Facts About Cats You May Not Have Known
Fascinating Facts About Cats, Learn More About Your Cat.
You know cats make amazing pets for plenty of reasons, but sometimes it can be hard to put into words exactly why they're so great. If you need a little help (or a caption for your next Instagram photo), scroll through these perfect cats and truths about cats that prove why they're such great creatures. :
Facts About Cats
1. CATS MAKE GREAT PRIVATE DETECTIVES
Can’t afford a private eye? A feline might be able do the job for free. In the 1960s, ambassador Henry Helb—who then lived in the Dutch Embassy in Moscow—noticed that his two Siamese kitties were arching their backs and clawing at one of the walls. Helb had a hunch that the cats heard something he couldn’t, and sure enough, he found 30 tiny microphones hidden behind the boards. Instead of busting the spies, Helb and his staff took advantage of the surveillance and griped about household repairs or packages stuck in customs while standing in front of the mics. The eavesdroppers took care of their complaints—and apart from Helb and his companions, no one was the wiser.
2. A HOUSE CAT CAN REACH SPEEDS OF UP TO 30MPH If you’ve watched your little kitty charging around the living room when they’re feeling lively you know that cats are pretty quick, but you won’t believe this cat fact. They can hit speeds of around 30mph which is so fast that they could beat Usain Bolt in a 200-metre dash!
3. THERE ARE SEVERAL BREEDS OF BLACK CATS You might think otherwise, but black cats are not just one entity! Depending on the breed, there are some differences, not forgetting that Bombay is the only one with only black cats. There are also 22 breeds in which black cats can be reported. These include Maine Coon, Persian, Ragdoll, Devon Rex and Siberian.
4. THE RECORD FOR THE LOUDEST PURR IS 67.8DB(A)
The record for the loudest purr by a domestic cat is currently held by Merlin, a black and white cat from Torquay, UK. His purr is 67.8db(A) and for context, this is nearly the same volume as a shower! Most cats purr at around 25db.
5. CATS ARE INDEPENDENT Survival is a solitary affair for cats; they are self-reliant for food, shelter, grooming and territory defence. They can be social but prefer to choose their own companions.
6. IT'S POSSIBLE THAT PURRING HELPS BONE DENSITY Scientists don’t quite know why cats purr, but one hypothesis is that the sound frequency of purring—between 25 and 150 Hertz—"can improve bone density and promote healing," theorizes Leslie A. Lyons, an assistant professor at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis, in an article for Scientific American. "Because cats have adapted to conserve energy via long periods of rest and sleep, it is possible that purring is a low energy mechanism that stimulates muscles and bones without a lot of energy."
7. THE GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS DON'T HAVE AN AWARD FOR FATTEST CAT
Officials don’t want to encourage people to overfeed their pets, but in 2003, a Siamese cat named Katy was a serious contender for the unofficial record. Katy, who lived in Asbest, Russia, was given hormones to stop her mating. The treatment had an unintended side effect: It dramatically increased her appetite, and the hungry kitty ballooned to 50 pounds.
8. WHEN SHOULD I GET A NEW CAT? If you are considering getting a new cat or kitten, choose a time when it is quiet in your house (not in the middle of a family celebration etc) and perhaps when you have a day or two when you can help it to settle in and be there while it finds its way around, not just before you go on holiday etc.
9. MOST CATS HAVE NO EYELASHES
10. CATS LIKE SMALL SPACES
Why do cats love to cuddle up in boxes? Animal experts think that the enclosed spaces make felines feel more protected, secure, and important—kind of like they’re back in the womb. (Sure enough, researchers found that when shelter cats are provided with boxes to cuddle up in, they adjust faster and are less stressed than kitties that aren't given boxes.) Also, sleeping in a box might help a feline retain more body heat so it stays nice and toasty, and therefore relaxed.
11. CATS MIGHT BE MARKING YOU AS TERRITORY WHEN THEY MASSAGE YOU Sounds right. Experts haven’t figured out why cats like to knead, but they’ve come up with several possible explanations, one being that your kitty is trying to mark their "territory" (that’s you!) with the scent glands in their paws. And since kittens knead their mama’s belly to stimulate milk production, there’s also a chance that they carry this behavior into adulthood—a phenomenon known as a "neotenic behavior."
12. THE RECORD FOR THE LONGEST CAT EVER IS 48.5 INCHES Domestic cats are usually considered to be quite small and dainty creatures. But did you know the world’s longest cat was a Maine Coon called Stewie, and was measured at 48.5 inches? Whereas, the record for the tallest cat belonged to Arcturus at a whopping 19.05 inches tall! Those are some big cats.
