New year, new mew! We’re striding into 2019 with our tails held high because we’ve learned a bunch of cool cat facts. And now we’re sharing them with you!
1. Cats meow for their humans, not other cats.
Domesticated cats have evolved alongside humans long enough to know that certain sounds and tones will get us to do as they please. Cats will communicate with different meows to get us to feed them, comfort them, and even adopt them. LEARN MORE
2. A group of cats is called a clowder or a glaring.
You can also refer to a group of cats as a clutter. A group of wild or feral cats is called dowt (or dout) and destruction. Best of all, a group of kittens is a kindle. LEARN MORE
3. 30%-50% of cats lack the gene that makes them react to catnip.
If your cat does possess the gene, it will only come to fruition between 3-6 months of age; a kitten any younger will show no signs, one way or the other. LEARN MORE
4. Research suggests that a cat’s purr has the power to self-heal.
One of the most precious cat facts we’ve learned: The purr isn’t just for when your cat is happy—purring helps cats to cope with illness and stress, and the vibrations may help an injured cat’s bones heal. LEARN MORE
5. People with cat allergies aren’t allergic to fur, but rather a protein found in a cat’s saliva, urine, and dander.
The protein is called Fel d 1. Non-neutered male cats typically produce more of it than females and neutered males. The Balinese and Siberian breeds are also thought to produce less Fel d 1. LEARN MORE
6. There’s a reason dogs look up to you and cats treat you as an equal.
Cats have been domesticated for a much shorter time than dogs (a difference of 5,000+ years). Simply put, cats have not evolved long enough as domesticated pets to realize that you are their owner. LEARN MORE
7. Your cat brings you prey as an act of kindness.
When a mother cat kills dinner for her family, she offers it to them wholeheartedly, and does not eat it herself. Likewise, your cat considers you part of her family and would rather offer you her killing than consume it on her own. LEARN MORE
8. Your cat’s love of boxes satisfies an animal instinct.
Cats seek out boxes and enclosed spaces that offer cover for their predatory hunting instincts, as well as to hide to avoid becoming prey—an instinct passed down by their wild ancestors. LEARN MORE
9. Cats don’t see in black and white—but they are somewhat colorblind.
Cats see colors on a limited spectrum; research suggests that they are red-green colorblind, and mostly see the world in blues, greys, and yellows. However, they can see in a mere one-sixth of the light that the average human requires to see clearly. LEARN MORE
10. Cats need to scratch on things.
Scratching is part of a cat’s nature—not only to sharpen their claws, but to stretch specific muscles in their back and shoulder area that they cannot otherwise reach through normal stretching. LEARN MORE
11. A 1-year-old kitten is developmentally equivalent to a 15-year-old human.
The age-old formula to that you should multiply your cat’s age by seven to convert it into human years is incorrect. Cats do the majority of their “aging” in the first two years of their lives. LEARN MORE
12. (Most) cats are lactose intolerant.
Get your cat facts straight: Cats are only equipped to digest dairy when they are very young. Even then, they are only meant to drink the milk produced by their own species. LEARN MORE
13. Cats instinctively know to use the litter box.
To avoid being eaten or attacked by predators, ancestral cats had to cover up their tracks and hide their waste to mask their scent. They gravitated toward soft dirt or sand, since their granular consistency made it easier to bury their waste. LEARN MORE
14. Cats’ whiskers help with directional orientation and spatial awareness.
Your cat’s whiskers contain an abundance of nerve endings and are more deeply rooted than the rest of his hair. This makes them ideal for helping your cat perceive what’s ahead as he charges nose-first into unchartered territory. LEARN MORE
15. The “tabby” cat isn’t a breed—it’s a pattern.
One of the tabby’s most distinctive features—the “M” shape on the forehead—has been the subject of folklore for thousands of years, from the ancient Egyptians to the birth of Jesus, and more. LEARN MORE
16. Black cats as Halloween symbols is rooted in ancient tradition.
On Samhain (the Gaelic festival that was the precursor to modern Halloween), it was believed that a large black cat with a white spot on its chest would bless any house that left a saucer of milk out for it to drink, and curse those houses that didn’t. LEARN MORE
17. Your cat has a third eyelid.
Your cat’s third eyelid functions as a shield for his cornea. Scientists also think that humans once had a third eyelid: Through the course of evolution, it was reduced to the tiny pink fold of tissue in the corner of your eye. LEARN MORE
18. Cats are imitating snakes when they hiss.
Snakes are seen as some of the most fearsome predators in the animal kingdom. Just like snakes, cats hiss to sound intimidating and to try to scare away whatever is threatening them. LEARN MORE
19. Your house cat likely isn’t nocturnal.
Instead, she is crepuscular, or most active around dusk and dawn. House cats have learned to find a compromise between their humans’ daytime activity and nighttime solitude. This is also why your cat is more likely to beg for food around dawn and dusk. LEARN MORE
20. How long your cat lives largely depends on his environment.
One of the more sobering cat facts: Indoor-only cats have a typical lifespan of 12 to 20 years; on the other hand, outdoor-only cats typically live for 3 to 10 years. LEARN MORE
21. Male cats are more likely to be left paw-dominant and females are more likely to be right paw-dominant.
The 2018 study also showed that left-pawed and ambilateral (or using both paws equally) animals tend to show stronger fear responses. It’s one of those cat facts you may or may not have use for. LEARN MORE
22. Cats almost always land on their feet due to their impressive “righting” reflex.
Cats also survive falls of a great distance because they reach terminal velocity—the speed at which the downward force of gravity is matched by the upward push of wind resistance, resulting in a constant speed—much sooner than large animals and people. LEARN MORE
23. Their pee smells so bad because cats originated in the desert.
Cats have very concentrated urine. Cats originated from the desert and evolved to absorb a large amount of water from their urine to maintain their hydration. LEARN MORE
24. Cats are more likely to “knead” if they were separated from their mothers as young kittens.
Nursing kittens stimulate their mother’s milk production by kneading on her. So if a kitten is bottle-fed by humans from the time of his birth, he may not be as likely to “make muffins” later on. LEARN MORE
25. Cats can hear better than both humans and dogs.
Cats hear higher frequencies than humans do (we can hear up to 20 kilohertz, dogs hear up to 40 kilohertz, and cats hear up to 60 kilohertz). This doesn’t explain why pets are often afraid of loud noises, though—that is likely psychological in nature. LEARN MORE
26. Cats knock objects over and off edges to test for hidden prey.
Your cat’s instincts tell her that a paperweight or knick-knack could turn out to be a mouse. Her poking paw would send it scurrying, giving her a good game (and possibly a good lunch). LEARN MORE
27. Cats like to eat grass because their wild ancestors did.
In digesting the leafy contents of their prey’s stomach for generations, it’s likely that wild felines passed on a tendency to want to consume plants to their offspring. LEARN MORE
28. White cats with blue eyes are most susceptible to deafness.
To add to this, one of the more perplexing cat facts is that when a white cat has one blue eye and one eye of another color, the deafness occurs only in the ear on the side of the blue eye. LEARN MORE
29. An entire ancient Egyptian city was founded to worship the feline deity Bastet.
Cats certainly got the royal treatment in ancient Egypt. About 80,000 feline burials were discovered in 1888 in a tomb in Middle Egypt. Cats were even buried with provisions like milk and mice in the form of a royal offering. LEARN MORE
30. Ernest Hemingway cherished polydactyl cats.
Polydactyl cats have extra toes on one or more of their paws. Hemingway received one in the 1930s, and collected them at his home in the Key West until his death. Today, close to 50 polydactyl cats roam the Hemingway Home estate. LEARN MORE