Even though humans have lived with cats for more than 10,000 years and it can sometimes feel like we know our cats like the back of our hand there’s A LOT to know about cats. I’ve scoured the internet and surveyed cat-loving veterinarians to put together the most complete list of cat facts there is!
But when I look at most cat fact sites, all I see are single lines of texts with no background information or real understanding. I’m left more confused than when I started! So I wanted to create a comprehensive list of cat facts with background details and a reference (in most cases) so you can learn even more.
I know, it’s an ambitious goal but after more than 75+ hours of research and writing (along with a decade of feline experience to back it up) I think I’m close.
Let’s get right into it!
1. Stubbs the Cat Was Mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska for 20 Years
One look at Stubbs the Cat and I can see why he was elected.
Just look at the confidence and charisma!
According to Wikipedia, Stubbs attracted 30 to 40 tourists a day who were all eager to meet the mayor. While that may not sound like a lot, the total population of Talkeetna in 2010 was 876 people so that’s actually quite the flood of people. While Stubbs seemed to be a fair mayor, he was known to indulge from time to time. It’s reported that every afternoon, Stubbs would visit a local restaurant where he drank catnip infused water out of a wineglass.
2. Cats Spend A Whopping 70% Of Their Life Asleep
This shouldn’t be much of a surprise but that’s still a lot of sleep! With more people working from home, it’s become very obvious just how much time our cats are just sleeping while we’re gone! While I always imagined my cat Debbie was playing with toys or continuing her neighborhood surveillance program she’s really just snoozing!
While humans spend a still impressive 33% of their life asleep, cats are more than double that!
3. Cat Whiskers Are the Same Width As Their Body
Whiskers really are amazing and they pretty much give our cats superpowers. While a lot of people might look at their cat and wonder why their whiskers are so long, cat whiskers are actually as long as your cat is wide! That’s because whiskers help your cat understand what they can, or can’t, fit through. In other words, if the whiskers fit, so will the rest of the body!
But that naturally leads people to wonder if fatter cats have longer whiskers and the short answer is no. Your cat’s evolutionary history didn’t prepare for obesity and your cat’s whiskers generally stay the width that they’d be at a healthy body condition.
4. Feline Purrs Could Improve Bone Density and Promote Healing
While there’s still a lot we don’t know about cats one study found that purring may help felines heal. Researchers studied the purr of 44 types of felids (including cheetahs, ocelots, pumas, domestic cats, and servals) and found that the frequency of purrs matched the frequencies used in the treatment of bone fractures and wounds. Or as one researcher explained, “Purrs at a frequency of 25-100Hz correspond with established healing frequencies in therapeutic medicine for humans. Bone responds to 25-50Hz and skin and soft tissues to around 100Hz according to researchers.”
So next time your cat purr right next to your face, don’t get annoyed! Instead, thank them for sharing their healing purr with your head…even if it is a bit close!
5. Cats Are The Only Mammals That Can’t Taste Sweet
Cats don’t have the required taste receptors to taste sweet things which makes them unique in the world of mammals. While we can’t say for sure what they taste instead, they simply don’t have the proper receptors to taste the delicious sweetness of sugar.
But that’s not the only thing that cats are missing! When it comes to total tastebud count they’ve only got 470 tastebuds compared to the roughly 9,000 tastebuds that humans have.
Did you know you can communicate with your cat by blinking?
Just wait until your cat is feeling calm, comfortable, and relaxed then make light eye contact (but don’t stare) and very closely blink. There’s a very good chance that your cat will blink right back at you letting you know they love you!
It’s important to try this when your cat is already relaxed and not in the middle of an active play session! Jackson Galaxy has a great on how to do this if you’re interested in learning more:
7. Cats Have Been Living With Humans For At Least 9,5000 Years
Cats are a well-known part of Egyptian culture but in 2004 scientists uncovered a 9,5000-year-old shared burial site of a human and cat on the island of Cyprus. That pushes back the timeline for the first domestication by almost another 2,000 years!
8. A Group Of Cats Is Called A Clowder
Weird, right? Well, it’s believed that the term originated in the late 1700s and was originally clodder which meant a “clotted mass.” Over the years, it slowly transformed into clowder in the way that words change over time.
Sadly, unless you’re talking to another committed cat fact-finder there’s a good chance that most people will have no idea what you’re talking about when you say you’d like to continue growing your clowder of cats!
9. Cat Tongues Are Covered With Tiny Barbs
If you’ve ever been licked by your cat, you’ve probably be surprised at just how rough a cat tongue is! That’s because a cat’s tongue is covered in tiny barbs called papillae. These little papillae have several uses including helping your cat groom, remove more meat from small game and even helps them lap up water! You can read more and get all the details on your cat’s powerful tongue in this article from PetMD.
10. Cats Can Be Clicker Trained
Yep, you can teach your cat tricks just like you can a dog! Or like most animals for that matter! Clicker training is a method of using positive reinforcement to promote a certain behavior or series of behaviors. One of the most popular things that cat owners like to teach is the high-five but the possibilities really are endless. Clicker training also made the number one spot on my list of 29 fun things to do with your cat!
Not only is clicker training fun for you and your cat it can also decrease stress and provides mental enrichment!
11. The Worlds Fattest Cat Weighed 39.6 Pounds
Sadly, this story ends tragically as cats should never be that obese. Simply named Meow, he was brought to an animal shelter in Santa Fe, New Mexico after his owner died. While the shelter immediately put him on a diet plan and attempted to help drop weight before adoption, Meow died of lung failure only two weeks after entering the shelter.
It really is sad how fat cats are considered acceptable or even funny and hopefully, Meow’s story encourages cat owners to take feline obesity seriously!
12. The World Is (Sadly) FULL Of Fat Cats
Feline obesity is a major problem, especially in the United States where it’s estimated that 60% of cats are overweight or obese. Obesity has a long list of health implications…none of them are good.
For starters, obese cats are much more likely to have diabetes and according to Royal Canin, 80% to 90% of obese cats have diabetes. There are also connections between obesity and weakened immune systems, urinary stones, liver disease, and heart disease. But it’s never too late to help a fat cat lose weight!
13. The Longest Cat Ever Was 48.5 Inches Long
That’s 4 feet long! Stewie was a Maine Coon who was officially the longest cat in the world and he’s got the Guinness World Record to prove it!
14. Félicette Was The First (And Only) Cat In Space
In 1963 Félicette was the first, and so far the only cat, to go into space. This little French cat had quite the journey! She flew nearly 100 miles above the earth where she was able to experience weightlessness- not to mention the force of 9.5 g’s. Only 15 minutes later, she was brought back down to the earth within her space capsule. Even though this certainly qualifies as an interesting fact, it’s sad that little Félicette had to go through all this and I can only imagine how frightened she must have been. Luckily, she was unharmed during the whole process!
15. The Oldest Cat Ever Was 38 Years Old
Creme Puff lived until the ripe old age of 38 years and 3 days! Creme Puff lived in Texas and was owned by Jake Perry. Amazingly, Perry had another cat named Grandpa Rex Allen who lived to be 34 years old!
So how did Mr. Perry pull this off?
He told Atlas Obscura that their diet consisted of dry kibble along with a nice breakfast of eggs, turkey, bacon, broccoli, coffee and cream. Then, every two days Creme Puff would get an eyedropper full of red wine. Mr. Perry explains that the red wine helped “circulate the arteries.” While I certainly can’t recommend that anyone try to replicate that diet I think what really helped Creme Puff was the love!
Creme Puff and Grandpa Rex Allen (both cats, just in case you forgot) watched nature documentaries for cats in a garage that had been converted to a movie theater. But Mr. Perry didn’t completely spoil his cats…they still had to watch previews. They also had regular birthday parties and it really sounds like they were the center of attention at all times!
16. Gumpy Cat’s Real Name is Tardar Sauce
If you’ve been on the internet for more than 15 minutes, you’ve seen Grumpy Cat but her real name was Tardar Sauce. She became famous in 2012 when a family member posted a picture of her on Reddit. She quickly became a popular meme and went on to be featured on dozens of TV shows and books. She also had her own merchandising line that generated her somewhere between 1 million and 100 million dollars.
That kinda cash can buy a lot of catnip! It’s amazing to think that the prolific career of Tardar Sauce started with this simple post on Reddit.
17. Blackie Holds The Record for Richest Cat
Speaking of well-funded felines, Blackie the cat inherited a massive estate worth almost $13 million after his owner, an antique dealer, died in 1988. While I don’t think his human family was happy about the decision I’m certain Blackie deserved the cash. Even though Blackie has the Guinness World Record as the richest cat, some people suspect that the previously mentioned Tardar Sauce may have earned even more.
18. Merlin The Cat Has The Record For The Loudest Purr
Merlin, an adorable tuxedo cat living in the UK, holds the official Guinness World Record for the world’s loudest purr. It honestly doesn’t even look like he’s trying! Instead, it looks like loud purring just comes naturally to little Merlin! While the average cat purrs at 25 decibels, Merlin blows that out of the water with a purr of 67.8 decibels!
19. Cats Can’t Focus On Anything Less Than A Foot In Front Of Them
Your cat’s eyes have a lot of trouble focusing on anything that’s less than a foot in front of them! That’s a result of their large pupils and huge eyes! While this unique structure helps with a long list of things like night vision, it makes it difficult to focus on objects close up.
