From their razor-sharp senses to their weird and funny behaviors – there’s so much to love about them, isn’t it? We have prepared some more of the amazing things about your cat that will help you understanding and care for them even better!
We’re back with part 2 of our popular series on cats and what makes them so fascinating! This list shares another 30 interesting facts that every cat owner must know about their furry felines.
From their razor-sharp senses to their weird and funny behaviors – there’s so much to love about them, isn’t it? So scroll down to find out more amazing things about your cat that will help you understanding and care for them even better!
1. They Have A Lot In Common With Tigers
Ever looked at your cat sneakily stalking their toy and wondered “Woah, she looks just like a tiger”, well, you’ll be pretty close to the truth! Interestingly, cats share a whopping 95.6 percent of their genetic material with their much larger striped feline cousins! If you think about it, it’s actually hard not to notice the various behaviors that they have still retained from their jungle ancestors too. Behaviors like prey stalking, scratching, playing with prey, pounding, and urine marking are all habits that both cats – and tigers – do regularly. And then, there’s that unmistakable royal attitude – seems like cats have inherited that majestic grace as well!
2. Unique Sense Of Sight
Just looking into a cat’s eyes and the way they seem to change through the day can be so fascinating – the way they look like tiny slits in the day, and adorably dark at night! But their eyes have other unique properties too – cats are nearsighted because their large eyes mean that they can’t see a focus on any object that is less than 1 foot in front of them.
However, cats have excellent peripheral vision, which lets them see everything happening around them without having to turn their heads much. Plus, they also have really good night vision – far more superior than that of humans.
3. Jumping Real High
We’re sure everyone with a cat has seen them jump crazy heights all over the house without batting an eyelid! There’s a reason for that – a healthy young cat can easily jump to up to six times its own body length in a single bound!
This roughly translates to jumping about eight feet without breaking into a sweat! That’s pretty amazing, and they do it all thanks to their extremely strong and flexible back legs. The additional length and muscular mass on their hind legs make jumping such impossible heights a breeze. Looks like we need to organize a Cat Olympics to celebrate that!
4. Why They Get Stuck On Trees
Cats getting stuck on trees has almost become a running joke by now! But have you ever wondered how can an animal that’s supposedly so good at climbing, stalking, and jumping suddenly feel helpless once they reach the top of the tree, and need help climbing down?
Well, the culprit is the unique shape of their claws – all of a cat’s claws have downward curves. While things are great for climbing up objects, this shape also means that cats are not able to climb down a tree head-first.
That’s why they either have to back down the tree trunk, or meow until someone spots them and helps!
5. Bones, Bones, Everywhere
An animal’s skeletal structure, and how many bones they have in it can make a big difference in how they move and the maneuvers they can manage. In a cat’s case, they have a total of about 244 bones in their body. It’s thanks to these different bones, joined together by muscles, that they’re able to run and jump the way they do!
Interestingly, a cat’s skeletal structure is not that different from that of a human body, even though cats have more bones in number than we do. Practically for every bone in our body, a cat has an identical counterpart in its skeleton. Pretty cool to see that we have this in common with the felines!
6. They Taste What’s In The Air
Ever noticed your cat sitting blankly with their mouths open, all derp-faced? Well, there’s a reason for that – and it’s actually a secret superpower! While cats have regular noses that let them smell the aromas in the air, they also have another amazing second organ in the roof of their mouth. But here’s something that will blow your mind – this additional organ in their body that lets them – wait for it – taste scents in the air! This ability is called the ‘Flehmen’s response’, and it’s a highly evolved way to detect different chemicals in the air around them – be it tasting aromas of food, waste, or pheromones.
This fascinating additional organ that lets them do this is called the vomeronasal organ, also called the Jacobson organ.
7. Smarter Than Dogs?
We’re pretty sure dog owners may tell you that dogs are smarter than cats, while cat owners will say the opposite! Well, the truth is – it’s hard to answer! While a cat’s brain is about 0.9% of her overall weight, a dog’s brain is about 1.2% of its body mass.
