While cats have great noses, they don't rely on their sense of scent to find food according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of Lincoln, UK discovered that felines prefer to use their eyes instead of their nose when looking for their food bowl.
In the study the researchers put six cats in a maze filled with "decision points." At these "decision points" the cat had to choose to follow either their nose or their eyes to get to the next point.
According to the study, four out of the six cats preferred to make their decision using visual cues.
"We live in a complex world and use all of our senses to make sense of it. This is the first time we have asked cats how they operate rather than assumed this from what we know about their senses," Professor Daniel Mills, who supervised the study and is based in the University of Lincoln's School of Life Sciences, said in a university news release.
"Another important finding from this work is the individual variability - different cats had quite fixed preferences, and this may have important implications for their welfare. If there is a cat which has a strong preference for using its nose then simple changes in the smell of the environment might have a big impact on it, whereas, for others it may be insignificant. This work provides a unique insight into the important principles of attending to the needs of the individual rather than the population in general for good welfare."
The findings were published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science.