But that’s where your cat’s amazing whiskers come in.
Your cat uses their whiskers to feel what’s in front of them even if they can’t focus on it very closely.
20. (Most) Cats Have 18 Toes
Unless your cat is a polydactyl cat, they have 18 toes in total with five toes on each of their front feet and four on each back foot. But that’s not the case for the ever-popular polydactyl cat! Polydactyl cats have a benign congenital abnormality that gives them extra toes. The current world record is tied with a total of 28 toes! That’s 10 extra toes compared to the normal cat!
My cat Debbie is a polydactyl cat but sadly she’s not close to a world record!
21. Cats Have Whiskers In Places Other Than Their Face
Did you know your cat has what’s called carpal whiskers that are located on your cat’s front limbs? These whiskers help compensate for the lack of close up vision by helping cats understand exactly where their prey is after they’ve gotten their paws on it. After all, catching a mouse is only the first step in the hunting process! Cats have to hold onto it long enough to actually eat it and your cat’s front whiskers help them do that.
22. Male Cats Are More Likely To Be Left-Pawed
Researchers found that male cats are much more likely to use their left paw for more intricate or complicated tasks while female cats are much more likely to use their right paw. During their research, they only found one ambidextrous kitty!
If you want to test this at home make sure to give your cat a sufficiently difficult test! Similar to humans, it’s easy for cats to be ambidextrous with simple tasks the same way humans don’t have a dominant hand for opening doors. So if you want to see if your cat follows the pattern make sure to use a high-value toy and don’t make it too easy! I recommend Da Bird which you can check out on Amazon!
23. Your Cat Is Faster Than Usain Bolt
Yep, without any training or special diets, your little housecat can outrun the greatest sprinter of all time! Housecats can run at about 30 mph which just barely beats Usain Bolt’s top speeds! Despite your cat’s impressive speed, I don’t think they’ll be winning any gold medals anytime soon.
24. Cats Spend An Average Of 5 Hours A Day Grooming
Cats love to be clean and when they aren’t sleeping or attacking your hair they’re probably grooming themselves. According to the SPCA of Texas, cats spend an average of 5 hours a day just grooming themselves! It obviously takes a lot of work to look good!
25. Cats Have Curved Claws Which Prevents Them From “Climbing Down”
Cat claws are curved downward which makes them extra effective at gripping prey or more likely a carpeted cat tree. While this gives them a huge advantage going up a tree it also means they have to climb backwards down the tree. While that might sound like a silly thing to do in the first place, think about how squirrels will stick to trees in just about every direction possible and you’ll see what I mean!
Cats can’t do that and instead have to slow creep backward down a tree (or your curtains).
26. Your Cat Can Smell The Air (Like A Snake)
Has your cat ever seemed particularly interested in a smell only to give you the weirdest look?
You know the one- half-open mouth, curled nose, and upper lip slightly lifted. That’s called the Flehmen response and it’s a technique that your cat uses to smell the air around them. Cats use something called the vomeronasal organ which is also commonly called a Jacobson’s organ.
Anthrozoologist John Bradshaw explains that this weird combination of facial movements actually opens up to two tiny ducts on the roof of your cat’s mouth. These ducts lead to the vomeronasal organ and allow your cat to really take in a certain smell.
While you’re most likely to get this response with something like urine or pheromones from another animal, the modern house cat has a lot of unique smells to respond to. For some reason, my cat Debbie will show the Flehmen response if I let her smell my toothbrush (maybe I need a new one).
But because it’s the internet, there is of course a compilation of cats showing the Flehmen response…after smelling people’s feet. While that might seem weird, it’s a great video for seeing a variety of cats showing off their own Flehmen style:
27. Female Cats Can Become Pregnant At Only 4 Months Old!
While most people would agree that a cat is still a kitten at 4 months, they can actually reach sexual maturity at that age and can become pregnant. That’s just another reason to make sure you spay and neuter your kitties early to prevent unwanted litters! Sadly, there are already too many cats in the world so it’s important to do your part! PetSmart has a great directory of low-cost clinics that offer spay and neuter if you’re looking for the best options in your area!
28. Cats, Camels, and Giraffes All Walk The Same Way
I’m guessing you spend a lot of time around cats but probably not nearly as much time around camels and giraffes….so it’s okay if you haven’t noticed this before! But cats, camels, and giraffes all walk the same way by moving both legs on their left limbs then moving both of their right limbs. We don’t actually know why these animals share this style of walking but they’re the only animals that do! If you’re not following the details of this fact, watch the video below for examples of exactly what I’m talking about along with a comparison to dogs.
29. Cats Hate The Smell Of Citrus
Cat’s have a powerful sense of smell that’s 6 times strong than the average human (that’s a bonus cat fact for you) which means they experience smells in a much different way than us! One of the smells cats typically can’t stand is citrus! I actually wrote an entire post on why cats hate oranges and a guide to using a variety of citrus essential oil scents to keep cats off countertops!
Why do cats not like citrus?
My theory is that because cats can’t actually taste sweet (check cat fact number five) the smell of orange just doesn’t smell good for them! After all, that’s one of the major selling points of citrus, right?
30. Catnip Doesn’t Affect Cats Until They’re At Least Three Months Old
If you’re trying to watch your kitten go crazy for catnip you might have to wait until they’re a little older! According to Dr. Marty Becker, while writing for VetStreet, the proclivity for “catnip doesn’t become apparent until a kitten is three to six months old.”
Even more surprising is that not all cats actually experience anything from catnip! Dr. Becker goes on to explain that “The catnip response is inherited, and some 30 to 50 percent of cats lack the gene that lets them turn on and tune out.”
31. Spaying and Neutering Can Increase A Cat’s Lifespan
Banfield Pet Hospital completed a study that found neutered male cats live 62 percent longer than unneutered male cats. They also found that spayed female cats live 39 percent longer than unspayed cats.
Banfield also found that a cat’s average lifespan increased by an entire YEAR between 2002 and 2012. That’s a 10 percent increase in total lifespan which is a big jump! It’s just another reason why you should spay and neuter your cats!
32. Cat’s Use Meowing To Communicate With Us Not Other Cats
You might think that a cat’s meow is something that they started to talk to their feline friends and then applied to us…but cats very rarely actually meow at other cats! Anthrozoologist John Bradshaw explains that “People think of it as an absolutely classic cat behavior … but it’s something they’ve learned to do to get our attention. It’s really something they’ve adopted as a way of communicating with humans.”
This is one of my absolute favorite cat facts! Not only is it a bit of surprise but I think we should all feel honored that cats are trying so hard to get our attention that they’ve taken up meowing for our benefit!
33. Cats Instintually Use The Litter Box
Most kittens will use the litter box even without much training at all! Cat’s instincts want to hide their scent by using the bathroom somewhere that they can bury the smell. This instinct helps them keep a low profile and stay safe from predators. However, many big cats (like tigers and lions) will purposely not bury their poops in order to let the world know that they’re ready to claim a certain area for their own!
Sounds like quite the power play!
34. Issac Newton May Have Created The First Cat Door
Yep, that Issac Newton. You know, the guy who helped establish the basic principles for modern physics. He is also reported to have created the very first cat door. Whether or not he was a cat lover is unclear but it is clear that he was solving a cat problem as old as time: closed doors. We know cats hate closed doors and according to How Stuff Works, Newton was constantly being interrupted by cats scratching at this door to get in. Naturally, he decided to solve this problem and asked the local carpenter to build a cat-sized hole in the door.
Luckily his idea lives on and while there are more and more indoor cats in the world, they still hate a closed door!
35. Cats Place Their Back Paw In The Spot As Their Front Paw When Walking
If that doesn’t make sense right, away stay with me! When your cat walks they place the back paw in the almost exact spot that their front paw was just at. This minimizes noise and footprints and is part of the reason why your cat is such a profound hunter.
Take a look at this slow-motion video of a cat walking in the sand to see exactly what I’m talking about and pay close attention to where each paw lands.
36. In Just Seven Years, A Pair Of Cats and Their Kittens Could Produce 420,000 Kittens
All it takes is a single pair of cats to produce almost half a million kittens…in just 7 years. That’s because the average adult female can have three litters a year which would produce around 12 kittens every year. Some of those kittens will of course be female and have more kittens once they reach sexual maturity. Those kittens have more kittens and so on.
Remember, that’s with only a single male and female cats to start with. When you consider just how many cats there are in the world and how many times this happening you start to see just how rapidly the number of cats could grow out of control!
Even though kittens are great, there are sadly too many cats already! So while this is certainly an interesting cat fact it should also help you remember just how important it is to spay and neuter your kitties! Remember, PetSmart has a great directory of low-cost or free spay and neuter clinics for you to choose from.
37. Chocolate Isn’t Just Bad For Dogs, It’s Poisonous For Cats Too
Most people know that dogs can’t eat chocolate but did you know that it’s just as dangerous for cats, too?
Dogs and chocolate get more attention because dogs are a lot more likely to try and chow down on some dark chocolate…and just about anything else they can get a hold of!
While your cat might not try to eat a bar of chocolate, a milkshake or other dairy treat with chocolate might just sound delicious to your cat. If you’re reading these cat facts in order then you already know that cats can’t taste sweet so chocolate on its own isn’t going to do much for your cat. But if it’s mixed with some animal fats (as in the case of milk or cream) there’s a good chance your cat might decide to take a taste.