But wait! the brain size isn’t really what matters when measuring smartness, it’s the number of neurons in the brain that tells the real story. And in that case, cats have almost 300 million neurons, while dogs have only 160 million neurons – around 50% of those of cats!
But even then, we can’t say that cats are smarter since there haven’t been enough studies to measure the intelligence of cats. The main reason for that is because they are so hard to control! Maybe that’s because they’re just smarter, isn’t it?
8. Silent Stalkers
Cats have an almost unnerving ability to stalk and walk almost noiselessly, just like tigers! They’re able to do this because of a couple of different reasons, right from their walking style to the way their paws are made.
firstly, cats have a very precise style of movement where they put their back paw exactly where their front paw had landed. This minimizes the noise they make and gives them superb grip and the ability to stay perfectly stable even in rough terrain. Secondly, and more importantly, they have soft and thick padding on their paws, which lets them silently walk and sneak up.
9. Watch Out For The Tongue
Have you noticed how cats have rough tongues with almost teeth-like structures all over them? these tiny, structures are actually several backward-facing spines that are also known as papillae, and they are extremely useful for cats!
These papillae are perfect for stripping all the meat from bones, which lets cats extract maximum nutrition from whatever they eat. Secondly, these papillae also work like fine-toothed comb for when they groom themselves. The sharp papillae help clean any debris or dirt off their hair, as well as groom their fur.
While your cat licking you a little won’t harm you, being constantly licked by them could transfer bacteria to you that, while not harmful to cats, could cause diseases in humans. So, it’s best to be a little careful.
10. Long Tails To Balance
Your cat’s furry, long winding tail has many important uses for her! These tails play a crucial role in helping cats balance when they’re walking – just like holding a pole helps tightrope walkers balance themselves when they’re walking at dizzying heights.
A cat’s long tail acts as a counterbalance whenever they walk on tricky places such as fences, narrow ledges, or shelves. Not just that, it also helps them stay perfectly in balance when they’re racing after or pouncing onto their prey.
11. Whiskers Are Crucial For Them
Let us say this right away – you should never, ever cut a cat’s whiskers, no matter what the reason! That’s because cats use them almost like a second pair of eyes. Cats use their whiskers to feel out the world that surrounds them, and helps them navigate, balance, and detect danger.
These whiskers also help cats judge whether or not they will be able to fit into a small space, like a box (that cats love!). These whiskers are not only around their noses but also over their eyes, acting like eyebrows. So we hope now you know why cutting them is never a good idea since you’ll be depriving them of their senses!
12. They Think Slow Objects Are Stationery
Just like tigers, cats’ eyes have evolved to detect extremely fast-moving animals like rats and other prey. This helps them accurately detect their location, stalk and pounce at them successfully. This is also why your cat goes crazy chasing the rapid movements of a laser pointer!
However, they have an interesting ‘handicap’ so to speak – to cats, a slow-moving object that appears so to humans may look perfectly stationery to them. We’re not sure if this comes in the way of a cat’s day-to-day life, but it seems like they evolved to not need the ability to detect slow movement too well.
13. Living Longer Now
According to a study conducted by the Banfield hospital in Portland, Oregon, there has been a change in a cats’ average lifespan in the last 10 years or so. Research on over 460,000 cats has revealed that in the decade from 2002 to 2012, the average lifespan of a cat has increased by one full year. That’s pretty good news!
But what is the reason for this increase in lifespan? There could be several causes – such as more people spaying and neutering their cats, more people taking care of the nutrition as well as medical needs of their furry friends.
But given how cute and amazing they are, we would personally want our cats to live forever!
14. Most Active Twice A Day
Imagine it’s 5 am.. you’re sleeping soundly in your bed – and your cat pounces on you, jarring you awake! Cat owners know this scenario all too well, and no, cats don’t do this simply to annoy you. The reason why cats are active at such odd hours is that are ‘crepuscular’.
What this means is that cats are the most physically active at two times during the day – during dusk, as well as the dawn! Unfortunately for us, this perfectly clashes with our schedules – our furry partners are active when we are winding down from the day and getting ready for bed, or are fast asleep!
