Secondly, might we consider the subjectivity where preference of sense is concerned? Some people are visual, some are auditory, and some are more affected by smell of taste. For example, if two people had to test a chocolate cake, one might remember it by the way that it looked; the other might because of the way that it smelt. Or is my argument perhaps diverging away from sense and more towards memory and association?

By de Bruyn, C.N… (not verified) on 07 Apr 2015 #permalink

I find this study insightful because I, like others, did not think of the possibility that cats rely more on their eyes, than their nose.
Marne Olivier (#40), I think the researchers only concentrated on sight versus smell, and therefore eliminated the other variables, like hearing.
Cats do have relatively large eyes, which could explain their reliance on their sight. I do wonder, how does this work with other feline species, especially wild species. They hunt on their prey, and are often in situations where sight is not enough. However, I do find this research in helping us understand feline behaviour as well as individual preferences of cats.

By Sachin Bhoora … (not verified) on 07 Apr 2015 #permalink

All i know about cats is that they can see in much darker places than what human eyes can see. and yes their sense of smell is more times powerful than the human nose. but the possibility of them using their eyes to hunt, never skipped my mind. i mean if they have a strong sense of smell, why those pretty eyes? interesting!

I think this study is very important

I think also that this is not true

I really like cats and from watching how my own pet detects food this study really is true

I personally agree with Marne Olivier #40, cats do have an incredible sense of hearing, as they can hear much high frequency sounds than human. Human can only hear up to 20 000 hertz sound, and cats can hear up to 100 000 hertz and when it comes to taste, they have less taste buds as compared to human. This explains why cats rely on their smell for food than their taste buds. As for using sight to hunt, it is amazing to have found out such.

Nature doesn't work in singularity, i think we should accept that it is not one over the other but actually the incorporation of both senses that make the cat a fierce predator.

By Jason Damon (not verified) on 09 Apr 2015 #permalink

The results are completely unreliable as a test with only 6 cats has no credibility.

By D. Wingrove (not verified) on 09 Apr 2015 #permalink

How interesting that the results show that cats hunt more with sight than smell. I would think that they would smell if a mouse is dead before they can see if it is dead

By Travis Williams (not verified) on 09 Apr 2015 #permalink

I agree with Jason Damon, I think with this experiment we got too caught up in looking at spesific senses used by these cats, rather than concluding that all of the cat's senses are used. At the end of the day I think it all comes down to the type of environment the cat is exposed to.

By Marne Olivier … (not verified) on 10 Apr 2015 #permalink

If cats use sight more than smell when hunting, then what will happen if the cats lose their eyesight? And how will the results of the experiment change if different age groups of cats are used?

By Ben Koekemoer (not verified) on 10 Apr 2015 #permalink

I agree with the comment M. Malan made (#36). The number of cats used in this study is definitely too small. It is a known principle in scientific experiments that you should use a big enough sample to prove your hypothesis. Cats are living animals that you can not completely control, therefore you have a lot of variables.

By Steyl, A u15005233 (not verified) on 10 Apr 2015 #permalink

I'm not persuaded by the information the article gives a case study including only 6 cats can't be reliable. And what type of cats do they talk about.? I think the cats surroundings definitely has an impact on the sense that is used to hunt.

It's interesting to explore this topic further as a study with merely 6 cats is not that reliable. I agree #65 as there need to be a variety of cat species and a large number to make the results more accurate and reliable. (15086080)

By Kelly (15086080) (not verified) on 10 Apr 2015 #permalink

It is commonly known that cats have very good eyesight, especially in the dark. Cats can identify different objects without any light. Therefore I believe that they use their sight, mainly, to hunt at night. On the other hand, their smelling senses are excellent. Without even using their sight, they can trace their prey through their smell alone.

This study does not mention how cats use their hearing to hunt. According to me, cats possesses incredible hearing. This allows them to react very fast and can help their hunting excursion a lot. Depending on the environment, I think all three these senses are of high importance for hunting.


By Yvonne van Zyl (not verified) on 10 Apr 2015 #permalink

I agree with the findings of this study. But I think that the environment in which the cats live has an influence on how they find food and what senses they use. I wonder if cats in the wild, like lions and leopards, will act the same way as the domesticated cats in the study? In the wild, prey is most likely camouflaged and the predator must catch it first. It is much harder to come by. I think that these wild cats will most likely use all their senses to the best of their abilities when searching for food.

By Steyl, A u15005233 (not verified) on 11 Apr 2015 #permalink

Now I know why my cat just comes to me when I show her ther cat food :) Yes, I think this is an interesting research. Like it was said before, it makes sense that cats would rather use their eyes than their nose to find their prey. They have an excellent night sight which increase their rate of catching their prey. What I always wonder, is how they manage to keep quiet enough to remain unnoticed by a mouse, because a mouse has a really sensitive hearing.

I, like most others, just assumed that cats (like most dogs) used their sense of smell rather than sight to hunt. However, the findings of the study make complete sense because cat's eye size, pupil shape and their ability to quickly adapt to darkness all lend themselves to optimised hunting. I also believe that cats use both their sight and sense of smell concurrently when hunting. Although, as evidence shows, sight proved more useful and thus became the dominant sense.

By Aimee Serafini (not verified) on 12 Apr 2015 #permalink

I agree with Steyl, A #70, Just as we human do not react the same to different circumstances due to our differences, i also wonder if wild and domesticated cats would act the same in the senses of hunting for their food or even going after their prey? The study might be true to a certain extend, but more research or studies should be conducted looking at both wild and domesticated cats, just to validate the study in its single sense.

