As a cat guardian you can’t underestimate the importance of scent (aka body odour) to the domestic cat. It seems that their world revolves around smell. It is at least the equal of sight to our cats. Cats use scent as a tool to confirm the identity of humans i.e. whether they know the person or to check the person is who they think they are. Why do cats like to sniff their human companion – a person they know well? Probably because it is pleasant and reassuring to do so and partly perhaps to confirm identity. In other words a reassurance that you are who you are meant to be. This might sound odd but although cats have decent eyesight it is not as precise in my view as their recognition of scent which is acute.
Domestic cats sometimes like to luxuriate in the scent of their human buddy and caretaker. For intance my cat likes to go under the duvet and lie next to me. He is attracted to two things: my smell and my warmth. It is hot down there so he’ll stay for 20 mins. I think it really is about reassurances for the cat. The domestic cat can be quite anxious. This may in part be because their senses are so acute. They hear sounds before we do and smell things that we can’t. This bombarding of the senses makes them more aware of the potential dangers around them. And they live with another species – us – who are much larger and rather strange (and sometimes dangerous).
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This is another story of a zookeeper being attacked by a lion or lions and…