This is more of a General Ramble with Questions. I am looking for information on how our good friends (and enemies, depending on leanings) felix domesticus experience their surroundings. Obviously, much of the answer is going to be somewhat conceptual–I’m actually looking to use it in an Interactive Fiction game I’m beginning to write–at one point, the player’s consciousness is going to be operating through a cat. I’m looking both for information on what we know about how their senses differ in capabilities/functioning from our own, and general thoughts and opinions on what the actual qualia generated from them feel like.
This is what I know, or rather, think I know (which category the Straight Dope has been very helpful about correcting me about), about things thus far. Corrections, expansions, links, recommended books, etc., all most welcome.
Sight: cats don’t see much color, because they’ve got a great amount of nightvision. They don’t see with the crispness of detail that people do when things are at rest, but they see motion extremely well.
Smell: much more sensitive than the nearly-blind human sniffer, both in faintness, and in a level of “texture”. not as important to them, though, as a dog’s? Not quite so immensely powerful?
Touch: about what you’d expect. Pads on the feet pretty sensitive to pressure, texture change, finding the right bits to sink claws into when climbing trees. I can only assume that being able to stretch like that feels amazingly good (I envy their spines and jointing every time I see a cat stretch). Whiskers do anything useful?
Hearing: very quick to pick up on directions. otherwise, I’ve no idea. do they hear dog whistles? Lower frequencies extending below human range?
Taste: even less of an idea. highly qualitative, obviously, as they can cheerfully eat and lick things that would make any biped gag.
Kinesthesia in general: absurd sense of balance, general flexibility, strength.
From web searches thus far, I’ve turned up an awful lot of peoples’ pages on their pets, an interesting bit from a lady who’s very emphatic that declawing is a terrible thing to do (which I imagine that cats would agree with), clearly more cute pictures of cuddly kittens that do make one go “awwww”, and a highly amusing faked-picture site about feline bionics (which I stupidly forgot to bookmark), none of which has helped me tremendously.
What do you think, sirs?