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Fun Facts about Cats - 10 Fascinating Cat Facts

 
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. November 22, 2022
Fun Facts about Cats - 10 Fascinating Cat Facts

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It is no secret to anyone that cats are unique and extraordinary animals. We who live with them are always amazed at all the things they can do. Cats have always aroused our curiosity and have even given rise to some myths and legends around the world.

The following AnimalWised article lists some of the most amazing cat facts you probably did not know. This way, you can get to know your cat a little better.

You may also be interested in: 10 Fun Facts About Dolphins

1. Cats can not drink milk

Almost everyone is familiar with the image of a cat drinking milk. We have seen it countless times in television shows and movies. But the truth is that most adult cats cannot drink milk because they are lactose intolerant.

All kittens are perfectly prepared from birth to digest their mother's milk, which is, in fact, their only food for the first few weeks of their lives. During lactation, kittens produce a large amount of an enzyme called lactase, which allows them to properly digest the lactose in their mother's milk. The production of this enzyme gradually decreases after weaning, as the adult animal no longer needs it.

Now what about motherless kittens? If you find an orphaned kitten, you should not give it cow's milk either, because it has a different composition than cat's milk. It is best to go to the veterinarian and buy specialized cat food.

Learn more by reading this other article about if cats can drink milk.

Fun Facts about Cats - 10 Fascinating Cat Facts - 1. Cats can not drink milk

2. Cats cannot perceive sweet taste

Although cats can see and hear much better than we can, their sense of taste is less developed. While humans have more than 9,000 taste buds, cats have fewer than 500, which means they are not as good at perceiving the different flavors of food. In addition, cats produce only one of the two proteins needed to process information from sweet tastes. For this reason, cats can easily detect salty, sour and bitter tastes, but not sweet tastes.

Many experts believe this is an important self-defense skill that cats have developed over the course of their evolution. Since sugary foods are harmful to their bodies and can cause diarrhea, colic or flatulence, their palates may have evolved to reject sweet tastes and therefore foods without nutritional value.

3. Cats have learned to communicate with humans

Cats communicate with humans differently than with other cats. This is because they make fewer sounds among themselves, while they have learned to communicate with us in different ways.

Cats use both visual and vocal cues to communicate with humans, but they have to use their voice to get our attention. With other cats, they rely more on visual and olfactory cues. When a cat says "meow," it is usually directed at a human, not another cat.

Continue reading this other article to learn more about the way cats communicate.

4. Cats are masters of body language

Although their verbal language is incredible, cats mainly use their body language to express their moods, feelings, and perceptions. Undoubtedly, feline body language is very complex, encompassing a wide variety of postures, gestures, and facial expressions. Everything from their ears, eyes, and whiskers to their toes and the tips of their tails give us clues about what is going on in their minds.

Behavior is always contextual. So if you want to understand your cat better, pay attention to their entire body and environment. When we understand our cats better, we can be more responsive to their needs and build an even closer and happier relationship with them.

5. Cats have more bones than people

Although they are smaller, cats have a greater number of bones than we do. A healthy cat has about 230 bones, which is 24 more than the human skeleton. Also, the disks between their vertebrae are thicker than ours.

The anatomy of the domestic cat is similar to that of other members of the genus Felis. This bone structure and its developed musculature allow them great elasticity and mobility. The vertebrae of the cat are very flexibly connected to each other and have particularly elastic, cushioning disks between them. This articulated spine allows cats to perform their elegant and graceful acrobatic feats, but also contributes to their speed as runners.

6. Cats can squeeze into really small spaces

Regarding the previous point, the skeleton, and musculature of cats not only allow them to be nimble when climbing or hunting, but also to squeeze into small spaces. Cats are able to do this because they do not have a rigid collarbone that prevents them from entering tight and narrow spaces. Once they can stick their heads and shoulders through, their slender bodies follow easily.

And why do cats like small spaces? The answer is simple: they are looking for safety, protection and/or warmth. The reasons may vary, but the fact is that they feel more protected in a small space.

