It’s no surprise that cats are some of the world’s favourite pets. Alongside dogs, it’s very common to see a feline or two in homes across the UK, as well as in some of the furthest reaches of the globe. But how much do we really know about our feisty felines?
Cats have been around for longer than we imagine, having been revered in Ancient Egypt, and with bigger cousins still stalking prey in the wild. But what are some interesting facts about cats that you may not necessarily know? We’ve rounded up 60 facts about cats to help get things started…
The world is thought to be home to more than 500,000,000 domesticated cats and counting.
In Cyprus, there is an island of cats – as legend tells it, cats were brought onto the island in centuries past to rid the vicinity of deadly snakes!
Cats are able to see clearly in complete darkness, which helps them retain their titles as fantastic nocturnal hunters.
Cats are famously lazy, with around 70% of their lives likely to be spent asleep. That means they only really spend around 11 hours, maximum, awake and alert!
As a result, many cats are at risk of getting fat! The heaviest cat on record weighed in at around 47 lbs, just over three stone in weight.
That’s why it’s always crucial to make sure your cats have plenty to do, and that you refrain from overfeeding them wherever possible.
In fact, male felines who go through spaying generally need fewer calories.
The generic housecat is said to share almost 96% of its DNA with wild tigers. Now you know why they can also get so ferocious!
Cats are known to live for very long periods. It’s likely you will find cats that live for longer than 20 years. However, Crème Puff is a Texan cat who holds the record for being the oldest moggy, having lived to be more than 38 years old.
Cats sweat, but only through their paws, as the rest of their bodies are covered in fur.
There are plenty of features which set cats apart, but their noses are unique. It’s thought that no two feline noses are the same, which is incredible given the number of cats there are on the planet right now!
There are also, of course, plenty of differences between cats and dogs. Dogs are more limited in terms of the sounds and noises they can make. Dogs are supposedly only able to make up to ten sounds, while a cat’s noise collection extend to more than 100!
Cats are known to give birth to huge litters, though some may give birth to one at a time. You will generally find that cats can have litters of up to nine kittens in one go.
However, one cat in times gone by produced a staggering 19 kittens in one litter!
Cats are able to sense plenty of things, but they have no way of being able to detect sweetness in food or drink. It’s another good reason never to give your cat sugar, not even a small amount – there is literally no point or benefit in doing so!
However, they do have the ability to taste and track scents from the air around them.
There’s a chance a cat’s brain has more in common with our own than with a dog’s. Therefore, they really are at odds as far as pets are concerned!
Cat whiskers are perhaps more useful that you may imagine. For one thing, without them, cats would not be able to navigate through tight spaces.
Despite cats having incredible night vision, most are actually near-sighted. However, there are no corrective lenses which exist for felines just yet!
While it’s common for people to believe that giving milk to a cat is common practice, many moggies are lactose intolerant. Therefore, it is always a good idea to consult with your vet on such matters.
As mentioned, cats will spend an inordinate amount of time asleep. However, this does not necessarily take place during the night. To be able to give your cat a good night’s sleep, it is always worth keeping them active and engaged as possible during daylight hours.
Many people choose to leave their possessions and wealth to their pets when they pass away. One of the biggest feline inheritors in recent history was Blackie, a cat who received a princely sum of around £7,000,000 from his late owner!
Most cats tend to lead with their left paws, which is in contrast to humans, who are right-handed in the majority.
Black cats are seen as symbols of both good and bad luck. But to what extent? It the USA, they are generally seen as bad luck or as symbols of foreboding. However, in the UK, they are often considered lucky.
The old saying that a cat always lands on its feet is true. Cats have innate righting reflexes, which allow them to re-balance themselves while falling from drops and heights.
Cats lick themselves for a variety of reasons. While most will lick themselves to get clean, they also do so to remove scents. This, often, can include removing scents left by their owners!
While there are plenty of cat owners all over the world, only around 11% of us may refer to ourselves as ‘cat people’.What’s more, cat people tend to be more likely to graduate from university.
It’s thought that spaying cats can help them live for longer. Studies show that cats who are spayed and neutered can live for 62% longer than those which aren’t.
Cats have held all kinds of positions of power. Of course, the Egyptian Sphinx was modelled after a feline. However, did you know that a town in Alaska had a feline mayor for around 20 years?
What’s more, a cat once held the post of the British Monster Raving Looney Party.
Cats can only move their jaws in specific directions. While human beings can move their jaws in various ways, cats can only move theirs up and down. This means that they often can’t eat food in large chunks or pieces, which is why you will find wet cat food to be finely diced and chunked.
The cat flap is perhaps one of the most useful contraptions a pet owner can buy. But did you know that it was invented by Sir Isaac Newton?
Many cat owners seem to believe that their pets have telepathic powers. A survey suggested that around a third of cat owners felt that their felines were able to understand what they were thinking!
A cat marks its territory by rubbing up against things. Therefore, when a cat rubs itself on your legs, it might not necessarily be a show of affection! It might be showing that it declares you to be their property!
It’s thought that a housecat has the ability to run faster than most humans, with even Usain Bolt finding it hard to keep up to your average moggy.
Trying to find the word for a group of cats? Officially, it’s a clowder.
Cats have ears which can swivel around up to 180 degrees, thanks to a series of intricate muscles that allow them to hear in virtually all directions.
There are many foods which are toxic to cats. You can’t feed them onions, chocolate, raisins, grapes and – of course – alcohol. However, cats are also likely to find potatoes toxic when raw, and even tuna served in cans is though to be harmful to their diets.
You’ll likely find that kittens and younger cats sleep more than older felines. This is because kittens will benefit from a growth hormone that is only released during their sleep.
If you were to class the average space a cat has in their brain in terms of data memory, you’d find that an average feline’s cranial capacity is around 1,000x that of your average Apple iPad.
You may think that cats that hiss are likely to be aggressive. However, this is actually unlikely to be the case. A hissing cat is likely to be on the defensive.
If you own dogs, you’ll know that a wagging tail will generally mean that your pet is happy and healthy. However, a cat with a wagging tail is likely to be warning you that it’s about to attack, or that it is upset.
Many cats have made their way into the White House and have lived with US presidents. For example, one of the most famous Presidential felines was Socks, who lived with Bill Clinton. However, Abraham Lincoln was known to love cats, owning at least four in the White House during his tenure.
Only one cat has even gone into space – Felicette – who went into orbit in 1963, six years before humans would land on the Moon.
Purring is thought to have healing properties, as well as to be comforting to cats. That’s because they purr at frequencies through which bones and muscles often heal themselves best.
Cats only tend to meow to their mothers during childhood, and to their owners when they want something. You will very rarely, if ever, see a cat meow at another otherwise. They generally communicate through howls, purrs and hissing.
Just as Cyprus took care of their snake problem back in ancient times, Europeans introduced cats over to North and South America in a bid to control the rising pest population.
Neither men nor women are more likely to own cats; studies suggest that there appears to be an even split.
Dogs may be good at learning tricks and remembering people they love, but cats are thought, generally, to have better long-term memories. What’s more, they share even more traits with humans to the extent that we have very similar emotional control centres.