13. MOST CATS DON'T LIKE GETTING WET BECAUSE THEY LOSE CONTROL
Experts think that cats hate water because it’s uncomfortable to have soggy fur, or because it’s frightening for a kitty to lose control of its buoyancy.
14. MEOWS ARE NOT INNATE CAT LANGUAGE—THEY DEVELOPED THEM TO COMMUNICATE WITH HUMANS!
15. DECREASE IN APPETITE Cats don't go on fasts or diets like we do so it's important to consult a veterinarian if your pet suddenly loses interest in food or stops eating altogether. It could be due to stress or to an underlying health condition.
16. GRUMPY CATS
Despite their sinister appearance, the hairless sphinx cat may be the most affectionate — perhaps because their furless body needs more human snuggling to keep warm, according to a study published in 2012 in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior. The least friendly cats were the mixed breeds, known as domestic shorthairs, the study found. Then again, purebred cats may be friendlier on average because they spend more time with their mothers being socialized than those picked up on the street after weeks of hard knocks. Either way, for most breeds, there's little data to back up proud owner claims that their Snookums is friendlier, smarter or better at using a flush toilet because of its pedigree.
17. CATS CAN DRINK SEAWATER Unlike humans, cats can only hydrate by drinking seawater. Indeed, their kidneys are effective enough to filter salt. Conversely, if you were to drink only seawater, you would quickly die of dehydration. And for good reason, you should drink more fresh water to allow your body to filter salt.
18. CATS HAVE FIVE TOES ON EACH FRONT PAW, BUT ONLY FOUR ON THE BACK ONES It’s not uncommon, though, for cats to have extra toes. The cat with the most toes known had 32—eight on each paw!
19. BREED PERSONALITIES?
Persians are more aloof, Siamese are a dog-like breed and Maine Coons are friendly but not lap cats. At least, that's the lore in cat fancier circles. But while those tales may be true, only a few studies have looked at cat personality in any depth. In a study described in "Companion animals and us: exploring the relationships between people and pets," (Cambridge University Press, 2000), the caretakers of Siamese cats rated their felines as more affectionate, playful, curious, friendly to strangers and chatty than non-pedigreed cats. Persians were rated as friendlier and more affectionate to the owner, but also fussier about food and cleanliness than the average mutt cat.
20. HISSINGHissing usually indicates that your cat feels threatened, angry, or is in pain. Cats usually hiss at other animals. Along with the sound comes a defensive, aggressive posture, including an arched back, puffed up hair, twitchy tail, flattened ears, and an open mouth baring the teeth. At times, cats spit along with hissing. If, however, the hissing is unprovoked, it may be a sign that your pet is in pain with an undiagnosed condition.
21. ISAAC NEWTON INVENTED THE CAT DOOR The scientist is most famous for calculated gravity, but it’s also believed that Isaac Newton invented the cat door. How Stuff Works writes that when Newton was working on his experiments at the University of Cambridge he was constantly interrupted by his cats scratching at the door. So he called the Cambridge carpenter to saw two holes in the door, one for the mother cat and one for her kittens! Apparently these holes can still be seen at the university today.
22. THEY ARE NOT SYSTEMATICALLY BLACK
Yes, a black cat can have different pigmentations throughout its life. Basically, if the coat of one of these cats is a deep black, it is less likely that its color will change. On the other hand, it can happen that by basking in the sun, the most slippery cats adopt a browner coloration. The sun's rays can change the color of a cat's fur.
23. MEOWING Everyone is familiar with cat meows. Kittens meow a whole lot to communicate with their moms, while adult cats will more often meow to talk to humans rather than each other. Cat meows don’t all sound the same. The standard meow is mid-length in duration and mid-pitched in tone and is the “asking for something” sound. The mewl, a short high-pitched meow, usually means “hello,” and can be accompanied by rubbing against your legs. A long, drawn-out meow usually means that your furry friend wants something specific, like dinner. Repeated meows may indicate that your cat is excited, while high-pitched meows can mean that your kitty is startled or hurt. Low-pitched meows express unhappiness and are a way for your furry companion to let you know you’ve done something wrong.
24. WHY DO CATS BITE? There are many reasons as why cats bite and it’s important to understand what your cat is trying to communicate by biting. They may be trying to send a message or want you to stop doing something. Figuring out why cats bite can be confusing as many owners complain that cats will bite unprovoked, and out of nowhere. One moment they can be enjoying a stroke, the next moment, the teeth are out! Most often, when cats bite they are trying to tell you that they aren’t enjoying the contact that they are currently receiving. For felines, there is a very fine line between enjoyable handling and irritating petting, so while an owner may think a bite has come from nowhere, for a cat the action is entirely justified.