I agree that more research should be conducted on this topic.

firstly i agree completely with the fact that the sample size in this experiment was limiting in terms of size and the types of cats used. should such articles be allowed to be published considering how misleading they may be? especially considering that students may sometimes refer to these blogs for research purposes. u15106692

By yenziwe mhlabane (not verified) on 14 Apr 2015 #permalink

This is an intriguing concept. I also always assumed smell was their dominant sense, however, I admit that after thinking about it, it seems rather obvious that sight would also be a well-used sense. After reading this article, I observed my own cat and have come to the conclusion that she does indeed rely on sight more than smell. However, she is a mainly indoor cat and any observations I made relating to her hunting methods were done with her on one side of a door and her prey on the other side, so that would greatly impede her sense of smell, forcing her to use her sight. Also, when observing her with food, I’ve noticed that she becomes interested in something we’re eating only when she sees us eating it. Her pupils dilate, which would allow one to presume that sight plays a big role in her tracking methods. This would obviously be greatly varied between individual domestic cats. Wild cats would presumably also have different hunting preferences. I also agree that sight and smell, however predominant, are not the only senses that cats make use of.

By Haseena Moosa … (not verified) on 14 Apr 2015 #permalink

I will strongly agree with the fact that cats use their eye sight more than their noses. if a red Lynx can spot a mouse in the field from over 200m away, why will a housecat which is family have bad eyes? Their noses will definitely play a big role when it comes to hunting but cats will most of the time use their eyes as their primary organ when hunting

By Katherine Mcfarlane (not verified) on 15 Apr 2015 #permalink

I did some research on the web and came accross a verry interesting thing called the Jacobson's organ - Cats can even “taste” smells, as they have a set of sensory organs at the back of their mouths. If your cat seems to gulp in air when she is investigating something, no need to worry; that’s just Jacobson’s organ kicking in. As it has been researched we can see that almost every single sensory organ is verry well developed. I think a cat will be more likely to use all of its senses while hunting rather than just one, thus I think the experiment is correct to an extent.

By Marne Olivier … (not verified) on 15 Apr 2015 #permalink

I encounter that it is very interesting about the fact that the cats use their sight as their main sense.
But I would simply like to know that although cats have a visual field of view of about two hundred degrees compared to hundred and eighty degrees field that human have, how could the cat sense were the food was without knowing that there was food at the end of the maze?

By K Combrink (not verified) on 17 Apr 2015 #permalink

I agree with the earlier comments about the sample case study being too small. According to the laws of statistics, 6 cats cannot be compared to the whole population of house cats. The sample must be at least 5% of the population to be able to interferenciate the data collected and assumptions made. I do find the conclusions that they made to be very interesting and worth looking into further. Cats have always been very creative hunters that have learned to adapt to different scenarios. The preferred hunting senses they use (sight or smell) may vary because of the prey or the habitat in which they find themselves.

By Leana de Haan … (not verified) on 17 Apr 2015 #permalink

This is quite intriguing and expresses the concept of unique individuality.However in contrary I believe that the results are inconclusive as minimal studies have been conducted and this research in particular only used 6 cats respectively and no specificity can inevitably regard a particular study of this nature to be rendered unreliable. i would not like to contradict myself but would agree with this experiment to a certain degree as majority of the cats did seem to use vision as a predominant sense.
I would like to know how many studies of this nature have been conducted and proven?

By Taahir Moolla (not verified) on 18 Apr 2015 #permalink

I prefer dogs to cats but became interested in this after doing a bit research and believe more research should be done as to shun any doubts.

By Desmond Mathembu (not verified) on 18 Apr 2015 #permalink

Interesting and significant in moving forward with more research but I hope to see more information available in the distant future.

By Ben Goodwin (not verified) on 18 Apr 2015 #permalink

This is so interesting! I was just wondering about how a cat's habitat and prey will influence their choice in preferred hunting senses.

By Jenny Statford (not verified) on 18 Apr 2015 #permalink

(sorry if this is a re-post, my previous comment dissapeared)
I agree with previous comments that mentioned that six cats behaviour cannot be compared to how the whole species will react. According to the laws of statistics where a sample is chosen to be tested (Hypergeometric function) it must be at least 5% of the original population. I do realise that the scientists where only studying the behaviour of these 6 kitties, when they came to the conclusion that cats may use their eyes more for hunting than their noses. I wish them luck in further exploration of the subject.

By Leana de Haan … (not verified) on 18 Apr 2015 #permalink

When you look at cats eyes you can see that they are big. This means that their eyes are very well developed. Their pupils are also formed in such a way that more light will be able to enter and make them see at nighttime as well. I think this is one of the main reasons cats are so active during the night.

By Z.Pretorius (not verified) on 20 Apr 2015 #permalink

It is interesting that something we seem to accept as fact and see as normal - such as animals mostly hunt by smell - can be so easily upturned by science.

I was curious about this because all the cats I've had in my life have preferred visual cues when it came to playing, hunting, and food. I know they can smell very well but if i throw a few treats they don't see they will basically always require my assistance in finding them and I have to show them exactly. They don't take the same sort of visual cues that dogs do either. Whereas the dogs seem to just be able to find something from my pointing or looking in the direction, the cats seem to need me to go to it and touch near it, sometimes multiple times. I have been working with training my cat to use his sense of smell more frequently using his favorite treat. It's very interesting and fun to watch.