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Why Our Pets Would Excel in a Bird Box World

Why Our Pets Would Excel in a Bird Box World

If you haven’t watched Netflix’s new movie Bird Box, you’ve likely heard about it. Without spoiling anything, the concept is this: survive without your sight.

Throughout the movie, this concept proves pretty difficult for humans. But let’s just imagine this same plot line for our pets. Would they survive a Bird Box world?

Their Sense of Smell

Cats and dogs have a profound sense of smell. For both animals, it is the primary method of gaining information. Our pets use their sense of smell to learn about people, other animals, and food.Cat

With twice as many receptors in their nose, a cat’s sense of smell if about 14 times more powerful than yours. On top of that, they also have a vomeronasal, a scent organ in the roof of their mouth. Have you ever seen your cat sit with its mouth open for a period of time? It’s likely that they are gaping, a term used to describe the act of ‘smelling’ from the organ on the roof of their mouth.

If that isn’t impressive enough, consider a dog’s sense of smell. Dogs are believed to have up to 300 million receptors in their snout, making their sense of smell approximately 1,000 times better than ours.Cat

To say a dog can smell better than a cat, however, is incorrect. Dogs may have cats beat in the number of smell receptors, but cats have another factor working for them. According to a recent study, there are 3 different kinds of scent receptors found in the nose. One of these scent receptors, referred to as V1R, is thought to control a mammal’s ability to discern one smell from another. While humans have 2 V1Rs, dogs have 9, and cats have 30. This indicates that cats have an incredible ability to discriminate between smells. Scientists have begun to study their potential ability assist in search & rescue and to indicate diseases in humans.Dog

Their Sense of Hearing

Have you ever noticed how well your pet can move their ears? Dogs have approximately 18 muscles in each ear, allowing them to independently move each ear. More impressively, cats have 32 muscles in each ear. This allows cats to move their ears 180 degrees, telling them all they need to know about a sound’s direction.

Cats have impressive hearing and can detect frequencies up to 79kHz. They can hear higher-pitched noises, a trait scientists believe comes in handy when hunting rodents.

A dog’s hearing ability isn’t as refined as a cat’s, but with the ability to hear up to 45 kHz, they still have humans beat. With this range, dogs can hear ultrasonic noises – hence the use of dog whistles in training. Age and ear shape can affect a dog’s ability to hear well. Upright, curved ears are the optimal shape.Dog

Their Sense of Touch

Did you know that cats and dogs use their whiskers to detect the space around them? Their whiskers are very sensitive and tell them about the air currents, temperature, wind direction, and air pressure around them. This helps them expertly navigate their environment.

Their Sense of Taste

Although taste buds are an important feature for both dogs and cats, they still have far less than the average human. While humans have about 10,000 taste buds, dogs have approximately 1,700 and cats have approximately 470.

Similar to humans, dogs can detect the 5 common tastes – sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and savory. Cats can detect 4 – sour, bitter, salty, and meaty. Cats do not taste sweet because sweet foods are not an essential nutrient for them.

The ability to discern between tastes is important so that they can distinguish fresh meat from rancid meat.

Their Sense of Sight

Your dog can spot a squirrel scurrying up a telephone pole all the way down the block, and your cat seems to always have her eye on your home’s insect intruders. Despite what you think, dogs and cats don’t have the best sense of sight.

An eye’s retina contains two types of photoreceptors – rods and cones. Rods help you see in low light, without color, while cones are used to see color. Humans have a mixture of both rods and cones, allowing for crisp, bright colors. Cats and dogs, on the other hand, have far more rods. As a result, dogs and cats see limited, muted color and see the best in dim lighting. This makes sense because dogs and cats are crepuscular, meaning they are active and hunting at twilight.

Overall, dogs and cats cannot see as clearly or as far as humans can. You can see some comparisons of human and cat vision here. They certainly use their sight in today’s world to find a treat or watch you as you cook, but from an evolutionary standpoint, our pets do not need sight to help them hunt or survive.

The truth is, dogs and cats don’t need their vision to survive. Their strongest senses, hearing and smell, are far more useful at taking in information around them.

If a real-life Bird Box situation were to occur, our pets would do just fine (provided someone were to blindfold them, of course).

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