The saying goes that curiosity killed the cat, yet cats have nine lives, don’t they? This little puzzle is just one of many examples of how cats make quite the intriguing pet. Felines get a reputation for being fickle and proud but can also be the most affectionate and sociable companions.
Whether you’re already a proud parent of a cute kitty or thinking about adding a cat to the family, there are plenty of reasons to love these amazing animals.
Here are 15 interesting facts about cats to pique your curiosity and make you love them even more.
1. Catnip Isn’t Every Cat’s Favorite Thing
Cat parents already know that catnip makes a cat feel pretty good, but what if your cat seems unaffected? According to Scientific American, how a cat reacts to catnip is hereditary. Only about 70 to 80% of felines respond to catnip, and the herb also doesn’t affect kittens under 6 months. So if your kitty seems uninterested in the popular feline herb it's totally normal.
2. If Cats and Dogs Were on Survivor, Cats Would Win
In the pet world, there are undeniably cat people and dog people. But what if your cat and your friend's dog went head-to-head on an episode of survivor? Various research into cat and dog fossils suggests cats were better fighters and hunters than canines. Of course, today, the stereotype is that dogs chase cats; but depending on the pets, quite a few feisty felines have chased Fido into hiding.
3. Cats Have Whiskers on the Back of Their Front Legs
You know that cats have whiskers on their face. But did you know that they also have whiskers on their legs? Cats use the whiskers on the sides of their nose to determine if they can squeeze through various tight places. These whiskers are the same width as your cat’s body. How convenient, right?
But your kitty also has whiskers on the back of their front legs, near their feet. Whiskers also help your cat read their environment, judge distance and space, and determine nearby threats. The whiskers on the back of their legs help cats climb trees.
4. Cats Can Have a Dominant Paw
As with most humans, your cat might be right or left-pawed. Although many cats are ambidextrous when it comes to their paws, over 65% of cats showed a paw preference. Some cats might use one paw more than the other for things like reaching for food or pawing at toys or small animals, etc.
The next time your cat’s moving about, observe them closely and see if they appear to favor one side of their body over the other. If so, this could indicate they have a dominant paw.
5. Cats Can Clean a Bone with Their Tongues
If your cat’s ever given you a friendly lick, you know that it’s like a tiny piece of sandpaper rubbing against your skin. A cat’s tongue is covered in something called filiform papillae, which are tiny little spines.
These little spines are what give your kitty’s tongue its rough texture, but they do a lot more than that. They also feature a hook-like feature that can grab onto whatever your cat licks. Cats, from house cats to lions, use these spikes to help with meals. In the wild, cats use their spiky tongues to lick every last bit of meat off of the bones of prey.
6. Cats Have Fewer Taste Buds Than Humans and Dogs
According to Cats International, cats have 473 taste buds, compared to about 9,000 in humans and 1,700 in dogs. It makes you wonder why cats seem to be such finicky eaters sometimes. Cats will pick up on savory, salty, and sour, but they don’t taste sweet very well. Keep this little tidbit in mind the next time you’re prepping your cat’s Neat-Lik Treat Mat with something tasty.
7. A Green Cat Was Born in Denmark
In 1995, a green cat was born in Denmark, aptly named Miss Greeny. Many attributed the color to the amount of copper in the water supply. However, studies showed that the cat’s copper levels were actually lower than normal. Another vet suggested that Miss Greeny had a feline equivalent to Blue Doberman Syndrome, which causes a dog's fur to turn bluish-gray.
8. A Group of Kittens Is a Kindle
Groups of cats have quite a few names. Three or more cats are called a clowder, a group of feral cats that live together is a colony, and a group of cats that don’t know each other is a glaring.
When it comes to kittens, you’ve heard the popular term "litter" used to describe a group of baby animals. But a less commonly used name for a group of kittens is a kindle. Maybe these cats like e-readers?
9. Feral Cats are Cast Members at Disneyland
You’ll find one of the most fun and interesting facts about cats in Disneyland. Walt Disney decided to keep pest control natural in the parks, and you’ll even see signs about it on the property. That’s right — cats work at Disneyland, helping keep the rat population under control.
There are approximately 200 feral cats that roam the grounds, mostly coming out at night and staying out of sight. However, guests to the parks will catch a glimpse of one of these furry cast members every now and then.
10. Kittens from the Same Litter Can Have Different Fathers
Not all the kittens in one litter necessarily have the same father. Cats release multiple eggs after they mate, called induced ovulation. These eggs survive up to 24 hours. Therefore, if the cat mates with different males during this time, she can potentially give birth to kittens from different fathers in one litter.
11. A Cat was Mayor of an Alaskan Town for 20 Years
Stubbs, an orange tabby, served as mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska, until his death in 2016. Mayor Stubbs was 20 when he passed and carried out his term as mayor his entire life, typically holding office at the counter of the local general store.
12. The Fastest Cat Can Run 48 km/hr
The Egyptian Mau is the fastest domestic cat breed, reaching up to 48 km/hr (roughly 29.82 miles per hour). If pitted against Usain Bolt (the fastest man), the Egyptian Mau could beat him in the 100-meter dash. Bolt ran the race in 9.58 seconds, reaching a top speed of 27 miles per hour.
13. Alexis the Cat Can Perform 26 Tricks in One Minute
According to Guinness World Records, the smartest cat in the world is Alexis, who performed 26 tricks in one minute. Alexis is 8 years old, and her owner began training her when she was 12 weeks.
14. The First Year of a Cat’s Life Is Like 15 Years to a Human
Cats reach the equivalent of 15 human years during their first year of life. By the time a cat is two, it’s like being 25 years old in human years. Then, development starts to slow a bit, equalling roughly 7 human years each year.
15. Cats’ Ears Are Super Talented
Cats’ ears have 32 muscles that enable them to move all sorts of ways and rotate 180 degrees. Plus, each ear moves independently of the other, so cats can zero in on exactly where a noise is coming from.
All of these abilities give cats super duper hearing. No wonder they hear you pouring the kibble into their food dish when they’re upstairs and yards away. Cats also use their ears to help with balance and as a part of their cat communication.
The Cat’s Out of the Bag — Cats Rock!
Now that you know these fun facts about cats, don’t you want to show your faithful feline some extra affection? Or maybe you’re ready to adopt a new furry family member. No matter where you are on your pet parent journey, the Neater Pets blog has you covered, with all sorts of helpful tips and ideas.