Cats are one of the most quintessential creatures of mystery. If you live with one of these furry divas, you probably adore them for their funny antics, comforting purrs and the way they cuddle up next to you — when they're in the mood, that is.
Independent, enigmatic and playful, they make excellent companions. Or better yet, they make wonderful owners for their humans. Yes, the expression "very cool cat" was coined with good reason.
And while we may never be able to unravel everything that makes these fabulous felines tick, we tracked down some fascinating facts that prove your little furball is even "cooler" than you think.
Here are 75 interesting tidbits that will make your favorite pet seem more impressive than ever.
Feline Super Powers, Weaknesses and Other Weird Qualities
1. Cats share 96.5% of their genome with tigers.
And just like their ancestors, they stalk prey, pounce, scent mark by scratching and play with their prey. This also begs the question, would they eat us if they were bigger?
2. Cats have nearly double the amount of neurons in their brain as dogs.
Thus the superior attitude.
3. Cats can taste scents.
It sounds like science fiction, but cats have an extra organ (the Vomeronasal organ) that allows them to taste scents in the air. So, if your cat is intensely staring at you with its mouth wide open, it may be tasting you.
4. A cat's facial whiskers are usually about the same width as its body.
They use their fine whiskers to collect information about their environment and determine which small spaces they can fit in. (Which is why you should never cut their whiskers!)
5. Cats not only have whiskers on their face but also on the back of their front legs.
6. Unlike dogs, cats can't taste sweetness.
So if you're a cat parent, feel free to leave that piece of cake on the counter.
7. Of all animals, cats have the largest eyes compared to their head size.
No wonder we can't resist them!
8. Cats have the ability to jump up to six times their length and five times their height.
9. Cats can rotate their ears 180 degrees (which it does with the help of 32 muscles).
10. A cat's sense of smell can be up to 14 times more powerful than humans.
11. A cat's hearing is five times more sensitive than humans.
12. Cats have three eyelids.
13. Cats mostly (though not always) land on their feet and can right themselves in midair.
They can also parachute through the air by spreading their legs which helps them with a lighter landing.
14. Cats are the only other animals that walk like camels and giraffes.
First, they move both right feet. Then they move both left feet.
15. Cats will sleep about 12 to 16 hours a day.
That's about two-thirds of their life. They also spend roughly 30 to 50 percent of their waking hours grooming themselves, which all adds up to the life of a diva.
16. Cat's groom themselves for various reasons in addition to staying clean.
Grooming also cools a cat down, promotes blood flow, diminishes their scent so they can avoid predators, distributes the natural oils in their coat and helps them to relax. No wonder they spend so much time doing it!
17. The average lifespan of cats increased by a year between 2002 and 2012.
Is this empirical proof that they're more spoiled than ever?
18. House cats can run at speeds up to 30 miles an hour.
This means they could outrun superstar Usain Bolt in a 200-meter dash.
19. Indoor cats live longer than outdoor or non-domesticated cats.
20. Many cats are lactose intolerant.
This goes against everything we learned from all those milk-sipping cartoon cats
21. Cats generally don't like citrus scents.
22. Cats have catnip receptors in their nose and mouth.
These receptors detect a chemical called nepetalactone, a chemical in catnip that makes some cats go all wacky and do things like roll on the ground, shake and rub their heads and generally act nutty.
23. More than half of cats don't respond to catnip at all.
Scientists haven't figured out why, but they do know that sensitivity to catnip is inherited. If one parent has the sensitivity, their offspring has about a 50 percent chance of going crazy for the nip. If both parents like it, their chances increase to 75 percent or more.
24. Catnip has a similar effect to LSD or marijuana in cats that it impacts.
But the effect wears off in 15 minutes and won't come back for a few hours even if the catnip is still in smelling range.
25. A cat's nose print is just as unique as a human fingerprint.
26. Unlike humans, cats can survive on seawater.
27. A female cat has the capability to become pregnant as early as four months old.
28. Cats have no concept of incest and will mate with their brothers or sisters.
29. Cats in the same litter can have a different father.
That's because a female cat releases eggs over several days when she's in heat.
30. Male cats have barbed penises.
Ouch! But even though it's uncomfortable for female cats, the barb stimulates the vulva so she can ovulate. It also keeps her hooked (so to say), so she doesn't runoff. No wonder most female cats aren't into sex!
31. White cats with blue eyes generally have a high rate of deafness.
32. Cats can see at light levels six times lower than humans can.
33. Cats have 244 bones in their body while humans only have 206.
34. Cats are extra sensitive to vibrations.
They can detect earthquakes 10 or 15 minutes before they happen.
35. Cats can only sweat from their paws.
They also release heat by panting.
36. About 40 percent of cats are either right-paw or left-paw dominant.
Females tend to be right-handed, while most lefties are male (just like humans).
37. A cat's tongue has small, backward-facing hooks.
This enables them to lick meat clean off the bone (and give you sandpaper kisses).
You Talking to Me? The Language of Cats.
38. Purring doesn't necessarily mean your cat is happy.
They also do it when they're sick, unhappy or stressed. A little kitty self-help, perhaps?
39. Purring may improve bone density.
The frequency of a cat's purr is somewhere between 25 and150 hertz, the same frequency in which bones and muscles repair themselves. That's why some scientists theorize that purring is a type of self-healing for felines.
40. Cats developed meowing in response to human beings.
Kittens meow to get their mother's attention, but grown cats never meow when interacting with other cats, which is why some experts theorize that they meow to signal their emotions and physical needs to humans. So yes, your cat is trying to tell you something!