Chocolate is toxic for cats for the same reason that it’s toxic for dogs. It has to do with an ingredient called theobromine which is easily metabolized by humans but not by dogs or cats. Because a cat or dog’s body doesn’t know what to do with theobromine it continues to build up and eventually cause major damage to the liver. However, it would take quite a bit of chocolate and it’s not likely most cats are going to show much interest in your chocolate treats.
38. Cats Have A Special Bone Structure That Allows Them To Be Extra Flexible…And Extra Athletic
Are you ever amazed at the tight spots your little cat can squeeze into? That flexibility does more than just let them squeeze into their favorite cardboard box- it also helps improve their performance when running and jumping! The folks at Cornell University explain, “Moreover, the feline shoulder blade is attached to the rest of the body only by muscles, not by bone. This gives the shoulder blade tremendous freedom to move as the cat moves, extending its running stride even more. And unlike the long anchored collarbone we humans have, cats have tiny rudimentary collarbones that contribute to their ability to squeeze through tight openings.”
39. Cats Have Trouble Detecting Slow Movements
Almost everything about cats is geared towards hunting and capturing small prey. From their ability to see in low light to their barbed tongue and powerful curved claws, cats are true predators. If something can’t help a cat catch prey then there’s a chance they just never got good at it!
An example of this is the ability of cats to see movement in slow objects. Cats are very good at spotting fast-moving things (like a little mouse or their favorite toy) but not so good at seeing slow-moving objects. Live Science explains that “Though Fluffy may be better at picking up the darting and scurrying of a frightened mouse, there are many slow-moving objects that humans can detect with their eyesight that look stationary to cats.”
40. Cats Have 22 Bones In Their Tail Alone!
Ever wonder how your cat makes those expressive tail twitches? Well, it helps that they have 22 to 23 bones in their tail alone! Not only does it help them show the world how they feel with their tail, but it also allows them to make precise movements that help them stay balanced!
41. Cats Can Jump Up To 9 Times Their Height!
We’ve all seen our cats make impressive leaps and bounds from couch to chair but cats also have a very impressive vertical jump too. According to Cornell University, cats can jump up to 9 times their own height into the air…from a sitting position!
Imagine if humans could do that! That would mean that anyone over 5 feet tall would be able to jump 45 feet into the air! This jumping ability comes from their unique structure which allows their muscles to apply maximum force!
Check out this little cat in Japan showing off her impressive jumping ability!
42. Ancient Egyptians Shaved Their Eyebrows As A Sign Of Mourning When Their Cats Passed Away
The ancient Egyptians are well known for their love of felines. Cats were literally treated like royalty and it seems like cats never forgot this part of their history. Not only were cats mummified when they died (just like the Egyptians) but the surviving humans would shave their eyebrows as a sign of mourning. They would continue to mourn until their eyebrows grew back.
43. Cats Have A Wider Field Of View Than Humans
Here’s a fun fact you probably haven’t considered before, cats have a 200-degree field of view which is wider than the 180-degree view of most humans. This gives them greater peripheral vision and is just another reason why they’re such great hunters!
44. Cats Are Obligate Carnivores
Cats are what’s called obligate carnivores which means that they can only get all their required nutrients from meat and don’t actually need vegatables, fruits, or grains. I talk a lot about how important this when I review various cat foods but my favorite example of how this works is the case of beta-Carotene.
Humans can convert the beta-Carotene found in carrots to vitamin A but cats can’t. Instead, cats need to get their vitamin A from animal products and the best source is liver. That’s just one of the dozens of examples of how your cat is a true carnivore.
45. There Are 75 Million Cats In The United States
That’s a huge number of cats! No wonder they’re all over the internet! But cats aren’t just taking over the US! It’s estimated that there are 53 million cats in China and almost 18 million in Russia!
46. A Male Cat Is Called A Tom
Specifically, an intact (or unneutered) male cat that’s sexually mature. So while you wouldn’t use the term to describe a kitten, it would be accurate when describing an adult male. If you want to learn where this name came from, you can read more in this article.
47. Your Cat Is More Than 95% Tiger
Here’s a fun fact that will make your cat feel extra tough! Researchers found that house cats share 95.6% of genetic makeup with tigers even though they diverged on the evolutionary tree an estimated 10.8 million years ago! But don’t let it go to your cat’s head!
48. Cat’s Have Powerful Night Vision That’s 6 to 8 Times More Powerful Than Humans
While cats can’t see in absolute darkness they’re pretty close to it! Compared to humans, they have six to eight times more rod cells in their eyes which are the cells used to see in low light. But it’s not just the rod cells that help- the elliptical eye shape of a cat’s eye also helps it take in more light!
49. A Cat’s Normal Body Temperature Is Between 100.5 °F and 102.5°F
That’s several degrees warmer than the average human body temperature of 97.7–99.5 °F.
50. Cats Are Crepuscular Animals
What the heck is a crepuscular animal?
It means that your cat is most active during the early morning and early evening periods of dawn and dusk. Wondering what other animals are crepuscular?
51. Disneyland Is Home To Dozens Of Working Cats
It all started around 1955 when the first wave of pioneering felines decided that the Sleeping Beauty Castle was the ideal location to set up camp. These cats were no doubt drawn to Disneyland by the likely large population of mice that were attracted to the food left behind by guests.
But that was only the start! The population grew and both guests and staff grew to love them. So much so that the cats of Disneyland have their own website and Instagram that features individual profiles of cats complete with likes, dislikes, and preferred rides.
While Disney doesn’t exactly advertise the cats as part of the overall appeal of the park, there’s no doubt that they’re happy with the performance of the cats and the benefits they have when it comes to controlling the rodent population.
Disney is well known for coming up with very creative ideas for making the park a magical experience. Including using a team of chickens to help make the park completely mosquito-free– which is no easy feat in Florida.
These full-time felines have even attracted the attention of celebrities like Ryan Gosling who talked about these specially-trained cats on an episode of Conan. You can see the clip here (it starts right when he begins talking about the Disney cats):
52. On Average, Indoor Cats Live A LOT Longer Than Outdoor Cats
According to the team at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, the average lifespan of an outdoor cat is 2-5 years while the average lifespan of an indoor cat is 10-15 years! That’s a big difference!
53. Didga The Cat Holds The Record For Most Tricks In One Minute
When I wrote about fun activities to do with your cat, clicker training was at the top of the list. But while most people decide to teach their cat a simple trick like high-five or sit Didga the Australian cat decided to take things a few steps further.
Didga rides a skateboard, swims, walks backward up walls, literally stops on a dime, and a whole lot more. She was able to string all her trick together into one record sitting minute where she performed a total of 20 different tricks!
I LOVE that Didga was adopted from a shelter and I’m so happy this little cat gets to live the good life! Check out all her tricks in this video:
54. Cats Prefer Their Food Body Temperature
While it’s certainly an interesting cat fact, the idea of describing food at body temperature is a little creepy!
But when you consider that your cat is a committed carnivore that hunted live game for thousands and thousands of years it makes sense. The folks at Carnivora explain, “Feeding temperature also influences food acceptance by cats. Domestic cats do not readily accept food served at temperature extremes, whereas food offered near body temperature (38.5 degrees C) is most preferred. This is logical considering that in the wild, a cat’s diet is freshly killed prey with normal body temperature at the time of consumption.”
So if you’ve got a particluarly picky kitty consider offering them slightly warmed food and see if that makese a difference!
55. Housecats Are The Only Felines That Can Hold Their Tail Vertically While Walking
If you’ve been around cats for any length of time you quickly pick up that the upright tail with a slight curve (AKA the question mark tail) is a classic happy cat signal. But did you know that house cats are the only felines that can even raise their tail vertically while walking? Wild cats have to hold their tail loosely tucked between their legs or horizontal when walking.
56. Cats Have 32 Muscles In Each Outer Ear…Humans Have 6
Cats use these muscles to perfectly position and rotate their ears in order to find the exact source of a noise. Just another interesting feline fact that shows how your cute kitty is actually an extremely efficient predator!
57. Cats Don’t Only Purr When Their Happy
Purring is actually a very complicated behavior that can mean a lot of different things. Most cat lovers are very familiar with the happy purr! According to a veterinarian and Better With Cats contributor Megan McCorkle “Purring starts very early for cats…before they can even hear! Kittens are born blind and deaf but they can still feel the vibration of their mother’s purrs which lets them know that everything is okay.”
It’s thought that cats continue to purr during times of contentment even as adults. But Dr. McCorkle points out that cats will also purr when injured or stressed. While we don’t know for sure, one popular theory is that cats are purring to calm themselves down during moments of stress.
So how can purring mean all these things at once? I think Dr. McCorkle put it best when she explained “While purring is most often a good thing, you can think of a cat’s purr like a human’s smile. In most cases, humans smile because they’re happy but they can also smile when they’re nervous, anxious, or even scared. A purr can work the same way, but like a smile, it most often means that your cat is happy and comfortable!”
58. Cats Rub You With Their Cheeks In Order To “Mark” You
While that level of possessiveness might make you a little uncomfortable, it just means that your cat likes you! Dr. Stephanie Borns-Weil explains that cats use special glands in their cheeks to leave scent markings that let other cats know they were here. It’s a totally normal part of feline communication.
So does that mean your cat sees you as part of their territory?