Fun Facts about Cats - 10 Fascinating Cat Facts - 6. Cats can squeeze into really small spaces

7. Newton may have developed the first cat door

Surely you have a cat door in your house or, if not, you have at least seen it and know of its existence. Isaac Newton, a mathematician and physicist who changed the face of physics, may have been the inventor of this remarkable invention. Cyril Aydon, scientist and writer, tells us in his book Curious Stories of Science that Newton would have found a way to allow his cat to go outside whenever it wanted, without interrupting its moments of concentration and experimentation.

Fun Facts about Cats - 10 Fascinating Cat Facts - 7. Newton may have developed the first cat door

8. Cats also hold world records

Not only people are in the Guinness Book of Records, but also many animals, and of course cats. Here are some examples:

  • Cream Puff: he was born in Texas and holds the record for the longest-lived cat in the world, living a total of 38 years.

  • Waffle: this cat holds the Guinness record for the longest jump of a cat in the world (213.36 cm), a recognition it received in 2018.

  • Towser: she holds the record for catching the most mice, almost 29,000.

  • Colonel Meow: he won the Guinness World Record for the cat with the longest hair (9 inches) in 2014.

9. The cat's nose is their fingerprint

A fingerprint is an impression left by the friction grooves of a human finger. The recovery of partial fingerprints from a crime scene is an important method of forensic science. Cats do not have fingerprints on their paws, but the prints from a cat's nose are as unique as human fingerprints.

Take a close look at your cat's nose. You will discover small bumps and ridges. The prints are exclusive to each animal and can be used for identification purposes. Perhaps one day, microchips will be replaced by nose scanners, which would be less expensive than microchipping and also less painful.

Fun Facts about Cats - 10 Fascinating Cat Facts - 9. The cat's nose is their fingerprint

10. The whiskers of cats are actually mechanoreceptors

The whiskers of cats are not just hairs. They are called vibrissae and are part of their sensory abilities, just like the hairs on the "eyebrows" and under the chin.

These hairs have an important mechanoreceptive function. In combination with olfactory cells, they enable cats to identify nearby objects, detect movement, survey a room, or maintain balance. Whiskers also act as motion and object sensors, much like insect antennae. Therefore, they should never be cut off.

Learn more about your cat's whiskers by reading the following article, where we discuss why are cat's whiskers so long.

11. Cats can see in color

Although for many years it was believed that cats only see in black and white, over time this has been proven to be a false myth. In fact, cats' eyes do not have red cone cells, so they do not perceive red or pink tones. However, that does not mean they can not see other colors, because they have blue and green cone cells. This means that they can distinguish blue, green and yellow tones. Of course, they do not fully perceive the saturation of these colors, so they do not see them with the same intensity as we do.

Cats have a larger field of vision compared to humans. Cats also have a larger peripheral field of vision, so they can better detect potential prey.

12. Cats have good night vision

Cats are crepuscular, meaning they are active at dawn and dusk. This may be why they need to be able to see so well at night. Their eyes have six to eight times more rod cells, which are more sensitive to low light than those of humans.

In the anatomy of the cat's eye, we find a layer called the tapetum lucidum. It ensures that the light is reflected on the retina and therefore the cat can see better in the dark. In other words, it is as if the light is reflected twice. For this reason, the eyes of cats glow when there is no light.

Continue reading this other article about why your cat's eyes glow in the dark.

13. Cats have different methods for marking

Cats mark the places where they live or visit in many ways. Cats also mark their territory when they feel threatened or stressed. Cats mark with scent glands on their feet, cheeks, face and tail, and with urine. Let us take a closer look at how cats mark:

  • Marking with urine: they usually urinate in the form of a sprinkler on vertical elements, mainly to delineate their territory.

  • Marking with the face: they also have glands on their face that emit pheromones. Through this marking, they leave a chemical (olfactory) signal that they themselves or other cats can sense. They rub their face on objects, animals, or people to leave this marking. In this way, they do not mark something as "theirs", but indicate that this place, animal, or person is safe and trustworthy.

  • Marking with their feet: their legs also contain glands that release pheromones, so this marking is done by scratching surfaces or elements. In this way, they leave a chemical and visual signal. They can do this when they feel stressed or for reproductive purposes.

14. Cats knead to express love

Many people wonder why cats knead so often. Well, when they are babies, cats knead their mother's breasts to stimulate milk production. It's a natural movement that not only provides them with nourishment, but also strengthens their bond and gives them a sense of well-being, security, and joy.

