Does the cat have a sense of direction?

Does The Cat Have A Sense Of Direction?

Do you also know this story read in an animal or news magazine? That of the epic of this cat who left the Côte d’Azur to join his masters in the Paris region? Or that of the cat lost on vacation in Alsace who found its way back to its home in Paris? To travel hundreds of kilometres, without losing the North, over hill and dale: it would seem that these cats have done it. But, at the risk of breaking an entire myth, assuming that these stories are verified and not extrapolated, rare are the tomcats capable of achieving such feats. However, it remains true that they have a very good sense of direction in a much more restricted perimeter, limited to about fifteen kilometers all the same.

The Odyssey Of Ulysses, Cat Then!

Short parenthesis of digression: Do you remember the famous Odyssey of Odysseus in the history of Greek mythology? After having marked the Trojan War by hiding in a horse offered as an offering to the Trojans, the Odyssey recounts his ten-year journey to reach his kingdom of Ithaca, during which he will have to face the worst dangers on land and sea. He is described as the most cunning, strategist and ingenuous Greek hero. For the anecdote and the transition, the cat who would have made the journey from the Côte d’Azur to Paris would have been baptized… Ulysses, who undoubtedly had to use tricks and stratagems to cross a good part of the ‘hexagon !

How To Explain This Odyssey?

Well, the extraordinary epic of these few little Ulysses remains a mystery even today. Scientific experiments consisting of keeping cats away from their territory have revealed that they have a real ability to find their way back on a path that is known to them, within a perimeter of about fifteen kilometers, which is already enormous. imager, this distance corresponds to about 2h30 to 3h of brisk walking. But beyond that, scientists do not explain it.

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Let’S Try To Understand This Ability To Orient

It is said that the cat has 7 senses: the 5 of humans which are sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell, but also two others that humans do not have:

  • Jacobson’s organ : The human being who would be the closest to developing it would be the oenologist because the principle is indeed this: to better perceive the aromas in the mouth by using their retro-nasal passages. Explanation: at the level of the palate, Jacobson’s organ allows the cat to swallow odors and combine them with the nose to better analyze them.
  • The deep sensitivity : Cats have an unparalleled sense of balance. Sensors located at the level of his inner ear allow him to better perceive the position of each part of his body in space, hence the fact that he always lands on his feet!

Probably therefore that these 7 senses help him to develop this sense of orientation that is difficult to explain. The resulting factors or theories are just as many avenues to follow for a better understanding.

Observation To Facilitate Orientation

If the most developed sense in its cousin the dog is flair, and touch in humans, that of the cat is certainly sight. It has binocular vision, which allows it to assess distances and perceive relief much more acutely than humans. Cats, and even felines in general, have a very developed sense of observation, which helps them to orient themselves. They use the sun to define the path to follow. This is probably the most certain track that we have today to explain this phenomenon, because it is completely verified and proven.

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The Cat Releases Pheromones

Let’s digress again towards Greek mythology with Theseus, prince of Athens, and Ariadne’s thread. The story goes that Ariadne gave a ball of thread to Theseus so that he could find his way through the labyrinth where he fought a terrible Minotaur. Since then, “The Ariadne’s thread” has been used to talk about a common thread to follow the right path. End of digression and return to our cats, with the parallel between this breadcrumb trail and pheromones.

Pheromones are chemical molecules emitted by members of the same species that would act as invisible messages between them. The seven senses of the cat being extremely developed, it could remember smells perceived, and memorize visual, sound and sensory cues to orient itself. However, if the diffusion of pheromones by the cat is proven, like the marking by rubbing, the idea that they can help him to find his way, like the breadcrumb trail, is a little less so. Info or intox, hard to say.

Misconception: The Cat Has A Migratory Capacity

The principle of animal migration consists of a long-distance journey of a periodic nature, which involves a regular return to the region of departure. Of course, we think of birds, but other animals migrate, such as certain fish, the sea turtle or even the whale. The goal of migration is usually to find a more favorable climate for feeding, breeding or laying eggs.

Migratory birds have a sensory system in the inner ear that acts like a magnetic compass. But it is proven that cats do not have this ability or predisposition. They are definitely not migratory animals.

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How To Act When You Leave The House?

Whether it’s a big move or going on vacation, the cat feels the hustle and bustle that is taking place in the house. While it turns out that he has a good sense of direction, not everyone has such sharp landmarks. It will therefore be better to take a few precautions to prevent it from getting lost.

Keep It Away

It will be better to lock the cat in a secure room while preparing the luggage, away from noise and traffic. With all the necessary food, hygiene and comfort, it will avoid stress and bad reactions due to unusual agitation.

Discover The Places Step By Step

If your cat is used to going out for a romp, it will be better to be vigilant by not letting him go out too early. Here again, whether it is a new home or a vacation home, he will first have to take his visual cues indoors, and mark his territory. As soon as he feels calmed down, after a few days, you can then let him apprehend the outdoors, perhaps on a leash at first. It will also be important to watch for the possible presence of other animals around, which could scare away your tomcat.

The GPS Collar

It is a connected object that allows you to geographically locate the cat, or other pet for that matter. This is the principle of classic GPS. If he were to get lost, the necklace would allow him to be found immediately!

The Visit To The Veterinarian

Having it tattooed or chipped is essential when you adopt your little tomcat. And for good reason, if it were to go astray, and be picked up by charitable souls or by the pound, it could be quickly identified and you would be contacted to come and retrieve it.

Lost Cat, Act Fast!

Quickly contact the surrounding pounds, animal shelters, veterinarians who could have received it in emergencies dropped off by good Samaritans. It is also advisable to prepare posters for neighborhood mailboxes with a photo and descriptive details of the animal, including specifying any distinctive signs that could help identify it.

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