I’ll let you decide but I’m certain my cat is letting the world know that this is her human!
59. Cats Can Retract Their Front Claws…But Not Their Back Claws
Cats can retract their front claws while walking (or gently playing with your arm) which helps keep them nice and sharp. But contrary to what most people might imagine, your cat’s claws don’t retract into any kind of special sheath. Instead, cats’ claws are simply elevated off the ground while in a resting position and when they’re ready to put them to use they can extract them is a special tendon.
The folks at Soft Paws explain that “The extension and retraction of a cat’s claws are similar to the way in which a person points their toes and flexes their ankle back.”
60. Cats Can’t See As Many Colors As Humans Can
We already talked about how cats have more rods (a special eye cell) than humans which gives them a clear edge when it comes to seeing in low light. But humans have more cone cells than cats, which help visualize color. In fact, humans have 10 times as many cones as cats! So while cats can most certainly still see color, they don’t see nearly as many or as vibrantly as we do.
61. Most Cats Are Lactose Intolerant
Even though popular culture shows cats as milk-lovers, most cats are actually lactose intolerant. So while they may actually like milk it’s not great for their digestive system and according to veterinarian Ann Hill, while speaking with Chewy, the results of ingesting milk are ” stomach upset, gas, cramping, bloating and diarrhea—usually within eight to 12 hours of ingesting the dairy product.”
So why did the idea of giving cats a saucer of milk become so popular?
Probably because many cats really do like milk. Dr. Hill explains that “Cats like dairy because they are drawn to protein and to fat, so if something tastes fatty to them, it generally tastes good to them.” This makes even more sense when you remember that cats are obligate carnivores! But even though they love milk, after 6 months they lose the ability to breakdown lactose which means they also lose the ability to effectively digest milk.
62. Beware The Lillies If You Have Kitties
Lillies are a popular flower that you can buy just about anywhere that plants are sold. They’re especially popular around Easter time in the US and I regularly see them in grocery stores but if you’ve got kitties you need to stay far away from the lillies.
The FDA explains “The entire lily plant is toxic: the stem, leaves, flowers, pollen, and even the water in a vase.” That’s right, even the water is dangerous to cats. Curious cats can’t resist playing with something new and it’s never worth the risk to keep lillies at home.
63. Pretty Poinsettias Are Poisonous To Cats, Too
Another holiday favorite, poinsettias are a popular plant around Christmas time. Even though they are beautiful, they should absolutely be avoided if you have cats since they can be toxic to cats. While still not a dangerous as a lilly, the sap of a poinsettia can quickly cause vomiting and diarrhea.
64. You Can Toliet Train Cats
Yes! You can teach your cat to use the toilet instead of the litterbox. The easiest way to do it is with a special kit that basically turns your toilet into a litterbox by mounting litter around the seat. Over time, you slowly remove the litter until all that’s left is the toilet seat!
The most popular kit on the market is City Kitty and you can see it here on Amazon. City Kitty has been on Shark Tank and covered in dozens of new stories. People are intrigued by the idea of toilet training cats! Here’s one of the many local news stories covering City Kitty!
65. Many Cats Are Intrigued By The Smell Of Bleach
While I find that the smell of bleach gives me an instant headache, many cats are very curious about the smell.
The chlorine in bleach can smell like cat pee! This can actually cause a big problem if you use bleach (or other cleaning products with ammonia) regularly as some cats may feel the urge to mark those areas with their own urine. While a lot of folks say that cats like the smell of bleach I’m not sure they enjoy it as much as they’re very interested in where this strange cat pee is coming from!
66. Cats Can Drink Seawater For Hydration
While you shouldn’t test this (just give your kitty freshwater) cats are able to actually drink saltwater or seawater and stay hydrated! That’s because their kidneys are so efficient that they can filter the salt from the water and allow them to stay hydrated.
But even though cats can handle saltwater now and then, it’s not something you should ever purposely give them. Drinking too much saltwater over time can lead to big problems and cat kidneys already work hard enough!
67. Every Cat Has A Unique Nose Print (Like A Finger Print)
If you take a close look at your cat’s nose you’ll see a variety of small ridges, bumps, and lines. Just like a fingerprint, these features come together to create something that’s completely unique about your cat.
If we had a system for quickly identifying these nose prints we could use them to identify cats as a replacement for the microchip system! Dogs have the same feature and if you’ve got a bigger dog it can be much easier to see. So if you’re looking for the next big invention in the pet world, consider creating the first never nose print scanner!
Check out this close-up picture of this cute little cat nose to get an idea of what we’re talking about:
68. Kittens Within The Same Litter Can Have Different Fathers
If a female cat mates with more than one male while she’s fertile then it’s completely possible for her eggs to be fertilized by more than one male. That means that in a litter of several kittens each kitten could possibly have more than one father!
But just to be clear, each kitten can only have one father. This can also happen in dogs where it’s a little easier to tell which puppies may have different fathers due to big variations in size or color.
Even better, you can actually use a well-timed blink to let your cat know that you love them. It’s one of my favorite things to do with cats and it can also be a great way to warm up a shy cat. It’s also very simple! All you need to do is make soft eye contact with your cat (don’t stare them down) and then slowly blink. Hold your eyes closed for around a second to really make it a slow blink and there’s a good chance your cat will slowly blink back.
Why does this work?
Because cats already use blinking as a form of communication that shows trust and comfort around another cat. In the wild, closing your eyes while being looked at would be dangerous and something your cat would never do in front of a potential threat. The slow blink shows that your cat trusts you and it can be a great way to let them know that you trust them, too.
You can learn more and see examples in this video from Jackson Galaxy:
70. Abraham Lincoln Loved Cats
Abraham Lincoln was quite the animal loved but seemed to have a special place in his heart for cats. According to a quick biography from the National Park Service, Lincoln loved cats and would play with them for hours. When his wife, Mary Todd, was asked if Lincoln had a hobby she simply replied “cats.”
Lincoln loved his cats, named Dixie and Tabby, and he was even reported to have fed Tabby from the table during a fancy formal dinner at the White House!
71. Kitty Cams Revealed That Cats Hunt Even When They’re Not Hungry
A University of Georgia study equipped house cats with cameras to see what they do when they’re out and about. While they learned a lot from the study, one of the most surprising things was that cats only actually ate what they killed 30 percent of the time! Instead of eating their prey, they’d either leave the remains behind or bring them into their home.
While that does make our cuddly cats seem a bit crazy, it probably explains why they’ve been used for centuries to manage pests on farms, ships, and in homes.
72. Hissing Is Not An Act Of Aggression- It’s Defensive
Cats don’t hiss because they want to attack or go on offense. Instead, hissing is a defensive gesture that lets whatever is scaring your cat know that they need to back off…or else! Most cats that hiss are letting you know that they’re uncomfortable and they don’t want any more of what’s happening.
While it might seem simple, understanding what cats are really trying to say is important and there’s a big difference between real aggression and cats that are taking defensive postures.
73. The First Known Cat Video Was Released In 1894
Long before YouTube became the home of epic cat videos, people wanted to create videos about our favorite feline friends. The very first live motion picture in history to show a cat is simply called “Falling Cat” and features a little cat falling through the air onto what looks like a bed. The cat seems completely fine!
Thomas Eddison is often attributed as one of the first people to create a cat video but based on my research it looks like “Falling Cat” was first. Edison’s contribution is also not exactly pleasant to the true cat lover since it features cats with boxing gloves attached to their paws fighting. Not my favorite.
If you want to see the first motion picture featuring a feline you can see “Falling Cat” here:
74. There Isn’t Just One Reason Why Cats Knead
Kneading, or making biscuits as it’s often called, is something that most cat owners are very familiar with but it’s not entirely clear why cats do this. Most experts can agree that kneading is connected to your cat’s kittenhood when they kneaded on their mother in order to stimulate milk production. The most popular idea is that kneading is a sign of comfort and happiness for your cat.
But it could also be an deeply rooted instinct from their wild cat ancestors and a method they use to prepare the perfect spot to lay. We actually wrote about all the reasons cats knead (and why they bite blankets) in this article if you’re looking to dive deeper into this fun feline fact.
75. Cats Can Get An Uncomfortable Condition Called Whisker Fatigue
Whisker fatigue is an uncomfortable condition caused by the constant stimulation of a cat’s whiskers against a surface- usually a food or water bowl. Whiskers are extremely powerful and can not only help your cat figure out if they can squeeze into a tight space but they can also help cats feel wind currents from fast-moving prey! But when most cats have to eat or drink from a food bowl they have to shove their face directly into the bowl where their whiskers are pressed against the sides!
Over time, this can lead to whisker fatigue! Cats with uncomfortable whiskers will most often pull their food out of their bowl (either with a paw or by tipping it over) and eating it there. But there’s an entire market of whisker-friendly cat bowls that are extra shallow to help prevent this. If you’re interested, I wrote about the best ones in this article.
76. Female Cats Could Be Called A Queen, Molly Or Dam
Just as male cats are called Toms or Gibs, female cats can have a variety of names. Most of these names are within the breeding context and the most general name for a female cat is a Molly. I’ve dug deep across the internet to try and find the origin of calling females Molly but I can’t find any kind of etymology or history on the term. So it remains a mystery!
