3 resident cats smell a newbie intensely to check out his health and ‘credentials’

This seems to be some sort of shelter where there are many cats. She may be a foster carer operating from home. Three of her resident cats check the credentials of the incoming newbie with great interest and intensity. The newbie accepts it all but plaintively cries out as he is unsure about what is happening.

It is a strong reminder that domestic cats rely on their assessment of the scent of objects to decide what it or he/she is and whether they are who they think they are.

Three resident cats check the health of a newbie
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Three resident cats check the health of a newbie. Screenshot. Sorry for the poor image quality. The video is terrible for quality.

This is like an interview by a panel of cats to see if the newcomer is acceptable to the group. It is as if a committee has formed and they gather around the newbie and start sniffing. The cat on the left – gray/white bicolor – does a nose touch greeting but also smells the breath of the newcomer. He performs the Flehmen response using his Jacobson’s organ (vomeronasal organ) in the roof of his mouth to really understand the new cat. Perhaps he is actually checking for disease! That is a distinct possibility. The breath of a cat can say quite a lot about their health. I wonder if this is a feline behavioral trait that occurs more than we think. I have never seen it mentioned before.

Note: This is a video from another website. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.

What is nice about the video (entitled “The newcomer was welcomed warmly” by the video maker) is that the cats are non-hostile. They are not necessarily friendly per se but they probably will be once they’ve checked out the new ginger tabby and okayed him. He’s passed the sniff test. The gray bicolor also delivers a little lick which is a good sign of things to come: plenty of allogrooming. The newcomer is young and the ‘committee’ are older adults. I’d expect them to take care of him.


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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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