CAPS: Cats have 20/20 scent vision

Red is a handsome 2.5-year-old Border Collie mix. Abandoned on the highway, he found his way to CAPS. His beautiful red coat and golden eyes sparkle.

Red is a handsome 2.5-year-old Border Collie mix. Abandoned on the highway, he found his way to CAPS. His beautiful red coat and golden eyes sparkle.
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Dear reader, I must confess that I have a secret friend. Actually, my friend is a local neighborhood cat who visits. During her impromptu visits, she exhibits an interesting behavior; she gets up close and personal and smells my breath. I am curious, and I want to find the reason she does this.

Cats have very sophisticated noses that contain 200 million scent receptors compared to the mere 5 million that humans have. Using specialized (V1R) receptors, a cat can also distinguish between similar scents. While humans have two VIR receptors, cats have 30, making them far superior.

Even before their eyes have opened, a kitten’s sense of smell is so acute that they can distinguish their mother’s scent and their milk supply. In fact, the cat’s nose is its most important sense organ, because they use it to find prey, home, and determine danger. It is no wonder that they are so nosy!

Just like fingerprints, cats have nose prints. No two noses are alike and each one has its own pattern of bumps and ridges. The naked skin around the nostrils, known as nose leather, is tough and protective. Nose color varies according to the color of the fur. For instance, black cats have black noses.

Cats greet other cats by sniffing one another’s noses, sides, and rear ends. It is simply a way of saying hi. Outdoor cats mark their territory, and because their sense of smell is so developed, they can immediately tell if another cat has been in their territory.

Scientists estimate that cats can smell their food as far as 154 feet away. In fact, it is the smell rather than the flavor that gets them hungry. However, some strong odors are a turn-off for your BFF, including citrus, mint, and eucalyptus. Owners should not use excessive amount of bleach or strong cleaners when changing your cat’s box because it can cause nasal discharge.

So why does my secret friend sniff my breath? I suspect she is calculating what I had for lunch, and I am sure she knows I had tuna.


Pictures with Santa will be held at Two Sisters Boutique 971 W. Williams on Dec. 2, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. no appointment necessary. All proceeds go to CAPS.


We have two handsome 15-month-old male puppies. BG and Diego are anxiously waiting to find their forever homes. We also have one Lab-mix male who is 13 weeks old. Cat lovers, we have seven tabby kittens in shades of gray. They are cute!


• Board members. We are seeking energetic, enthusiastic, community-minded folks to serve on the CAPS board. We meet once a month. Call 775-423-7500 for details.

• Bleach, laundry detergent pods, toilet paper, and paper towels to stock our shelter.

• XXL Kong Extremes for our guests.

• Would you like to foster animals? Call CAPS for details.

• Aluminum cans. We will pick up your cans; give us a call at 775-423-7500. You can also drop them off at CAPS.


• All our volunteers who help fix and maintain the shelter. A four-paw-salute!

• Fernley Animal Care Center for their generous donation. A pooch smooch to you!


CAPS is open to the public on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

We suggest appointments for adoptions and food pantry.


• November Holiday: National Adoption Day is Nov.18. Check out our guests!

• Would you like a newsletter? Call 775-423-7500 or email

• CAPS’ mailing address is P.O. Box 5128, Fallon, NV 89407. CAPS’ phone number is 775-423-7500. CAPS’ email address is Please visit the CAPS website ( and Facebook page (Churchill Animal Protection Society). Be sure to “Like” CAPS on Facebook because we are likeable.

Kathleen Williams-Miller is a CAPS volunteer. Email


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