Short Communication

Journal of Ethology

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 325-329

First online:

Do faecal odours enable domestic cats (Felis catus) to distinguish familiarity of the donors?

  • Miyabi NakabayashiAffiliated withWildlife Research Center of Kyoto University Email author 
  • , Ryohei YamaokaAffiliated withKyoto Institute of Technology
  • , Yoshihiro NakashimaAffiliated withGraduate School of Science, Kyoto University

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We studied the ability of domestic cats to distinguish familiarity based on faecal odours. This was evaluated by comparing the sniffing duration of cats’ own, familiar, and unfamiliar faeces. We found that (1) sniffing durations differed between unfamiliar faeces and the other types of faeces, (2) sniffing durations of faeces of the same unfamiliar individuals decreased over time, and (3) sniffing durations toward unfamiliar faeces increased after change of donors. These results indicate that domestic cats can distinguish the faecal odours based on familiarity. This ability could be adaptive for domestic cats to maintain their social relationships.


Felis catus Faecal odours Familiarity Sniffing durations Olfactory communication