15. Seriously Into Grooming
You may have caught your cat grooming herself all the time, and it’s not really because they are vain. Yes, cats spend anywhere between 30 to 50% of the day grooming themselves, and the reason is biological – The need to groom themselves so often is hardwired in their DNA!
Cats groom for severe reasons – to clean their injuries, their ancestors did it to successfully hide their scent from predators, it also helps them lubricate their coat and skin. Last but not the least, cats also groom purely for pleasure – hey, that’s important too.
So you can see how this habit has helped cats survive and stay healthy over the course of their evolution!
16. Indoor vs. Outdoor: Longer Lifespan?
We’ve seen many people wonder whether outdoor cats have a longer lifespan, or indoor cats do. Well, the verdict is clear on this one – indoor cats have been found to live longer than their outdoor counterparts.
The veterinary department of UC Davis reveals that while indoor cats can expect an average lifespan of 10 – 15 years, outdoor cats have an average lifespan that is as short as 2 to 5 years! This could be for several reasons – indoor cats are better-taken care of and they enjoy a more nutritious diet.
They also usually have access to medical help, and don’t have to engage in physical fights with rival cats. Sadly, outdoor cats don’t enjoy the same luck with their health and well-being.
17. Sticklers For Their Litter Box
Cats can get quite territorial, and they feel most comfortable when they know that the objects in their surroundings are firmly part of their own territory, and not shared. This behavior extends to their litter boxes as well.
It has been observed that cats are quite territorial about their little boxes, and would not want to share them with another cat, even if they both live in the same home. That’s why veterinarians recommend you keep at least one individual litter box for each cat of yours, plus one extra. You wouldn’t want them over who gets to go first, do you?
18. Tasty Food Or Nothing At All
Cats can be quite picky eaters! Most cats develop taste for a favorite cat food brand and may flat out refuse to eat if you offer them a new, unfamiliar brand if they don’t like the taste. In fact, they can often be so fussy about their food that they may even refuse unpalatable food all the way to the point of starvation!
So, how to get around this problem? If your cat has suddenly started refusing to eat, make sure to take her to the vet to get her examined. The reason may be as innocent as you changing her brand of cat food, but, sometimes, it may indicate other underlying health issues as well.
19. Can Be Young Mothers
Cats can reach sexual maturity very young – as early as 4 to 6 months – if they hit puberty early. This means that they can well become mothers even when they’re a few months old! This is why it’s important to spay your furry females as soon as it is safe to do so, to avoid such a situation.
There are several indications that cats give off when they go into ‘estrus’ or in ‘heat’. They start to loudly ‘yowl’, and rub against your furniture and even you. Female cats may also start marking out the interior of your home with their urine, as a way to mark their own territories.
20. These Foods Are Risky
It’s very important to know what foods can turn out to be dangerous and even poisonous to your cat, to ensure their good health and safety. Grapes and raisins are a strict no-no for cats since they can cause kidney failure – even though there hasn’t been enough research yet to find out why.
Along with grapes and raisins, garlic, onions, and chives are also quite dangerous for your furry felines. This is because they can take a heavy toll on your cat’s digestive system, and even cause them anemia if you’re not careful. Chocolate is another food to stay away from since it can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and even seizures in your cat!
21. Tips For A Good Night’s Sleep
As we already mentioned, cats are biologically wired to be at their most physically active during dawn and dusk – times when you are most probably busy or very sleepy! So are you forever fated to suffer broken sleep, or is there a way to sync your cat’s sleep schedule closer to your own?
The good news is that there is a way for you to do that! Firstly, you can start by keeping your feline very active all through the day, since this will tire her out and make her fall asleep better at night. Also, in case you don’t free-feed your cat and serve her meals at defined times of the day, you can give her a slightly heavier evening meal to encourage sleepiness.
22. Can Be Neutered Early On
If you’re worried about having your cat spayed or neutered too early, there is little reason to stress. Cats can be safely spayed or neutered as early as when they eight weeks old. In fact, animal shelters usually perform these procedures on their cats at this age, to help them prepare for potential adoption.