25. MALE CATS HAVE BARBED PENISES
While painful for the lady cat, they do serve a purpose: The barbs stimulate the vulva, allowing the female to ovulate, and they also keep her from escaping mid-coitus. (Felines are typically loners, and not that into sex.)
26. AGGRESSION TOWARD PEOPLE OR OTHER ANIMALS Aggressive actions toward animals or people can be a sign of a stressed or sick cat. Consult your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist before the problems get worse.
27. A CAT CANNOT SEE DIRECTLY UNDER ITS NOSE
28. AGGRESSIVE CAT BITING
Although cat biting will often just be a warning nip or over-excited play, it can sometimes become an expression of aggression. Biting during play is fairly easy to distinguish from aggressive behaviour: these little nips won’t cause much damage, and are over quickly. Aggressive cat biting is accompanied by other signs that your cat is in a fighting mode, whether this is directed towards a person or another animal. It’s important to stop cats biting out of aggression. Your pet should learn that this kind of behaviour isn’t acceptable, or they will continue to use it as a way of expressing their fear or frustration. Even when you train a cat to stop biting, all animals can occasionally forget the lesson and act out of instinct. Always reinforce good behaviour with treats, and never try to physically discipline your pet: they won’t understand the message this way. Aggressive biting will often be accompanied by hissing, spitting and a defensive, arched posture. Try to avoid allowing your pet into situations in which they become aggressive. This is more likely to occur with outdoor cats that encounter territorial disputes, or cats that have a history of abuse and are frightened easily.
29. CATS SPEND 70% OF THEIR LIVES SLEEPING If you thought cats spent a lot of their lives sleeping, you’d be right. According to Veterinary Hub, Cats actually spend 70% of their lives sleeping, which works out to around 13-16 hours a day. It’s a cat’s life!
30. DIDGA THE CAT CAN PERFORM 24 TRICKS IN ONE MINUTE If you think cats can’t do tricks, then you’ll be shocked to learn this cat fact. The most tricks performed by a cat in one minute is 24! Didga completed a series of tricks from rolling over, to even jumping a bar whilst on a skateboard!
31. DISNEYLAND HAS A LOT OF FERAL CATS (WITH AN IMPORTANT JOB)
Approximately 200 feral cats roam the grounds of Disneyland, where they help control the amusement park’s rodent population. They’re all spayed or neutered, and park staffers provide them with medical care and extra food.
32. PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS THE THE AMERICAN SHORTHAIR The American Shorthair is a muscular cat with a sweet disposition. Medium to large in size, it is a working cat in every regard, exhibiting both balance and endurance. The most striking color for the American Shorthair's coat is sterling silver coat with black markings. This is one of the most popular colors, but there are upwards of 60 colors available for the Shorthair.
33. BLACK CATS WOULD BE MORE RESISTANT TO A FEW DISEASES And for that, black-coated felines can thank genetics. The latter also has some responsibility for this surprising fact: these cats may well be more resistant to diseases than their fellow cats. In any case, they are considered to be more robust. Specifically, their resistance to HIV, which is of interest to scientists working to find a cure. They are looking more specifically at the genetic mapping of black cats to perhaps one day create treatments for this disease.
34. CAN I KEEP A CAT INDOORS?
If you think about the lifestyle of a cat which has access outdoors you will realise that being outdoors brings a huge variety to its life and allows it to use all of its hunting behaviours if it wants to. Of course, there are risks outside for cats, but you need to balance these with the very positive aspects of physical and mental stimulation and an outlet for natural behaviour.
35. CATS CAN SWEAT Cats sweat through their paws (and sometimes when they get very hot they pant).
36. DOMESTIC CATS SPEND ABOUT 70 PERCENT OF THE DAY SLEEPING. AND 15 PERCENT OF THE DAY GROOMING
37. THE HEARING OF THE AVERAGE CAT IS AT LEAST FIVE TIMES KEENER THAN THAT OF A HUMAN ADULT
38. SOME CATS LOVE TO SWIM Not all cats are offended by a little swim. In fact, many felines love water! This is particularly the case for Cats of Maine Coon, Norwegian, Siberian, Bengal, Van Turk or Turkish Angora. However, the reason for such a love for water remains a mystery. This is probably related to the evolution of these breeds that lived in wet environments or in places where water was very present.
39. CATS ARE EXPERT HUNTERS Cats hunt alone - in the wild they'll spend 6-8 hours a day hunting. They can hear the high pitched frequencies used by small rodents and their whiskers or 'vibrissae', are highly sensitive to vibrations, helping them to detect prey.
That's our list of fun facts about cats! If you liked this article, why not share it with your friends? Is there an interesting cat fact that you know that we didn't mention? Or maybe there's something interesting/unusual that your kitty does! Let us know over on our Facebook page!