Interesting Cat Facts You Probably Didn't Know
It’s tempting to believe you know everything about your furry, feline friend(s). However, you’re probably wrong. From history and biological anatomy to their behavioral patterns, there’s a lot to know about cats.
Cats are not only fur babies and companions, but also amazing animals in their own right. Some enjoy swimming in warm waters, while others have furry feet to help them travel through the snow. The only certain thing about them is that you still have much to learn.
Cat in Space
Humans don’t have a monopoly on outer space. In 1963, the French launched Félicette — one of over a dozen cats chosen and trained for an outer space mission — into a suborbital flight that lasted about thirteen minutes.
They Can Develop Allergies
It's well-known that people can develop allergies to cats. But did you know that cats can develop allergies to their owners? More specifically, felines can develop asthma or upper respiratory disorders after spending long periods with smokers or those who like to wear a lot of perfume.
Their Saliva Can Be Dangerous
Although many people can be around cats and not experience any form of an allergic reaction, some people cannot physically be near them, or their owners, for fear of their lives. Most people assume that sufferers are only allergic to cat hair, but this is only partially true.
Train Station Cat
Japan alone seems to love cats about as much as the entire rest of the internet. In addition to having a whole island literally filled with cats, the country also had the only feline train station master. Her name was Tama, and sadly, she passed away in 2015, but before then, she watched over Kishi Station for sixteen glorious years.
Black cats have an unfair reputation. Associated with witchcraft, black magic and bad luck, they have been slaughtered and persecuted since the Middle Ages. Even today, people in many cultures fear the sight of a black cat and consider it an omen of ill tidings.
Cat Taste Buds
Cats sure do seem to have a liking for meaty and fishy things, but sweet foods, not so much. That’s because of the 'sweet' receptors on a cat's tongue — they are far less pronounced and active than they are on human tongues.
Everyone knows that cats go crazy for catnip. At least, most of them do. Approximately one-third of the worldwide domestic cat population doesn't react to catnip at all. Their bodies don't contain the gene that allows them to translate the scent and taste of the plant into psychotropic madness.
Cat Memes Are Forever
There are a lot of people out there that believe cat memes began with I Can Haz Cheezburger?, But the truth of the matter is far more surprising. People have been looking at cats and thinking, "Oh, how fun!" for ages. Possibly since the dawn of western civilization.
This topic is a bit gross, so if you're easily disgusted, you may want to scroll down now. For those of you with stronger stomachs — or weaker imaginations — here's a tidbit about cat genitalia. Yeah, like you wanted to know. Still — male cats have uniquely formed genitals covered in small barbs.
Lots of Bones
The human body contains many bones — more when we're younger than when we're older, believe it or not! People are born with about 270 bones, but by the time they’re adults, that number has shriveled down to only 206.
Taking the Big Dip
While most domestic cats are afraid of water and swimming in general, there are lots of species of big cats that enjoy going for a dip every now and again. Some of the largest domestic cats, such as the Bengal, Turkish Van and savannah cat are all fond of taking to the water.
Cat's don't seem to ever experience claustrophobia. They determinedly seek out small places and wedge themselves there — for better or for worse. This appears to be a safety-related behavior. Cats feel safer when they're in tight, concealed spaces or when they're on the tallest bit of furniture of the house, overseeing all around them.
We've Turned Them Into Permanent Babies
Cats don't meow at other cats in the wild. Even domesticated stray cats only meow when they are kittens or talking to humans. This is a pretty significant finding. It indicates that a feline that develops a relationship with a human mimics certain characteristics of kittenhood for their entire lives.
They Get Sweaty
A lot of people seem to think that cats don't sweat, but oh, they do. Unlike humans, which have sweat glands dispersed over much of the body, cats only produce sweat from their paws. Or toe beans. Whichever you prefer.
All About That Sleep
Our fuzzy feline companions can spend up to half of their lives sleeping. During a typical day, a cat may spend up to 30 percent of its time at rest. Of course, anyone might sleep half the day away if they had someone feeding, loving and looking after them all the time.
Have you ever looked at a pair of quotation marks and thought they looked like cat's claws? If the answer is yes, you think a lot like a Hungarian. Rather than calling them quotation marks, the Hungarians call them cat claws. It does make a lot of sense when you think about it.
Some Like It Cat
Plenty of famous people from modern times and history have been huge fans of the contemporary domesticated feline. Abraham Lincoln loved cats, while Freddie Mercury dedicated whole rooms of his mansion to his furry friends. Ernest Hemingway and John Lennon also had a special affection for kittens.
Cats of all kinds are excellent jumpers. They can leap, they can pounce and they can bounce away into the far distance like tiny panthers. Many domestic breeds can jump up to 6 times their height, which translates to about 12 feet for some cats!
Half the Day Cleaning
Cats can spend half the day sleeping, that's true. But they're likely to spend the other half of their day cleaning themselves. Felines tend to be fastidiously hygienic, which is why they don't often share their litter box with another cat.
Whiskers Aren't Just for Looks
Whiskers may be the equivalent of a beard for cats, but unlike humans, they are more than just facial decoration. Cats depend on their whiskers to let them know about the space around them, kind of like motion-sensing antennae. If a cat's whiskers are damaged or cut, they can experience poor stability and motion control.
Cats don't see things in black and white, but they do experience a very different view of the world. Unlike most humans, cats have difficulty seeing colors like red or pink. Also, the shades of green and blue they perceive are far less saturated and robust compared to the hues people see.
The family cat may find itself caught in a precarious position when exploring behind the refrigerator, washer or dryer. Persistent meowing usually lets owners know that something's up. However, the question quickly becomes how the cat ended up in that spot in the first place.
They Can Taste Smells
When a cat opens its mouth for a few seconds and makes a face as if it smelled something awful, it may be doing just that, except ten times worse. Cats can taste the air for scents, and particularly strong scents produce the that open-mouthed stank face in felines.
Unlike the human tongue, which is rather slippery and smooth, a cat's tongue is rough and sandpapery. This is due to the rows and rows of raised, spine-like papillae covering the tongue. Though it might sound gross to have a spine-covered tongue, it suits the needs of cats just fine.
The Preferred Paw
Just like humans, cats have a preferred 'hand' they use to catch things. A cat can be right-pawed or left-pawed, but unlike people - who mostly do things with their right hands - the split is fairly even among the feline population.
The Truth Behind Purring
Most cat owners think their cat purrs because they are happy and comfortable. While this is true most of the time, it isn't always the case for every cat. Some cats purr when frightened or extremely sick.
My Name Is
There is a substantial amount of evidence that shows that cats do know their names. However, some cat names are more successful than others. Names that end with a '-y' or '-ee' tend to be more effective than others, though more data is needed to draw a solid conclusion on that.
Body Language Is Important
When making a new acquaintance, speaking with a coworker or manager or generally trying to make a good impression, body language is essential. Crossed arms and shifty eyes don't bode well for a potential employee and may cause an applicant to miss an opportunity.
They Can Be Thieves
There are some pretty hilarious stories of families who ended up adopting a klepto kitty. Some cats, especially ones that have lived through some hardship where food was scarce, like to steal things. Car keys, money, jewelry, plastic or anything else that catches their eyes may end up in a secret treasure trove somewhere.
They're Pretty Smart
Dogs get a lot of credit for being smart. However, while it may be easier to teach a dog how to sit, rollover and play dead than it would be to try and teach a cat any of those things, that doesn't necessarily mean that cats are less intelligent than dogs.