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Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

If you compare cats and humans regarding to the five senses, it can be said that cats are clearly superior to us in smelling and hearing, but the sense of sight and taste is less pronounced in comparison. How does it behave with the sense of touch? You can read about this question and the function of the sense of touch and cat paws here.

How does the cat feel?

The sense of touch is the sense that develops first. Kittens can neither see nor hear and also the sense of smell is not yet completely developed. They orient themselves mainly with the sense of touch in order to get to the teats of their mother. Especially with their tactile hairs and especially with their whiskers (vibris), which develop already in the womb, they find the milk source without problems, otherwise the hairiness is still sparse. These vibris are thicker than normal hair and reach deeper into the skin. An adult cat is equipped with tactile receptors throughout the body, on the face, paws, elbows and inside the forelegs. Especially at the whiskers they are very sensitive.

Via their cat paws, they perceive the finest vibrations and thus know, for example, where the mouse is located. The tactile receptors are so sensitive that only a little breeze is needed to stimulate them. Especially with their whiskers they can measure distances and get information about their environment. They can also use their whiskers to determine whether they fit through an opening or not. If the cat lacks these “antennas” or if they are cut off, it often becomes insecure, anxious and moves strangely because it lacks a kind of perception. They would also be quite limited in night hunting, as they orient themselves with the help of the vibris.

They would also be restricted in their communication. Whiskers directed forward, for example, mean joy and curiosity.

Most cats have cold receptors, only on the nose they are equipped with heat receptors. These are used by a kitten to find its mother and can therefore be explained by evolution. For example, when a cat burns, these stimuli are not transmitted to the brain as heat, but as pain stimuli. Because, of course, like all living beings, they can feel pain.  

In close contact

Not only humans are social creatures, also our cats love and need the closeness to other cats and to their humans. Cats form social and emotional bonds through touch. Through touch, like extensive stroking or contact lying not only the connection to the animal to humans and vice versa is naturally intensified, it is also proven that touching triggers calmness and calmness as well as satisfaction with the cat. The so called “cuddly hormone” oxytocin is released. Pay attention to where and if your cat wants to be touched and don’t force her to cuddle.

Tender coat care, such as brushing, naturally has the same relaxing effect on your darling (provided he knows and likes that).  Also the relationship to other species is strengthened by touch and proximity. Of course one must also note at this point that cats do not only touch us because of their need for cuddling, but also because of the exchange of fragrances, we are kinda marked.

Katzen Pfote auf Hand


Whether the sense of touch is more pronounced in humans or cats cannot be said per se. What can be said, however, is that the sense of touch serves orientation, social bonding and communication in all living beings. This means that the more intense the physical contact with your velvet paw is, the more relaxed and happy it is. And honestly, it’s no different with us humans. TOBALIE wishes you nice and cuddly hours.