Cat Facts #14. How Cats Find Mates, the Easy Way

Human dating can be so complicated. There’s the filling out of online profiles, making eyes at strangers, or?even seducing the friends of friends. And that’s all just to meet someone. Then you go through rounds of questions and answers in a conversational attempt to see if you mesh.

The whole courtship process takes ages, only to abruptly come to a close when either of you discovers a deal breaker in the other…which you might not even find out about?’til weeks, months of even?years into a relationship.

Wouldn’t it be a helluva lot easier if we could instantaneously gauge the viability of a potential partner by…sniffing their urine?

As gross as it sounds, it works wonderfully well for our feline friends, who, on top of their already extraordinary olfactory senses, also possess a special scenting device known as the Jacobson’s – or vomeronasal – organ, which is used to analyze scent chemicals, mainly the pheromones in cat urine.

Cats use this handy little pheromone-deciphering organ to figure out the status of the animal that left the scent. And she can find out all sorts of useful information – the type of species, gender, health, reproductive status, etc.

All it takes is one good sniff of the scent.

Here’s how it works: When a cat comes across an intriguing smell, she’ll breathe the scent in through her mouth and then use her tongue to push the scent molecules up to the roof of her mouth to the Jacobson’s organ where she can ‘taste’ the scent.

You can tell when your cat is using her trusted mating device when her mouth is open and her lips are curled in a funny sort of grimace – which is?called the Flehman response.

It’s?an awesome trick that allows a cat to continue breathing normally while simultaneously analyzing the finer points of a potential mate’s pheromonal states.

We have to admit we’re a little envious.

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2 Comments
  1. Reply
    Skye August 3, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    How do u know if they actually like the cat because my cat had kittens and we kept two of them but the mom died so we just have the two kittens and they always…smell each other and open there mouths and they are sisters but one is a runt

  2. Reply
    Anne February 10, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    I think you shouldn’t be use ‘helluva’ because, it makes you sound stupid and out of touch. (How many people you who know even say that)?

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