Cats are called Queens if they’re pregnant, nursing, or generally taking care of kittens. While I can’t find any concrete evidence as to why female cats are called Queens, anyone who’s spent some time with female cats can quickly see why that might be the name! Especially in a breeding context, female cats can be finicky and downright bossy!
Dam is used in a pedigree context and designates the female cat of a particular lineage. Unless you’re speaking to breeders you probably won’t hear this term used very often.
77. Cats Really Do Almost Always Land On Their Feet
Cats are well known in popular culture for always landing on their feet and it’s well deserved! Cats have multiple unique adaptations that work together to help them land on their feet from almost any height. Their unique skeletal configuration gives them increased flexibility which allows them to quickly shift their weight in the right direction while falling. They also have an acute sense of balance which can quickly help them figure out which way is up and which way is down.
According to Live Science, this righting reflex is so deep in cats instincts that even cats as young as 7 weeks old have learned how to master it!
78. A Group Of Kittens Can Go By Many Names
You’ve certainly heard of a group of related kittens being called a litter. Litter is a common term for any group of babies from the same mom but it’s most often used in reference to mammals. But did you know that a litter of kittens could also be called a kindle? While it doesn’t get much use it’s a pretty cute name and I fully support our feline friends having their own special name for litters!
But it doesn’t end there! Older terms for litters of kittens include an “intrigue” and an “entanglement”. Both of these names seem pretty accurate to me! Kittens are intriguing and intrigued with just about everything around them. But when they’ve spent the day (or a few hours) exploring the new world around them they quickly become an entanglement of sleeping fur balls!
79. The Largest Litter Of Kittens Born To One Cat Is 19
In 1970, an unnamed Siamese/Burmese cat gave birth to 19 kittens in one litter and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the largest litter…or should I say kindle of kittens? But at 19 little furry fuzzballs running around I’d say they qualify as an entanglement of kittens for sure!
80. White Cats With Blue Eyes Are More Likely To Be Deaf
According to Cornell University, research has found that 17 to 22 percent of white cats with non-blue eye color are born deaf. While that’s certainly an interesting cat fact on its own, things get a little crazy when you learn that if white cats also have one blue eye the percentage rises to 40!
But it doesn’t stop there, white cats with two blue eyes have a 65 to 85 percent chance of being deaf!
81. The Health and Wellness Benefits Of Having A Cat Are Scientifically Established
Of course, I’ve got a bias when it comes to cats but there’s a huge volume of scientific studies that show the health and wellness benefits of living with a cat! One Australian study found that cat owners had better scores on psychological assessment which indicated “lower level of psychiatric disturbance, and could be considered to have better psychological health than the non-pet subjects.
But it doesn’t end there!
Another study found that cat owners have a 40% decreased risk of heart attack concluding that “A decreased risk for death due to MI and all cardiovascular diseases (including stroke) was observed among persons with cats. Acquisition of cats as domestic pets may represent a novel strategy for reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases in high-risk individuals.”
As much as I wish it were true, I haven’t found anything that suggests there’s a compound effect as you add more cats to your household!
82. Cats Have More Nerve Cells In The Visual Parts Of Their Brain Than Most Mammals…Including Humans!
While humans may have a big brain that composes about 2% of our total body mass, our hyper-visual cats do have a beat in one area: the visual areas of the cerebral cortex. This is just another way that cats have developed to be excellent visual predators!
For extra fun feline brain fact, you should know that dogs have about 160 million neurons in their brain…but cats have 300 million!
83. As A Committed Cat Person, You’re In The Minority
According to a large study and survey of people, only 11.5% self-identified as cat owners. That puts cat lovers in the minority compared to the 45% of people who said they were dog people. Unfortunately, the study does go on say that based on personality testing cat owners were also found to be less organized, less friendly, and a bit more anxious. But it’s not all bad because cat owners were found to be more artistic and intellectually curious too (which is why you’re reading a long list of cat facts in the first place)!
Many participants in the study identified themselves as neither dog nor cat people. Interestingly, dog people and people who don’t care for pets had a similar personality profile while cat people stood out completely. As Psychology Today put it when they reviewed the same study, “What these results suggest to me is that self-identified dog people are fairly similar in most respects to people in general, whereas self-identified cat people represent a more distinctive subset of people.”
84. The First Cat Video On YouTube Is Called “Pajamas and Nick Drake”
YouTube is well established as the number one source for all things cat video. As of 2015, there were more than 2 million cat videos on YouTube alone and there’s no sign that cat video uploads are going to slow down anytime soon.
But where did it all start?
The first known cat video on Youtube is a simple video called “Pajamas and Nick Drake” uploaded by username “steve.” In the video, a little black cat named Pajamas is chasing around a toy while Nick Drake plays.
Steve explains, “This is my cat, Pajamas, playing and dancing to the tune of Nick Drake.” Simple and to the point.
While it might not be the most exciting cat video on the internet it’s still historic and you can check it out here:
85. Scooter the Cat Was The Oldest Cat To Give Birth…At 30 Years Old
Born on March 26, 1986, Scooter the cat became the oldest cat to give birth and has the Guinness World Record to prove it. As being age 30 wasn’t enough, Scooter took it to another level by giving birth. While this is certainly an interesting cat fact I can’t really support Scooter (or any cat) giving birth at that age. Childbirth is uncomfortable enough and at 30 years old I hope Scooter gets a break!
86. Cats Need Taurine To Survive
We’ve already talked about how cats are obligate carnivores and need meat in order to survive. But that’s not the only unique nutritional requirement for cats, they also need sufficient levels of an amino acid called taurine. You’ve probably seen taurine listed on the back of your cat food labels and it’s a common supplement to cat food for good reason.
While most mammals can produce needed taurine within their own bodies, VCA Hospitals explain that “cats have a limited ability to manufacture taurine; therefore, taurine is classified as an essential nutrient in the cat.
87. Cats Can Hear Ultrasonic Noises
Not only do cats have better night vision than us, but they also have superior hearing abilities. And not just a little bit, cats can actually hear at an ultrasonic level and it’s no coincidence that mice communicate with ultrasonic noises. But its not just about mice, this precise and sensitive hearing can help your cat identify and hear a variety of small prey.
88. Socks The Presidential Cat Was The Star Of His Own Video Game
Socks was the resident cat in chief during the Clinton years and was pretty darn famous! He appeared in books, movies, music videos, television shows, and more. But his most interesting appearance sadly was never fully realized. Socks was set to star in his own video game called Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill.
So what was this game all about?
The plot is simple: Socks the Cat has to battle his way through Washington D.C. where he takes on spies, corrupt politicians, and dastardly news crews so he can warn the Clintons of an impending nuclear missile launch. Wow. That seems like a pretty heavy game for Socks to star in and that’s certainly a lot of responsibility!
Even though the game was completed and playable it was never actually released by the original publisher. But that didn’t stop committed Socks the Cat fans from getting their hands on this game! In 2016 a Kickstarter was created to obtain the rights to the game and release it…and they were successful! They raised a total of $33,148 and you can see the full story on Kickstarter here.
89. High Pitched Noises Can Cause Seizures In Older Cats
A 2015 study established a new syndrome in cats called feline audiogenic reflex seizures or FARS. This condition was most often seen in older cats that were 15 years or older. While we still don’t fully understand what’s going on, it’s clear that some high-pitched sounds can trigger a seizure in cats, and by far the most common sound that caused this was the crinkling of tinfoil. They also found that other everyday items like a metal spoon against ceramic, tapping on glass, or even crinkling paper could trigger the same response.
While this is certainly scary for cat lovers (especially when you consider how much cats love crinkly noises), keep in mind that this condition is very rare and has only been found in much older cats.
90. A Cat’s Heart Beats At Twice The Speed Of A Human
A human’s heart beats at around 60 to 100 beats per minute but a cat’s heart beats at a rate between 150 and 180 beats per minute which is pretty close to doubling our rate. Of course, this heart rate can go much higher if your cat is having fun or chasing down a toy!
91. Cats Instinctually Prefer Smaller Meals Spread Throughout The Day
Have you ever noticed that your cat seems to eat small little snacks throughout the day instead of a break and dinner routine?
That’s a result of natural hunting instincts that encourage them to hunt regularly and frequently throughout the day instead of going for one big meal. In the wild, your cat would need to constantly stay vigilant and track down prey. According to Chewy, outdoor cats are known to eat at many as 8 to 9 mice per day so it’s no wonder that your feline friend likes to stop by for a quick snack regularly.
92. Some Cats Love Tuna So Much They Become “Tuna Junkies”
We all know that cats are crazy about tuna (and fish in general) but it’s not always the best option for cats. While it’s usually fine as an occasional snack, some cats become so obsessed with the smell and fishy taste that veterinarians refer to them as “tuna junkies”. While that still might sound kinda cute, it can quickly become a major problem when cats love tuna so much that they stop eating regular food.
Tuna simply doesn’t have the complete nutritional profile that cats need and can cause mercury poisoning in high amounts. So while tuna might be a fun snack from time to time, make sure your cat says no to tuna addition!
93. All Kittens Are Born With Blue Eyes
There’s nothing more adorable than a kitten and while there are plenty of reasons to love a cute kitten their adorable blue eyes are a big part of the appeal!
But why do all kittens have blue eyes?
Because their eyes haven’t fully developed yet and they lack the required melanin required to produce color. After a few weeks, a kitten’s eyes will continue to develop (along with the rest of their body) and start producing melanin which will reveal a cat’s true eye color.
