30 cat facts you didn’t know

Although they are popular pets around the world, even the most experienced owner will be amazed by these fantastic cat facts!

21st May 2015

Even the most experienced owner will be amazed by these fantastic cat facts!

  1. A ‘clowder’ is the term used for a group of adult cats, and has its roots in Middle English. Other ways of referring to them are ‘clutter’ or ‘glaring’. A group of wild cats is called a ‘dowt’ or ‘destruction’, and a group of kittens is called a ‘kindle’.
  2. Cats’ kidneys are able to filter salt out of water, which is an ability humans don’t have. This means that cats can drink sea water.
  3. Humans are unable to hear cats’ natural vocal range, which suggests they have evolved to be able to communicate with humans. This is especially important seeing as domestic cats rely on them for food and attention.
  4. Stubbs the cat was the honorary mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska, from July 1997 until his death in July 2017.
  5. Cats can survive on uncooked meat alone without water. It is thought this is due to their desert-dwelling roots, since they can cope with high temperatures and only sweat through their paws in order to conserve water.
  6. The smallest adult cat on earth measured 1lb 8oz, and was just 2.75 inches tall and 7.5 inches long. That’s a similar length to an adult toothbrush. His name was Tinker Toy.
  7. Killing a cat in Egypt 4,000 years ago meant the offender suffered the death penalty.
  8. Contrary to popular belief, cats shouldn’t be given milk to drink because they are usually lactose intolerant. After a kitten has been weaned, the lactase (the enzyme that enables lactose digestion) in the stomach begins to disappear. Therefore, ingesting milk can cause stomach upset in adult cats. In actual fact, cats are attracted to cream because of its high fat content, but milk nowadays tends not to have as much in it.
  9. The reason why kittens sleep a lot is because their growth hormones are only released during this time.
  10. As well as using their memory, it is thought that cats are able to find their way home through a combination of the Earth’s magnetic field, the angle of the sun and their own biological clock. Some experts also think they may possibly have magnetised cells in their brain that act like a compass.
  11. Unlike dogs and humans, cats are unable to taste anything sweet. Scientists discovered in 2005 that cats don’t have one of the protein required to taste sweet items. They don’t need to crave anything sweet because they only eat meat, as opposed to other animals.
  12. Cats can make over 100 vocal sounds, whereas dogs can usually only make around 10.
  13. They are the only animal other than the giraffe, Icelandic pony and camel to step with both left legs and then both right legs.
  14. Cats use their whiskers to measure if they are able to fit through a space.
  15. Males are usually left pawed, whereas females tend to be right pawed.
  16. Like humans, cats have short term and long term memory, with the ability to remember what happened 16 hours ago.
  17. In warm weather cats lick their fur to cool themselves down, whereas in colder weather they do it to smooth their fur down to provide more insulation. People used to observe cats licking their fur as a method of predicting the weather.
  18. ‘Mau’ is the Egyptian word for ‘cat’. As such, the Egyptian Mau is believed to be the oldest breed of cat.
  19. Sir Isaac Newton is credited with the creation of the cat flap, because his experiments kept being interrupted by his own cat coming through the door.
  20. A cat’s brain is 90% similar to a human’s, with the overall structure and the sections that control emotion being almost identical. This makes their brains more similar to ours than to a dog’s.
  21. Cats can’t see directly in front of their nose.
  22. The Jacobson’s organ is an extra organ cats have in the roof of their mouth that they use to smell, and is positioned behind the front teeth. It is argued that there are three possible uses for it; smelling food, detecting sexual scents and as a way of sensing uncommon occurrences such as earthquakes.
  23. Cats are able to jump up to six times their own length.
  24. $20 million was spent by the CIA in the 1960s training cats to spy. A small transmitter and microphone was inserted into one cat for its first mission, after five years of training. However, it was run over by a taxi after taking a few steps towards a known Soviet meeting place in Washington.
  25. Purring isn’t exclusive to cats, as other animals such as gorillas, elephants and even squirrels can do it too.
  26. Many breeds’ coats trap water, which makes keeping warm in cooler temperatures difficult.
  27. A cat’s hairball is technically known as a ‘trichobezoar’. ‘Tricho’ means hair and a ‘bezoar’ is a lump formed from material unable to digest in the digestible tract. Bezoars were once thought to possess certain magical properties by acting as an antidote to some poisons.
  28. In ancient Egypt, members of the family would shave their eyebrows off if their cat died. They would also embalm the cat with a wooden mask and mummify them.
  29. Cats have furry tufts on the inside of their ears that insulate them, whilst helping to keep out debris. They are referred to as ‘ear furnishings’.
  30. The largest wildcat today is the Siberian Tiger, which can weigh up to 423kg.

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