25 Fascinating Facts About Cats
Cats are the most popular pets in the world. There are billions of feline lovers all around the world and they are not ashamed to show it. From cat costumes to YouTube videos and even the show cats, they discover and consume every cat-related content.
People often wonder what makes cats so interesting and appealing. What is it about these proud creatures that endear them to their loyal humans? These 25 fascinating facts about cats holds the answers. The list will educate you and also debunk some myths and half-truths about cats.
If you’re a cat owner, these cool facts about cats will help you know and appreciate them better. It’s not like you need more reasons to adore them, but which cat lover says no to cat trivia?
Cats Are the Most Popular Pet in North America
Yes, there are more cat people than dog or goldfish people. More than 30% of families in North America own a cat. There are approximately 94 million housecats in America. In contrast, there are only 78 million dogs. The feline love is not just limited to the U.S. There are over 600 million cats all around the world.
The Sounds Cats Make Aren’t Gibberish
The purrs and meows of cats are not unintelligible sounds like most people think. When your adult cat meows, it is trying to communicate with you. Kittens meow at their mothers to signify they are cold, hungry or uncomfortable. Full-grown cats, however, only meow at humans. Adult cats do not meow at themselves since they have other modes of communication. Meowing is reserved for humans. This means that if you pay close attention, you can understand what your cat is trying to communicate.
Just like the cat’s meow, its purr is not ordinary. You probably thought it meant the cat was content or happy, but it is more than that. Cat purrs stimulate healing and enhance bone density. This is because a cat’s purrs give off a frequency of 25 and 150 Hertz in a uniform pattern. The purrs are beneficial to the health of the cat itself and that of its human. Amazing, isn’t it?
Cats Have Distinctive Nose Pads
Cats have a means of unique recognition and it is their noses. A cat’s nose is the equivalent of fingerprint in humans. It is ridged with a set of unique patterns and bumps. This means that no matter how similar two cats look, their nose pads can be used to differentiate them. Maybe cat nose prints could be a thing in the future.
Cats Have Great Yet Poor Eyesight
There are a lot of fun facts about cats’ eyes. First of all, all cats are born with blue eyes. However, as they grow older, their eye color changes. Also, cats have a third eyelid. It is an inner eyelid whose function is to remove debris and circulate moisture. It is necessary as most cats don’t have eyelashes.
Cats have better and worse vision than humans. Better because they see excellently at night and have a wider peripheral view. However, their eyesight is worse than humans because they are color-blind and farsighted. Cats see far off objects perfectly, but once the object is in front of them, it is difficult for them to focus. You can try this out by placing a treat right underneath your cat’s nose. When he doesn’t reach for it, place it a bit farther and see them lunge at it. Interesting, right?
Cats Have Unique Vertebral Columns
Cats have more bones than humans. They have 244 bones while humans have 206. Their clavicles are free-floating and allow them to squeeze through tiny spaces and alcoves. The bones in their tail and vertebrae are limber and light. This gives them the ability to arch their backs and allows them to protect themselves when they fall. Because of this, cats rarely fall smack on their backs and hurt themselves the way other animals would, hence the nine lives myth. However, as they age, their bones ossify making it harder for them to be so flexible or right themselves mid-air during a fall.
Cats Can’t Taste Sweet Foods
Cats don’t have a sweet tooth. They are carnivorous and are only interested in meat. This is a family trait as wild cats such as tigers and cheetahs can’t taste sweets either. This is due to a mutation in an important receptor that controls the sense of taste. Their taste buds can’t decipher if food is sugary or spicy. So if you give your cats sweet treats or try to tempt them with it, sorry. They do not care for it.
Fish Is Not As Good For Cats As You Thought
Forget what the cartoons told you. Raw fish is not good for cats. Raw fish contains bacteria such as salmonella which are harmful to cats and cause food poisoning. Frequent consumption of raw fish could also lead to neurological disorders in cats. Processed fish such as canned tuna isn’t better either as they can cause malnutrition. Apart from the danger of malnutrition, cats can get addicted to tuna and reject other foods. No pet owner wants a tuna-addicted cat, therefore, give them fish treats sparingly.