When they are adults, cats knead people or objects to express that they are calm, happy and feel safe. Cats often knead when they are petted or when they snuggle up to sleep. Your cat may also knead on your lap to show her love and contentment, then settle down for a pet or nap.

Cats also knead themselves before they lie down to create a soft place to sleep. The ancestors of wild cats kneaded tall grass into a soft pile to rest, and this behavior may still be instinctive in our domesticated friends.

Read on in this other article to learn more about the different ways your cats express their love.

15. Cats sleep up to 16 hours a day

Cats are absolute sleep experts. Whether during the day or in the middle of the night, kittens are always ready for a nap. Just like humans, cats need different amounts of sleep. This depends on factors such as age, health, mood and much more.

Cats sleep an average of 15 hours per day. However, within 24 hours they can sleep up to 20 hours. According to researchers, only about 25 percent of a cat's sleep is actually deep sleep, while they doze lightly the other 75 percent of the time. They may be resting, but they are still awake enough to wake up quickly.

Fun Facts about Cats - 10 Fascinating Cat Facts - 15. Cats sleep up to 16 hours a day

16. Cats are not nocturnal

You have probably noticed that your cat is more active at night, and that you can hear it running around when you are trying to fall asleep. From this, many have concluded that cats are nocturnal animals. However, this is not entirely true because cats are crepuscular animals. They are most active at dusk and dawn, when they reach their peak activity.

Thanks to their night vision and ability to camouflage themselves, this is the time when wild cats go hunting. It is therefore not surprising that domestic cats retain this instinct and use the sunset to play and run around the house.

You can learn more about the most common myths about cats being nocturnal by reading this other article.

17. Cats do not like standing water

Some cats are very particular about the water they drink. Even if they have fresh water available all day, as soon as a faucet is turned on, they come running to drink it.

No one knows exactly why cats are so picky when it comes to water, but there are a few theories. It could be due to an instinctive aversion to standing water, as cats in the wild tend to only drink from water that is moving to avoid illness. It's also possible that your cat has noticed that the water is cooler when it comes out of the tap or is rainwater. Or it could simply be that she enjoys drinking this way.

Learn more about this topic by reading the following article about why your cat drinks water with its paw.

18. Cats lie belly up for several reasons

You may have tried more than once to pet your cat's belly while they lay down and showed you their belly. In this case, one of two things probably happened: Either they let you pet them, or they let you know that they did not like the idea at all.

If your cat is happy with you, she will most likely show you her belly as a sign of trust. Indeed, by showing this part of its body, it knows that it is in a weak position.

If your cat shows its belly and seems nervous, it may be that it is in a defensive posture. In fact, they adopt this posture when they are attacked by other cats or predators and cannot flee. This allows them to defend themselves with their claws and fangs.

19. Cats have a primordial pouch

You may have noticed that your cat's belly is hanging a bit. At first glance, you might think your cat is fat, but that's probably just the primordial pouch.

The primordial pouch is a type of pouch that forms an excess of skin and fat in front of the cat's hind legs. It is usually more visible when the cat is walking, because then we can observe it moving in a constant pendulum motion.

How can you tell the difference between a cat with a primordial pouch and an overweight cat? The primordial pouch is a loose pelt and, as mentioned earlier, it swings when cats walk. An overweight cat, however, has a rounder, stiffer belly that does not move when running.

Continue reading this other article to learn more about the primordial pouch that cats and their functions.

Fun Facts about Cats - 10 Fascinating Cat Facts - 19. Cats have a primordial pouch

20. Cats also sweat

Yes, cats also sweat, although less frequently than humans and in a very different way. The sweat glands of cats are located on the chin, the anus, the lips, and the pads of their paws. Cats sweat under similar circumstances as humans: when they are hot, yes, but also when they are nervous, anxious, or stressed, or even when they are sick or engaged in intense physical activity. Then their body temperature rises and the sweating process begins.

You can learn more about this process in this other article, where we discuss how and why cats sweat.

If you want to read similar articles to Fun Facts about Cats - 10 Fascinating Cat Facts, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

Bibliography
  • Guinness World Records. cats . Available at: https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records/showcase/animals/cats

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