The cat brain: how does it work?

The cat brain is as fascinating as anything that affects these graceful animals. The function and structure of the brain are similar to those of other vertebrates - including humans. Nevertheless, the research of the cat's brain is not easy.

Scientists working on the cat brain are using various disciplines such as medicine, neuroscience or behavioral science to unravel the mystery of this complex organ. Find out what has been found so far.

Difficulties in exploration

When it comes to bodily functions that are controlled by the cat's brain, researchers can orient themselves to the brain of humans or that of other vertebrates. These include movements, reflexes and certain innate instincts, for example for food intake. Further insights can be gained from pathology and neurology as well as from medicine, when an area in the cat's brain suddenly stops functioning due to a disease. The diseased part of the brain is identified and the behavior, movements and appearance of the sick cat compared with a healthy cat. From this the function of the diseased part of the brain can be concluded.

However, when it comes to the thinking, feeling and awareness of a cat, it becomes difficult to research it scientifically without any doubt. Here, the scientists rely on the comparison to humans, because cats can not speak. From this conjectures and theories can be derived, but not undeniable facts.

Cat brain: function and tasks

The cat brain can be divided into six areas: cerebellum, cerebrum, diencephalon, brainstem, limbic system and vestibular system. The cerebellum is responsible for the function of the muscles and controls the musculoskeletal system. In the cerebrum, the seat of consciousness is suspected, besides, there is the memory. Emotions, sensory perceptions and behaviors are also influenced by the cerebrum, according to scientific findings. For example, a disease of the cerebrum leads to behavioral problems, blindness or epilepsy.

The diencephalon ensures that the hormone system works properly. It also fulfills the function of regulating independent and unknowable body processes. These include feed intake, appetite and satiety, as well as adjusting body temperature and maintaining the water-electrolyte balance. The brainstem keeps the nervous system running and the limbic system links instincts with what has been learned. Feelings, motivation and reactions are also regulated by the limbic system. Finally, the vestibular system is also called the organ of balance. If something is wrong with that, the cat, for example, holds his head askew, falls slightly or has a side-roll when walking.

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