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  • Paula Thompson
    Paula Thompson

    Can Cats Eat in The Dark?

    We've all heard of the phrase "feeling around in the dark" but have you ever wondered if a cat can figuratively and literally do that, as well: eat in for its meals in a pitch black room? Could a cat find an appropriate meal and devour it without any sort of visible cues?

    As it turns out, cats have an incredible sense of smell and taste to support them in their dining endeavors—even if they're surrounded by fourth wall of ambiguity. As anyone with a fondness towards felines will know, cats come equipped with a wide range of unique abilities that allow them to navigate the world around them—including in complete darkness. We know this because there are physical attributes that justify a cats superior olfactory receptors, ones more powerful than that of the average human.

    Cats make use of the organ needed to achieve this feat—the Jacobson's organ—which is located in the roof of their mouths and gives cats an enhanced sense of smell due to their production of volatile organic compounds. This organ is used to gain significant knowledge about their environment, and as it turns out, also becomes instrumental when they're need to search out edibles when every source of light has been extinguished.

    The anatomy of a feline's face is also massively beneficial when it comes to seeking out food, as long hair situated between their schnozzles helps keep strong aromas close to their noses, giving them the opportunity to recognize scents even in seemingly backdropping gaps.

    It's far from just sensory organs that help cats locate food in the dark either. Research has proven that cats have a special set of muscles in their ears which have been designed to give them incredibly precise directional hearing. Since food sources produce not only smells, but noises too, cats can use these muscles to more effectively identify where exactly that food is located. When considering a scenario where cats eat in the dark, this gives them yet another advantage.

    So now we know cats possess the necessary tools to locate their victuals, but what's stopping them from tasting their food before they found it? Well, cats also have the capability to identify objects using a version of echolocation, and this can be used to not only locate their prey, but also investigate it before proceeding.

    To do this, cats essentially form a determination of what something will feel like before they pick it up, and it's through energy pulses they emit which bounce back information on texture, shape and size. With these together, they can make an on-the-spot assessment that'll allow them to distinguish food from anything else they may come across while they're in total darkness. This therefore answers the peculiar question: can cats eat in the dark? To which the answer, quite obviously, is a resounding yes.

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