35+ Interesting Facts About Cats

  1. Cat, also known as the domestic cat or house cat, is a member of felines (cats). It is the smallest and the only domesticated member of this carnivorous family.
  2. There are more than 45 domestic cat breeds. These breeds differ due to their size, coat color, tail length, and other features. The largest is the Maine Coon, originated in the USA, with an average length of 3.5 feet. The Singapura, native to Singapore, is the smallest breed.
  3. The cat uses the “meow” sound to communicate with their mother or humans. It also communicates through its tail and other body parts.
  4. Many people think that cats purr to show their happiness. However, experts believe that purring also has healing properties. Sometimes, cats use this vocalization to reduce stress and strengthen bones. (Source)
  5. Female cats (queens) can become pregnant after four months of birth. They can mate with multiple males (tomcats) during their reproductive period. There are usually four to six kittens in a litter.
  6. Domestic cats kill up to 10 times more wildlife per hectare than native predators worldwide. These felines kill billions of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians annually. (Source)
  7. Feral cats are the worst invasive predators. They have caused the extinction of 63 species (40 birds, 21 mammals, and two reptiles) worldwide. (Source)
  8. Cats can land on their feet when falling from a height. It happens due to their flexible backbones, a balance system in the inner ear, and thick fur. Cats learn this technique seven months after birth. Shorter falls are riskier than higher falls because it gives them less time to adjust. (Source)
  9. Unlike most other mammals, cats walk and run by moving their front and back legs on the same sides. This locomotive gait is only present in camels and giraffes.
    A cat walking
    Locomotion in cats is different from most mammals

  10. According to recent archaeological and genetic discoveries, the domestication of cats started around 10,000 years ago in the region known as Fertile Crescent. Unlike other domesticated animals, cats chose to live with humans due to the abundance of house mice and trash in human settlements. The findings also show that domestic cats originated from a subspecies of the African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica). (Source)
  11. Cats are the most popular pets in the world. The number of cats is three times more than dogs in human households. (Source)
  12. Cats are nearsighted and have low visual acuity (clearness of vision) and poor color vision than humans. However, they have a wider visual field (200 degrees compared to 180 degrees in humans) and six times better night vision than humans due to tapetum (a structure in eyes that acts like a mirror) and a high number of rods. (Source)
  13. Domestic cats have one of the broadest hearing ranges among mammals. They can hear high-frequency and low-frequency sounds using their hearing range from 48 Hz to 85 kHz. (Source)
  14. Unlike dogs, cats cannot grind their food due to the absence of grinding surfaces in molars and other teeth. Their dental formula is similar to that of a mountain lion.
  15. The sense of smell in cats is 14 times stronger than in humans. They have fewer scent receptors than dogs but have a better ability to distinguish between different smells.
  16. Hybridizing domestic cats is possible as they can mate with wildcats like leopard cats, jungle cats, and serval cats. Bengal cats, Chausies, and savannah cats are well-known breeds of hybrid cats.  
  17. Archaeological studies show that people in China tried to domesticate leopard cats 5,000 years ago. It was a separate effort from other parts of the world. However, this process failed, and all current domestic cats in China belong to the African wildcat.
  18. Cats can turn their forelegs in any direction due to the shape of their shoulder joints. The presence of muscles instead of ligaments to join vertebrae in the spinal column gives exceptional elasticity to their backs.
  19. Feral cats have large home ranges and are more active than owned cats. These unowned cats live in colonies and provide better control of the rat population. Compared to cats living in homes, these feral cats frequently lose their lives to predators and other cats. They are more active at night, while owned cats follow the timing of their owners. (Source)
  20. In contrast to other mammals, cats cannot taste sweetness and have no attraction or disliking towards sweeteners. However, they prefer food with selected amino acids and avoid bitter and sour objects. (Source)
  21. Cats have whiskers on their faces and feet. Cats use them to judge distance, pick up vibrations, and climb trees. (Source)
  22. The average lifespan for cats is 15 years, higher than dogs with 12 years. The oldest cat ever (crème puff) lived for 38 years. (Source)
  23. Cats play with prey to tire it out and check whether it is healthy and safe for eating. Sometimes, cats leave their hunt due to their instinct of stocking food in case of starvation. (Source)
  24. Cats rub their heads, tails, and other body parts with their owners and other objects in their environment. These parts contain scent glands and assist them in establishing a relationship through their secretions.
  25. Cats are present in all continents except Antarctica. Their journey to various parts of the world started in Turkey 10,000 years ago. Humans played a vital role in their spread due to their effective control of rodents. (Source)
  26. There is a story that Isaac Newton invented the cat flap (or door). However, it is not true because there is evidence of the presence of a cat hole in the 14th Century. (Source)
  27. Ancient Egyptians loved cats due to their hunting of mice and snakes. There was a death penalty for killing a cat, while the owners mourned the death of their cat by shaving their eyebrows. (Source)
    A newborn kitten on a human hand
    Catnip doesn't affect kittens

  28. Most adult cats like the smell of catnip, a plant in the mint family. These cats become excited because it stimulates different brain areas. However, kittens and nearly 30% of adult cats do not show any response to this smell.
  29. Cats bury their excrement to conceal their presence from predators. This natural behavior is also present in animals like armadillos, minks, and woodchucks. (Source)
  30. Like humans, cats also have a dominant paw. It is usually the right paw in females and the left in males.
  31. Cats are carnivorous but occasionally eat grass. This habit increases muscle activity in the digestive tract and assists in expelling intestinal parasites. However, domesticated cats still follow this inherited trait even after the absence of parasites in their gut. (Source)
  32. A cat with calico (tri-color) fur is almost always female. Only male cats with an extra X chromosome (XXY) develop this coat color. This condition is like Klinefelter Syndrome in humans. (Source)
  33. The drinking technique of cats is different from other carnivores. They move their tongue rapidly at one meter per second during this process.
  34. Certain foods, including some animal foods, can prove harmful to cats. These include onions, garlic, grapes, milk, caffeine, and yeast.
  35. Cats dislike the smells of several household items and plants. These include citrus, banana, coffee grounds, chili powder, pine, vinegar, lavender, etc.
  36. A mysterious cat was born in Denmark in 1995. This kitten was completely green except for a gray spot on its back. Experts blamed a metabolism defect behind this unusual hue. (Source)

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