Monday, February 15, 2010

A Cat's Senses on Display

From the Dark corner
Originally uploaded by fofurasfelinas
Here is a fine cat photograph by fofurasfelinas (Giane Portal in Brazil) of Toji. He is a tabby cat and this photograph captures the senses working or on standby all at once.

The large vibrissae (whiskers) are in a passive mode but their position gives the impression that they are ready to go and they are very nice long whiskers. A cat's whiskers are extremely sensitive. At the base of each whisker is a bundle of nerves. This allows the whiskers to detect air currents that flow around static objects. Air currents are created by the movement of the cat so the cat can see in the dark in part with the aid of its whiskers.

The whiskers can also detect the position on a prey's body where a bite should be made to kill the prey (nape of neck). The whiskers in effect feel for this position. They are quite extraordinary and we don't really realise this most of the time. Toji has magnificent whiskers.

Toji's canine teeth (long teeth either side of the mouth) are nice and symmetrical and visible in this picture. Ready to inflict that killer bite!

The eyes are focused and alert in a highly responsive gaze. The irises have formed a slit so there must have been a bit if light when this photo was taken.

The ears are pointing forwards so the action that concerns Toji is in front of him and he is looking intently at it.

Finally the classic tabby "M" is apparent on the forehead - the hallmark of a tabby cat. "Tabby" is the name of a coat type not a breed or species of cat. From what I can see of the forelegs Toji is a brown mackerel tabby cat - a cat with dark brown/black stripes on a brown background.

It is a great picture that shows a cat's senses on display or we at least get a sense of the senses that are being used or about to be used.

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