But if you’re still worried that eight weeks is too early for your furry pal, then we still suggest completing the spaying or neutering within the first 5 months of your cat’s life. This will avoid any health complications later on.
23. Spaying/ Neutering For Longer Life
When it comes to spaying or neutering your cats benefitting their health, the evidence is overwhelming! Research has shown that spaying your cat drastically reduces her risk of developing any malignant tumors later in life. In fact, spaying before her very first heat cycle can practically eliminate your cat’s risk of developing breast tumors. Furthermore, neutering or spaying cats have been shown to increase their lifespan – neutered cats have been found to live a staggering 62% longer than unneutered cats, while spayed female cats live an average of 39% longer than unspayed cats. This alone sounds like reason enough to get your furry pals to go through the procedure well in time!
24. Slow Blink For Love
Your cat may not kiss you the way humans do to show affection, but she has many other ways of expressing her love to you! And one of the most adorable ways of doing that is their ‘slow blink’, which is also called ‘cat’s kiss’ in the cat community!
Cats do this by looking at you, and slowly closing their eyes and opening them again. In the wild and unpredictable feline world, closing their eyes is the ultimate way to show that a cat loves you, and trusts you enough to let her guard down when you’re around.
Isn’t that the sweetest thing? In fact, you can return the gesture by slowly blinking back at them, expressing that you pose no threat, and acknowledge their presence.
25. Secret Language With Their Human
Dogs can be quite expressive and easy to understand at times. Cats, by contrast, don’t appear to be as expressive as dogs, but assuming that they don’t communicate with their humans is a mistake! Studies have revealed that cats are, in fact, extremely communicative with their owners. It’s just that we tend to ignore or misunderstand those signals.
What’s even cooler is that each cat appears to have developed its own personal language with its human – which its own unique set of purrs, vocalizations, and other behaviors. Cats even have over 100 different vocalizations, while dogs only have about 10 of them!
26. Rubbing Against You For A Reason
If you’ve ever interacted with a cat, even if she’s a street cat, you may have noticed her trying to move between or rubbing your leg with her body. If you were confused as to what that meant, it’s actually a way for them to greet you, since cats greet other cats the same way – by rubbing against their body or face.
They also do this to mark you with their own scent – to mark you as part of their familiar territory! Cats also tend to move between your legs when they’re excited, or when they want something from you – since cat owners tend to sense their furry friend’s excitement and quickly give them what they want!
27. Yawning To End Fights
Humans tend to yawn when they’re sleepy, tired, or bored. Cats also tend to yawn for the same purposes – but there is another interesting way they use yawning in their social behaviors. Cat behavior specialists have noticed that when two cats are fighting with each other, and one of them yawns, it’s usually an indication that they want to end the fight!
These studies show that yawning is sometimes used to finish a confrontation by cats, as if one of them is yawning at the other to say “oh, I’m bored, talk to the hand!”, and walk away from a heated argument. That’s called attitude!
28. Kneading Means Joy
Have you noticed your cat ever ‘kneading’ her paws? Kneading is a pretty common activity that cats do by pulling and pushing their front paws, alternating between left and right paws. It’s called kneading because that’s how it looks – like they’re kneading little balls of dough!
Cats usually knead their paws this way when they are completely relaxed, comfortable, and at ease in their surroundings. In fact, if a cat crawls on you and starts to knead your tummy or thigh, it usually is a way for them to show affection and love!
29. Invented Meow For Humans
We hear cats meowing at us, and around us all the time, but does that mean they meow at each other too, when we are not around? The answer is no! While kittens do meow at their mothers when they’re hungry, adult cats have been observed to not use meowing to communicate with each other.
So, it appears that cats developed this interesting vocalization purely to communicate with humans! So this fact alone could settle the debate as to whether cats are expressive or not since they’re clever enough to invent a vocalization purely to let their humans know what they want!
30. What Hitting With Retracted Claws Means