It’s no secret that cats have an amazing sense of smell and sight. But which do they prefer using more to find food? This new study set out to determine which sense would win out when pitted against the other, and the results may surprise you…
Six cats were placed into a maze and the cats had to choose which route they would take based on their preference for images or smells. The cats were shown two squares of paper with a unique image and smell, one combination resulting in a reward and the other no reward. The cats received food rewards for correctly choosing the image stimulus or the smell stimulus.
When the researchers separated the cues to determine which one the cats used more, four out of the six cats picked the visual cue over the smell cue in order to receive their food reward. Only one cat preferred to use his nose to receive the reward, and the last cat showed no preference towards one or the other.
These findings are surprising because we have always assumed that a cat’s sense of smell dominated how they saw the world, and with this new study we learned that that may not always be the case.
For the first time, cats have been asked how they prefer to see the world, and we were listening. More research is required before we will know for sure if cats prefer using sight or smell when looking for food, but this is definitely an interesting start!
Hear more about animal vision in this video:
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