Cats Are Territorial When It Comes To Their Humans
Just like most animals, cats are naturally territorial. Feral cats mark off their territory using urine and by leaving their poop uncovered. Domesticated cats, however, show their territoriality in less confrontational ways. When your cat massages you with its paws, it is not being affectionate. It is marking its territory. Cats have scent glands in their face, paws and tail area. Therefore, when they rub against you, they are marking you as theirs; sending a clear message to other pet cats out there that you are taken.
Cats Can Easily Outrun Humans
If you’ve ever wondered who would win in a race between you and your cat, wonder no more. If it comes to it, your cat will outrun you, hands down. Don’t forget they are related to the cheetah which is the fastest animal. Cats are quite fast and an average cat can run as fast as 31 mph (49 km). That is faster than even Usain Bolt.
Having A Cat Is Good For Your Heath
Studies revealed that cats are quite beneficial to your health. Having a cat can reduce the risk of heart diseases, heart attacks and stroke by up to 30%. They boost the immunity of their owners and by providing companionship, reduce stress and anxiety in their owners. In rare cases, cats have been known to detect breast cancer. Incredible, isn’t it?
Cats Are Lactose Intolerant
Another interesting fact about cats most people don’t know is that they are lactose intolerant. Contrary to what cartoons and pictures of cats lapping up milk would have you believe, milk is not good for your cat. It upsets their stomach and causes diarrhea just like it does in humans. Not all cats like milk either.
Cats Are Smarter Than Dogs
Not trying to encourage the cat-dog rivalry, but cats are much smarter than dogs. A cat’s cerebral cortex which is responsible for the processing of cognitive information has 300 million neurons. A dog has only 160 million. Cats have a longer-term memory than dogs and when learning, they replicate an action instead of just watching. They are also more adept at solving complex problems than dogs.
Also, cats make more sounds than a dog. A cat can make over 100 different sounds from yowling to hissing to snarling, depending on its moods or needs. A dog can make just 10.
This even extends to their owners as studies have shown that preferring cats is a sign of high intelligence. Researchers from the University of Bristol found that people who went to college were more likely to own a cat than a dog or any other pet. Also, cat people are more open-minded than dog people. Calm down dog people, this is all science.
Cats Are Neat Freaks
Cats spend over a third of the time they are awake grooming themselves by licking their coat to keep it clean. The back of their tongue has rigid spines which act like a hairbrush, combing out the cat’s fur and keeping it clean. This continuous grooming helps to increase blood flow and regulate temperature.
Because of their incessant self-grooming habit, cats are green! Not literally, but as far as the environment is concerned, cats are very much eco-friendly. A cat’s carbon footprint is like a Volkswagen Bug while a dog’s carbon footprint is similar to a Hummer SUV. Big gap, right?
Cats Have Supersonic Hearing
Cats have heightened hearing which is much better than that of humans or dogs. Their sense of hearing is quite strong as they can hear sounds as high as 64 kHz. Humans can only hear as high as 20 kHz. In the 1960s, Henry Helb, a Dutch ambassador living in Moscow, Russia, noticed his kittens kept on clawing and meowing at a particular wall in the house. On inspection, he found 30 tiny microphones hidden behind the boards by Russian spies. The cats picked up the sounds when the microphones were turned on.
Cats Have An Acute Sense Of Smell
Just like their sense of hearing, cats have a keen sense of smell which is fourteen times as strong as humans’. They can perceive scents even if they are diluted to one part per million. One of the reasons they lick themselves is to get your scent off their fur.
Cats Spend Most Of Their Lives Sleeping
Cats spend two-thirds of their life sleeping. 70% of a cat’s day is dedicated to sleeping. Very few animals can top this. Most cats sleep for about 16 to 20 hours each day. One reason they sleep so much is that a growth hormone is released only when they sleep. Another reason is, sleeping restores the energy they used during the day. In the wild, cats hunt during the night so they need a lot of sleep and energy to do this. In case you were wondering, cats dream when they sleep.