There’s more to the story of baby blue cat eyes though! Dr. Kathryn Primm explains that the blue in kitten eye isn’t actually blue and that it’s a bit of an optical illusion. She explains, “Because the eyes are still developing, the pigment responsible for the permanent eye color has not deposited or been affected by the light yet, so they appear to be blue.” There’s certainly a noticeable difference between the baby blues of a kitten and piercing blue eyes of an adult cat and this feline fact explains why!
94. People Allergies Are A Real Thing For Cats
You’ve certainly heard about people that are allergic to cats but have you considered that cats may be allergic to people?
It’s possible, even though it’s pretty rare. When people are allergic to cats (or any other animal) it’s because they’re exposed to a particular allergen like dead skin, loose hair, or something similar. This is a problem for cats since they’re constantly shedding (at least a little bit) all year round but since humans don’t shed as much and bath a lot more we don’t shed nearly as many irritants. This is great for cats that have a people allergy!
More often though, if cats are showing allergy symptoms when they’re around people it’s more likely related to perfumes, detergents, soaps, or some other human thing. Cats can also be allergic to other pets in the same way that humans can be allergic to dogs or other pets.
95. Cats Have Contributed To The Extinction Of 63 Species
Okay, we’re obviously pretty biased towards cats here but a fact is a fact. According to the American Bird Conservatory, outdoor domestic cats have contributed to the extinction of 63 different species of birds, mammals, and reptiles across the globe. Like anything in nature, every change has a ripple effect and it’s not clear what impact the loss of those species has on thousands of other species.
Hawaii has been hit particularly hard. For thousands of years, wildlife in Hawaii evolved with minimal predator intervention and then all of sudden in the 1700’s furry little apex predators in the form of the domestic cat appeared and changed everything.
While it might not feel right to think of them this way, cats are effectively invasive species but the solution is easy enough! Cats can be kept indoors where they’re safer, liver longer, and have a minimal impact on any ecosystem besides the one inside your hone!
96. Cats Can Sweat When They’re Hot
While you won’t see your cat dripping sweat after a solid workout of chasing around their favorite cat toy, cats can still sweat when they’re hot! But it is a lot more subtle than anything you’ll see on most humans. Dr. Sarah Wooten, while writing for PetMD, explains that cats do have sweat glands but they’re just in very specific and limited places. She goes on to say that “a cat’s sweat glands are only located in a few specific hairless areas, including the paws, lips, chin and on the skin that surrounds the anus.”
Just like humans, the sweat glands release liquid that then evaporates and cools off your cat. Cats can also sweat when nervous or scared as part of an overall response to fear that’s not so different from our own.
97. Kittens Start Teething As Early As 10 Weeks
Kittens start to lose their baby teeth at around 10 weeks of age and it continues until they’re around 6 months old. The teething process for kittens isn’t that much different from the teething process for puppies…or human babies! Kittens will have a hankering for chewing not only because their teeth are feeling funny but also because that’s how they typically explore the world around them. There are many toys on the market that cater to this time in kittenhood and my favorite are the simple toys from Petstages that you can find on Amazon.
The teething process starts with your cat’s incisors or front teeth and eventually their super sharp kitten canines will fall out and make way for their adult teeth. Occasionally, a baby tooth won’t actually fall out and will stay attached even while the adult tooth is coming in! This can actually cause some problems for your cat but rarely do these teeth stick around!
98. Cats Have An Amazing Ability To Find Their Way Home…And Scientists Can’t Explain How They Do It
There are dozens of stories of cats traveling hundreds or even thousands of miles across unknown territory to find their way home. I’ve personally experienced this when I was younger and saw this first hand. We were taking care of an outdoor and semi-feral cat named Dexter for several years before we had to move about five miles north to another part of town.
We were worried that Dexter needed us to stay healthy (silly humans) so we went through the process of getting him into a carrier, which wasn’t easy. Then we drove him with us to our new house and gave him his usual snacks. Because he wasn’t truly a domestic cat, it wasn’t unusual for him to stay out and about for a day or two. But days turned into a full week and we became increasingly worried. Eventually, after looking everywhere in our new neighborhood, we decided to drive to our old house where we found Dexter laying on the front porch.
He sort of looked at us like, “Oh hey! I haven’t seen you guys in a while!” It was clear that Dexter was going to decide where his home was…not us!
But how did he do it? How did he figure out what route to take while being stuck in a carrier in a car, unable to even see out the window? Researchers simply don’t know and compared to the story of a cat that traveled 200 miles Dexter’s journey seems like a trip to the store!
There are theories but some of them are pretty tough to test. For example, it’s thought that perhaps cats can sense the Earth’s magnetic fields which allows them to become a walking compass. While that explains a lot of what cats can do the ability to so precisely find that exact home they’re looking for truly amazing and one of many feline mysteries!
99. Black Cats Are The Least Likely To Be Adopted
For whatever reason, black cats have the toughest time getting quickly adopted from animal shelters. Whether it’s because of superstition or more likely just because they have a less unique look and are difficult to photograph black cats don’t have it easy. It’s something I’ve seen first-hand working in animal shelters for more than a decade.
So if you’re looking to adopt a new feline family member, consider adopting a black cat!
100. Ailurophobia Is An Unreasonable Fear Of Cats
It’s probably safe to say that you’re not suffering from ailurophobia if you’ve made this far into our list of fun cats facts. But according to Wikipedia those who do suffer from ailurophobia may “experience panic and fear when thinking about cats, including imagining the possibility of encountering a cat, inadvertently making physical contact with a cat, even seeing depictions of cats in the media. They may experience extreme anxiety and fear when hearing meowing, hissing, or similar sounds made by cats.”
It’s crazy (and a bit sad) to imagine someone being tortured by some of the sounds we love so much!
101. Towser The Mouser Is The Worlds Greatest Mouser
To get the most out of this fact, it’s important to pronounce the name “Towser the Mouser” with a Scottish accent- even if it’s only in your head. Towser the Mouser was a long-haired tortie cat and resident pest control expert at The Glenturret Distillery in Scotland for more than 20 years. She’s also the current holder of the Guinness World Record for the greatest mouser.
That’s based on her average count of three to five mice per day with an estimated total count of 28,899 mice captured. But Towser was more than just a hired gun (or paw), she also seemed to be a part of the Glenturret family. Her paw prints appear on the label of Fairlie’s light Highland Liqueur and she was even immortalized in a statue outside the distillery.
Still, I can’t but wonder why there are so many mice in the Glenturret Distillery!
102. Male Tortie Cats Are Extremely Rare
Tortie or tortoiseshell cats are some of my absolute favorites! But did you know that they are almost exclusively female? That’s because the female sex chromosome (X) carries the gene that helps make the calico or tortie fur patterns. But in about 1 out of 3000 cases a male tortoiseshell cat is born! Usually a result of something called Klinefelter Syndrome in which a male cat has an extra X chromosome, these male torties are usually sterile.
I’ve met thousands (and thousands) of cats over the years and I’ve seen TWO male torties!
103. The Technical Name For A Hairball Is Called Trichobezoar
The official definition of a bezoar is any “mass found trapped in the gastrointestinal system” which means that hairballs certainly fall into that category but in order to get more specific between a hairball and other possible masses you’d describe the hairball as a trichobezoar. That would be pronounced “tri-co-bee-zaar” and while no one will likely know what you’re talking about you will immediately solidify yourself as a committed cat fact finder.
104. During A Lifetime, The Average Cat Spends An Estimated 10,950 Hours Purring!
And you thought your cat wasn’t busy! Between purring for more than 10,000 hours, spending 5 hours a day grooming, and sleeping for most of the day it’s amazing that cats have time to do anything else! Of course, there are outliers and I’d be willing to bet that my little cat Debbie is spending the vast majority of her time quietly purring away in front of her favorite window!
105. Cats Can Make More Than 100 Sounds To Communicate
Our feline friends have quite the vocabulary! This fun feline fact comes from the folks at Catster where they explain that cats have more than 100 different sounds that they combine in unique ways to communicate with us. We’re all familiar with purring, meowing, and probably yowling but have you heard cat burbling, beeps, or trills?
106. Cats Can Possibly Detect Earthquakes Before They Happen
There’s a long history of animals predicting earthquakes before humans have noticed anything. The oldest known reference goes way back to 373 BC when Greece experienced a massive earthquake. It was reported that several days prior to the actual earthquake a whole host of animals including rats, weasels, snakes and even centipedes left their homes and headed out for safer pastures.
How do they do this? Like with many amazing things in the animal world we have no idea. Despite a mountain of anecdotal evidence, we aren’t any closer to figuring out how animals can do this.
But it’s not for lack of trying. Scientists in Japan conducted a survey of hundreds of pet guardians, which included 703 cats, to learn more about their behavior days before the massive earthquake in 2009. The most common report was that dogs and cats were noticeably more restless and seemed to want to be near the owners.
Of course, that isn’t exactly scientific and a big part of the problem is that we can’t figure out by what mechanism cats or other animals could even do this! According to the researchers, the best guesses are “changes in atmospheric pressure, changes in gravity, ground deformation (ground uplift and tilt changes), acoustic signals and vibrations due to the generation of micro cracks, ground water level changes, and emanations of gases and chemical substances.”
Not exactly a short list!