41. Cats have over 100 different vocalizations. Dogs only have 10.
Guess we always knew that dogs are simpler creatures.
42. Cats have a long tail to help them maintain their balance while climbing.
But their tails can also tell you a lot more.
43. If your cat approaches you with their tail in the form of a question mark, they're asking if you want to play.
44. If your cat approaches you with a stiff, straight tail that's almost vibrating, it means they're super happy to see you.
45. Unlike dogs, if your cat wags its tail at you, it means you're irritating them.
46. Cats drape their tail over other cats, animals or you as a sign of friendship.
47. When cats stick their butt in your face, it's also a sign of friendship.
Kind of a weird way of saying, "I love you."
48. Cats find direct eye contact threatening.
49. If a cat slowly blinks at you, it's usually a sign of trust and happiness.
50. When they knead you with their paws, it's also a sign of contentment.
51. When a cat rubs their face and body against you, it's marking its territory.
But you already knew that they owned you.
52. When your kitty flips over and shows you their belly, it means it trusts you and feels relaxed.
53. A cat sometimes yawns to end a confrontation with another cat or animal.
Guess it's their way of saying, "I'm so over the drama." Or maybe it's more like, "You bore me. Off with you."
54. Hissing is a sign of fear, not aggression.
It's cat speak for "back off." In fact, during a catfight, the hissing cat is the more vulnerable of the two.
55. Whiskers signal a cat's mood.
When cats are scared, they move backward. But in hunting mode, they move their whiskers forward.
56. Cats say hello and greet each other by touching noses.
Kitty Culture and History
Check out these fun facts about our history as pet owners, from the creation of the cat door to the first video of cats playing.
57. The oldest pet cat was found in a 9500-year-old grave on the island of Cyprus.
That predates Egyptian pet cats by 4000 years!
58. Egyptians shaved their eyebrows as a sign of grief when their pet cats died.
They also worshiped a half-feline goddess by the name of Bastet and had harsh legal sentences for anyone who hurt or killed a feline. Talk about crazy cat people!
59. Isaac Newton is credited with the creation of the cat door.
When his work at Cambridge kept being interrupted by his cats scratching at the door, he had two holes sawed in it for the mother and her kittens. Perhaps his most tremendous discovery bedsides gravity.
60. In 1963 the first and only cat (dubbed Astrocat) went into space.
And yes, it came back to Earth safely.
61. In 1995, a green cat was born in Denmark.
Some people attributed his unusual color to the high level of copper in nearby water pipes.
62. A cat was the mayor of a small town in Alaska for 20 years.
He was a tabby named Stubbs and ran uncontested in several elections in the town of Talkeetna. We can only wonder who he chose as his cabinet.
63. The oldest cat that ever lived was born in 1967 and reached the ripe old age of 38 years and three days.
Cream Puff's owner, Jake Perry, also owned the world's second-oldest cat. Grandpa Rex Allen lived to be 34. We don't know how Mr. Perry did it, but he definitely had a way with felines!
64. According to the American Bird Conservancy, domestic outdoor cats have been partially responsible for the extinction of 63 species of birds, mammals and reptiles.
They're cute, but they still have hunting instincts.
65. A British antiques dealer left his cat Blackie roughly 13 million dollars (in today’s money) when he died in 1988.
The money was split between three cat charities (an action that Blackie didn't legally contest).
66. A group of kittens is called a "kindle," while a group of adult cats is called a "clowder."
Now you know.
67. The color of a Siamese cat depends on its body temperature.
These cats carry an albino gene that's triggered at temperatures above 98 degrees Fahrenheit. So if left in a very warm room as kittens, they'll remain a creamy white.
68. Abraham Lincoln was crazy about cats and owned four while in the White House.
His wife Mary Todd Lincoln shared that one of his favorite hobbies was playing with his cats when she was asked what the president does in his free time.
69. A painting of cats named "My Wife's Lovers" was sold in 2015 for $820,000.
The original owner was philanthropist (and crazy cat lady) Kate Birdsall Johnson. Her husband nicknamed the work of art, which ended up sticking as its title. Wonder if he was jealous?
70. Disneyland has about 200 feral cats wandering around the park.
71. The Algonquin Hotel in Manhattan is home to a spoiled lobby cat named Hamlet.
The most recent of a series of rescue cats that have ruled over the lobby since the 1920s, it was preceded by Matilda, Matilda the Second and Matilda the Third. An impressive kitty dynasty. We have no idea what the royal duties include.
72. Black cats aren't always considered bad luck.
In Japan, black cats are actually considered to be extremely lucky for single women. And in the English Midlands, they're given to new brides to bless their marriage.
73. A 2010 study from the University of Bristol concluded that people with college degrees were 1.36 more likely to own a cat rather than a dog.
Guess busy career people need a less needy pet.
74. In the U.S., there are an estimated 94.2 million pet cats and 89.7 million pet dogs.
Obviously, being more popular has given felines a major case of cattitude.
75. The first cute cat video came out in 1894.
Thomas Edison filmed two kittens boxing inside a ring. Maybe it's just us, but it's kind of comforting to know that a famous inventor also wasted his time making adorable cat videos.
Watch the video here.
The Cat's Meow
Well, there you have it. You may never fully understand your little furball, but now you probably have an even deeper appreciation of what a fantastic creature it really is. But, of course, you both already knew that.
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