Male Cats Are Left-Pawed And Females Are Right-Pawed
Like humans, cats favor a paw over the other. Female cats are mostly right-pawed while the male cats are often left-pawed. Interestingly, in humans, most lefties are males.
Cat Brain Is Identical To Human’s
A cat’s brain is biologically similar to the human brain by a whopping 90%. Sections of the brain that are responsible for emotions are identical in cats and humans. This means they think and respond emotionally in the same pattern as humans. Probably why they are smarter than dogs.
Ancient Egyptians Revered Cats
The ancient Egyptians had an interesting relationship with cats. Their mythology and traditions were all about cats. Ancient Egyptians were the first to domesticate cats so they were regarded as sacred animals. Even the goddess Bastet was portrayed as a cat. Because of this, cats were mourned when they died. The family members would hold extravagant funerals for the cats where they drank wine and beat their chests. They also shaved off their eyebrows to mourn the death of their cats. Some families even embalmed their cats and had them placed in the family tomb or pet cemetery with tiny mummies of mice. Smuggling a cat out of Egypt or killing one was punishable by death.
The Richest And Most Expensive Cats
Some cats are quite pricey and will leave a big hole in your pocket. But the most expensive cat is an Asian Leopard Cat-Domestic Shorthair Hybrid named Zeus. It was sold for $154,000. On the other hand, the Guinness Book of World Records, states that the costliest cat was purchased for $24,000 on January 1987. It was a Californian Spangled cat to be precise.
Some cat owners are so fond of their pets that they sometimes bequeath their estate to their cats. One such cat owners is Ben Rea, a wealthy British man. He left his $13 million fortune to his cat Blackie. The money was split between three cat charities and they were bestowed with the duty of taking care of Blackie. Till today, Blackie holds the Guinness World Record as the wealthiest cat.
Cats Have A Type Of Music They Love
Cats have a type of music they prefer but in 2015, composer David Teie took it a step further by teaming up with animal scientists to produce an album exclusively for cats. According to David, The album, Music for Cats are “songs based on feline vocal communication and environmental sounds that pique the interests of cats”. So if your cats can’t stand your taste in music, get them a cat album.
Cat Whiskers Help Them Detect If They Can Fit Through Spaces
Cats have about 12 whiskers on each side of their face. These whiskers are not just there to make your cat look cute. They are unique to each cat and have extensive uses. They are covered in nerve cells and blood vessels which help the cat navigate the environment around it. Cats use them as a measurement tool to span the space around them and detect the width of entrances to know if they can fit into an area.
Cats Can Be Commercially Cloned
The first commercially cloned pet was a cat named Little Nicky in 2004. The procedure cost its owner over $50,000, making it one of the most expensive cats ever. Little Nicky is still alive and because of its existence, more people are having their pets cloned. Today, labs clone cats for $25,000, while dogs go for $50,000.
Cats Show Their Aggressiveness By Not Covering Their Poop
Feral cats or cats living in colonies use urine and exposed feces to display a higher hierarchal position. The alpha cat leaves its feces uncovered as a sign of dominance and to mark its territory while others cover up their poop. Housecats are rarely confrontational and often go out of their way to avoid getting into fights. However, when they get into uncomfortable situations, they show their anger by leaving their poop uncovered. So if you annoy your cat by changing its litter box or using a chemical that masks scent in your home, it will retaliate by leaving its poop uncovered to show you it doesn’t fear you.
Cats Have Barbed Penises
This cat trivia will not be complete without mentioning that male cats have barbed penises. As expected, they are quite painful for female cats. However, the barbs stimulate the vulva and prevent the female cat from escaping during coitus as female cats are not all that into sex. Can you blame them?
There you have it – all the interesting cat facts about your favorite feline pets. If you’ve ever wondered why cats are special, and why cat owners seem obsessed with their cats, now you know. You probably see them in a new light after reading these cats facts, don’t you?