But if you really want to have your mind blown…check out this video below and watch how all of these cats react before the quake!
107. Siamese Cats Can Change Color Based On Temperature
Siamese cats (and related breeds) have a very unusual gene that makes them temperature-sensitive albinos!
But what the heck does that even mean? In simple terms, Siamese cats have a special modifier gene that can inhibit pigment but it’s only active if the cat’s temperature reaches a certain level. How weird is that?
Most of the time, your cat’s body temperature is around 100.5 °F and 102.5°F which is also around the range that the gene is active. That’s part of the reason Siamese cats have their trademark cream-colored coat. You might be wondering, what about the ears then? Why are they dark?
It’s because a cat’s ears, paws, and tails are typically cooler than the rest of a cat’s body which means the “albino gene” isn’t active! In other words, a Siamese cat’s color is like a thermal image of itself!
After more than a decade of working with cats, I can’t believe I didn’t already know this crazy cat fact! If you want learn more about this crazy mutation, you can check out this short video which does a great job explaining it:
108. The Most Popular Cat Names For Female Cats In The US Are Bella, Lucy, Kitty, Chloe, and Sophie
A company called Veterinary Pet Insurance compiled a list of the most popular names for cats throughout 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2010. During that time, Chloe was the overwhelming winner taking each year except 2006 which was claimed by Tigger. While it might seem a bit boring to see the same name take the top spot so many years it’s a fast improvement from the number one in 1990 (according to a Gallop Poll) which was simply Blackie!
109. The Most Popular Male Cat Names Are Max, Oliver, Charlie, Tiger, and Smokey
The same company also reported on male cat names and the very clear winner was Max which won every single of the reported years! Honorable mentioned include Simba, Oscar, Oreo and of course Tigger!
It can be a lot of fun to see what cat names are the most popular in which countries and one of my favorites is the fact that Romeo is the most popular cat name in Italy.
110. A Cat’s Coloring Is Determined By A Set Of 8 Different Genes
We already talked about the complexities behind the Siamese cat’s thermal color and the connection between color and gender in tortie cats but those aren’t just outliers- the science behind a cat’s color is complex. There are eight sets of different genes that work together to build a cat’s color to create a unique (but still familiar) pattern!
111. Cats Don’t Actually Have Eyelashes
It can be pretty hard to tell but if you look closely at your cat’s eyes you’ll see that they don’t actually have any eyelashes. They have lots of hair everywhere else and special whiskers but there aren’t any eyelashes!
But what do eyelashes actually do? They help keep irritants in the form of dust and debris out of our eyes and you’d think that with some of the largest eyes in the mammal world (proportioned to the rest of their body) that cats would have a whole system to keep things out of their eyes.
And you’d be right! They most certainly do but it comes in the form of a nictating member (sometimes called a third eyelid) which also affects how often the cats need to blink. Even without eyelashes, those big beautiful eyes are being protected.
112. A Quivering Cat Tail Is A Good Thing
If you’ve been around enough cats you’ve probably seen a quivering, shaking, or rattling cat tail. Usually, it occurs when a cat is walking around with the tail straight up. This is a good sign and means your cat is happy! While my current cat doesn’t do much tail quivering when I was a kid our family cat would always greet me with a few happy chirps and a little tail rattle!
113. Cats Can Purr When Exhaling…OR Inhaling
Purring might seem like a pretty simple thing at first glance and it would be easy to assume that cats are purring when they exhale. But the surprising fact is, cats can purr independent of breathing! This is completely different from many other cat noises (like chirps and meows) which happen on exhale, the same way that we speak.
So how do cats purr?
Believe it or not, we still don’t know for sure but the most likely explanation is that it has nothing to do with inhaling or exhaling. Instead, the cat’s brain sends a signal to their laryngeal muscles (AKA the voicebox) to make it vibrate.
It’s a good thing too because one of my absolute favorite things is the purr and meow combo!
114. Ten Percent Of A Cat’s Bones Are In Their Tail
Most cats have between 230 to 250 bones and 10% of those are in the tail.
But why would cats have a range of bones at all?
That’s because tail length and toes can vary so much! Between Manx cats (that have only a nub instead of a full tail) and polydactyl cats (that have lots of extra toes), there can be quite a range to the number of bones that a cat has. Most cats with standard anatomy will have closers to 240 bones. It’s the cats with all the extra toes and long tails the show up on the high end of the spectrum.
Another interesting fact is that humans have 206 bones in their body which is less than the much smaller cat. A big part of that has to do with how the feline anatomy is made to be flexible which requires more (and smaller) bones. Think of the cat’s tail as compared to your finger for an example. Sure, you can move your finger in a lot of different ways but it’s nothing compared to the precision and range of motion of a cat’s tail!
115. Not All Cats Have “9 Lives”
While the idea of cats having multiple lives is a widespread myth across many cultures (which is a surprising fact in itself) not all cultures seem to agree on the number nine. For example, in Italy, Germany, Greece, Brazil, and several Spanish-speaking regions cats are thought to have seven lives. But in Turkish and Arabic cultures cats are only down to six lives!
116. Cats Can’t Move Their Jaw Sideways
Another sign of a true carnivore, cats can’t actually move their jaw sideways the way that so many herbivores do as they grass field of grass. Instead, cats can only bite down vertically or up and down. Human jaws, on the other hand, can most certainly move sideways as we’re ready to eat all kind of different foods!
117. The First Cartoon Cat Was Felix Cat
Felix the Cat made his debut in 1919 where he appeared in a film called “Feline Follies” which was released on November 9th. That means Felix the cat predated the now famous Mickey Mouse by nine years! It’s a bit crazy to think what would have happened if Felix the cat caught on instead of Mickey Mouse!
As far as who actually created Felix the Cat there’s a lot of debate and no one seems to know for sure. Felix remained popular throughout the 1920s but didn’t survive the introduction of “talkies” which are what we think of as normal movies now!
Thanks to the power of the internet, you can actually watch the full video of “Feline Follies” on YouTube. Check it out:
118. Eighty-One Percent Of Orange Cats Are Male
In the same way that being female is connected to the Tortie or Calico pattern, being a male is connected to being orange. Still, only 81% of orange cats are male and while that’s a big number it doesn’t compare the low odds of finding a male tortie.
But why the difference?
It has everything to do with the X and Y chromosomes. If a male cat carries the gene for orange color at all, he’ll be orange. But a female needs both X chromosomes to carry the gene in order to show the orange color. While it’s possible, it’s much less common.
So the next time you see an orange cat, you can try to impress your friends by predicting their gender!
119. That Weird Glow That You See In Photos Of Your Cat Helps Them See At Night
Ever take a picture of your cat with your cat that you think is going to be really cute and instead, you end up with some kind of demonic eyed wild cat like this:
That’s a result of your cat’s tapetum lucidum reflecting the light from the flash or other light sources. Tapetum lucidum translates from Latin to “shining layer” and that’s exactly what it is! The cells of the tapetum lucidum reflect light to the cat’s retina and is one of several ways that cats are able to see so well in the dark. It also creates that well-known glow.
While humans don’t actually have a tapetum lucidum we still a mild (and less demonic-looking) red-eye effect due to reflection from a part of the eye called the fundus.
Also interesting is that the glow of the eye is usually green (like the left eye in the picture above) but depending on a cat’s breed, age, health, and coat the colors can be different. For example, if you look closely at the image above, you can see that the right eye is blue but has a red glow!
In addition to the special reflective cells that make up the tapetum lucidum, a cat’s pupil can dilate three times larger than a human’s eye and cats also have a larger cornea. That means that the cat eye is able to let in even more light which only increases the reflection effect of the tapetum lucidum!
120. The Position Of A Cat’s Ears and Tail Can Tell You A Lot About How They’re Feeling
One of the easiest ways to get a read on your cat is to look for the position of your cat’s tail and ears. A cat that’s nervous, scared, or feeling threatened will keep their tail tucked and close to their body with flat ears. While a cat that’s feeling calm and comfortable will have a loose tail and relaxed ears.
If your cat’s interest is piqued by a noise they’ll have ears pointing straight up as they try to use their 35 ear muscles to find the exact source. Once you start looking for these subtle movements you really can’t unsee them and you’ll quickly turn into a cat reading expert. Well, as much as anyone can be an expert at reading our sometimes mysterious feline friends!
If you’re interested in learning more about how your cat’s tails, ears, and more paint a picture of how they feel check out this video from Jackson Galaxy:
121. Black Cats That Turn Reddish Brown Should Be Seen By A Veterinarian
There’s a lot of feline fact sites that claim black cats can turn reddish-brown within enough sun but that shouldn’t be taken at face value alone. While it’s certainly possible that enough sun can change the color of a coat’s coat a change from black to reddish brown could also be the a sign of tyrosine deficiency. VetKnowHow.co.uk explains that “Tyrosine is required for the creation of eumelanin, the pigment that makes your cat’s fur black. A sign of a tyrosine deficiency in cats is discoloration of the coat, turning the fur from black to a rusty reddish/orange colour. It commonly starts with the fur changing colour pigmentation at the tips.”
Where does tyrosine come from?
Animal products like meat and fish! Remember, your cat is obligate carnivore which means they need meat in order to survive and get all the nutrition they need, including tyrosine! While there are other conditions in which cats are getting the needed tyrosine but aren’t able to metabolise it the most common cause is a simple deficiency. But in order to get to the bottom of the color-changing cat, you should take your cat to a veterinarian.
122. Declawing Removes A Lot More Than Just Claws
As more cats entered homes across the world more people began to consider declawing as a way to manage the sometimes destructive behavior of their feline friends and the idea of a declaw surgery seems simple enough, right? There are claws and then there aren’t.
But in reality, it’s not that simple and to declaw a cat you have to remove the last bone of each toe. Consider your own hands- if you were to be “declawed” it wouldn’t be possible to just remove the nail because they’d simply grow back. Cat nails are also continuously growing (just like ours) and the only way to truly declaw is by removing the tip of toes! Ouch!
Luckily, over the years more and more folks took a stand on declawing, including the American Association of Feline Practitioners, and the practice has declined. According to Catster, it’s even been banned in many countries including Australia, Belgium, England, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, Scotland, Spain and Wales.
There have also been studies that link declawing to “long-term or persistent pain, manifesting as unwanted behaviors such as inappropriate elimination (soiling/urinating outside of the litter box) and aggression/biting”
So there really isn’t much good about declawing but what can you do! For starters, you can encourage cats to use scratching posts but if that doesn’t work you should check out Soft Claws which you can see Amazon. These cover up your cat’s nail and prevents them from scratching up the furniture. They really do work but you’re going to have a lot more success if you start while your kitten in young!
Finally, if you really want a cat that’s declawed you should adopt from from your local shelter. Declaw surgeries still happen and everyday declawed cats are brought to shelters.
123. Siamese Cats Are One Of The Most Vocal Breeds
The adorable Siamese is one of the most vocal cat breeds if not the most vocal. They’re always ready to go on their next adventure with their favorite human and best friend (that’s you if you weren’t sure)!
Why don’t know why exactly but it could be because they’re very intelligent and might just be seeking constant stimulation.
But regardless of why it’s one of the many cute things about the breed! Check out this cute conversation with Pippy the cat!
124. Cats (Weirdly) Seem To Be Afraid Of Cucumbers
There are dozens of viral videos online that show cat parents placing cucumbers just outside the field of view of a cat and then patiently wait. Once the cat sees the cucumber they leap up in surprise and fear!
I can’t recommend that anyone prank their cat like this since you can’t be sure what kind of long term effect it will have but it certainly seems that cats actually are afraid of cucumbers
While no one can say with certainty what’s going on with this weird behavior animal behavior expert Con Slobodchikoff while speaking to ABC suggests that “Cats are genetically hard-wired through instinct to avoid snakes [and] cucumbers look enough like a snake to have the cat’s instinctive fear of snakes kick in.”
125. Scientists Believe They Figured Out Why Cats Eat Grass
Whether you’ve got an indoor-only cat or a feline that sometimes ventures outdoors you’ve probably seen them chomp down on some grass from time to time. Or at least your newest house plant.
And that’s not just a hunch- I’ve got the data to back it up! Researchers questioned more than 1,000 cat owners about grass-eating behavior and found that 71% of cats were caught in the act of grass eating at least 6 times in their life. In fact, only 11% were found to never eat grass…at least that owners saw!
Why do cats do this?
The most recent theory is that it’s an instinct left over from their wild ancestors. Researchers observed chimps and other wild animals eating grass in order to get their digestive tract going and remove internal parasites.
Nowadays, even if a cat doesn’t have an internal parasite they may still be compelled to gobble up some greens just based on instinct alone!
126. National Cat Day In The US Is October 29th
While it seems like there’s a day for just about everything (and I think we’ve gone too far with Talk Like A Pirate Day) the only ones you need to worry about are National Cat Day and International Cat Day!
National Cat Day is October 29th and was created to help raise awareness of cat issues and help encourage adoption from shelters.
International Cat Day is celebrated on August 8th across the globe but every country seems to have a slightly different date. It was also created to help encourage awareness about cats and generally help everyone remember to be kind to felines…which we should do every day!
127. Somewhere Between 50-90% Of Cats Over 4 Suffer From Dental Disease
While we’ve already talked about how concerning and prevalent feline obesity is, dental disease isn’t much further behind!
According to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, the majority of cats over 4 are suffering from some kind of dental disease. Part of the problem is that cats are very good at hiding discomfort!
You should always have regular visits with your veterinarian but you can also brush your cat’s teeth! If you want to learn more you can check out our guide to the best cat toothpaste many of which you can use without having to actually brush!
128. Male Cats Have Nipples
Okay, you might not have been expecting that fun feline fact but it’s actually something that a lot of people ask about! It’s also not uncommon for cat parents to suddenly discover a nipple after years of not realizing they were there and suddenly becoming concerned!
But why would male cats (or male anything) have nipples?
It’s because nipples develop long before the actual sex of the kitten is determined so even though they’re developed they don’t end up surviving any purpose! If you want to learn more about this I go into a lot more detail in this article.
129. Florence Nightingale Absolutely Loved Cats
Florence Nightingale is generally considered the founder of modern nursing. She literally created the profession and founded one of the first nursing schools…but she also loved cats!
Like Abraham Lincoln, she was also reported to let her cats eat off her nice china plates! She also owned over 60 cats during her lifetime and according to some reports had as many as 17 cats at once.
While that sounds like a lot it’s very unlikely that Florence had 17 cats inside at all times in a small apartment!
She was also quoted as saying “cats possess more sympathy and feeling than human beings” Another true cat lover!
130. Many Famous Authors Were Also Cat Lovers
When you hear names like Mark Twain, Ernest Hemmingway, Emily Brontë, T.S. Eliot, and Charles Dickens you probably think of major literary works…but you should also think of cats!
All these famous authors loved cats and that love is still apparent today! For example, the Earnest Hemmingway Museum in Key West, Florida is also home to between 40 and 50 polydactyl cats (those are cats with multiple toes).
This colony all started with a cat named Snowball and just goes to show what can happen when cats aren’t spayed or neutered!
T.S. Eliot wrote Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats which inspired the extremely popular Broadway musical Cats. The book features the famous poem “The Naming of Cats” which is required reading for any cat lover!
Charles Dickens is quoted as saying “What greater gift than the love of a cat.” Simple and to the point he was clearly a cat lover!
131. Scarlett the Cat Was An Amazing Feline Mom
You might want to get some tissues ready for this amazing story of Scarlett the cat. In 1993 Scarlett the cat and her five kittens were in an old garage when a fire suddenly started.
When first responders arrived they found Scarlett slowly saving her kittens by running into the burning building and pulling them out one-by-one. She was badly burned and her eyes were even blistered shut but Scarlett saved all her babies and then collapsed unconscious.
Scarlett was immediately taken to the North Shore Animal League where she and her kitten were treated. Scarlett and all her kittens survived and her heroic acts no doubt helped save many other cats and kittens by bringing more attention (and donations) to the shelter.
Scarlett’s and her kittens were adopted out and you can see the very cute Scarlett here:
132. Nikola Tesla’s Cat May Have Inspired His Interest In Electricity
It seems like cats are always finding a way to make an impactful appearance across just about every point in history and according Nikola Tesla his cat Macak is partially what inspired his lifelong pursuit to understand electricity.
Nikola Tesla designed the alternating-current electrical system and was a pioneer in the radar, x-ray and remote control technology. But it all started with his feline friend, Macak.
Tesla recounts that as a young child he was petting his cat and “saw a miracle that made me speechless with amazement. Macak’s back was a sheet of light and my hand produced a shower of sparks loud enough to be heard all over the house.”
When Tesla asked his father what this was all about he explained that it was simply electricity just as you’d see during a storm.
Naturally, Tesla wondered “Is nature a gigantic cat? If so, who strokes its back? It can only be God.”
While I do like the theory that nature is one giant cat and we’re just along for the ride it looks like Tesla didn’t pursue that theory!
And for those of you who are extra curious…Macak simply means “cat” when translated from Serbian! Not the most creative name!
133. The 99 Lives Cat Genome Sequencing Initiative Is Mapping The Feline Genome
Technology is rapidly advancing and scientists have been able to map the human genome which means we’ve got a better understanding of how our genes predispose us to certain diseases.
We also have a better understanding of what to do about it. But cats haven’t been left out of this!
Cinnamon the cat had her entire genome sequenced in 2007. But one cat alone isn’t enough data to make a major impact and The 99 Lives Cat Genome Sequencing Initiative is attempting to increase the number of data points they have!
So far, they’ve been able to sequence the genome for over 200 cats and they’re still going!
134. Just Like Humans, Cats Can Dream
There’s a good chance you’ve seen your cat completely asleep but twitching their paws or even making some noises while asleep just like a dreaming human might (well maybe not the paws part).
But for a long time, we didn’t know for sure whether or not animals dreamed the same way that we do. Eventually, scientists were able to monitor the brain waves of rats while awake and asleep and draw the conclusion they did indeed dream!
The big question remains though…what exactly are cats dreaming about? While we likely won’t ever know for sure it’s safe to say that just like us their brain is trying to make sense of the day!
Whew! That was a lot of feline facts and this article was an absolute blast to write even if all this research did take a lot longer than expected!
But my mission was simple: come up with the most comprehensive list of real, fact-checked feline facts on the internet. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much I enjoyed writing it! But if I missed a feline fact I want to know! Feel free to contact me and let me know if you think there’s a fact that should be included or just let me know what your favorite feline fact is!