93 Cat Facts To Help You Understand Those Aloof Weirdos

·14 min read

1.Exotics are the most popular breed in the US.

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2.In 2013, a cat ran for a mayor in Mexico.

3.Cats can't taste sweet things.

4.Cats can, however, distinguish flavors in water.

cat drinking from the tap
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5.The richest cat in the world inherited $12.5 million when its owner passed away.

6.Purring actually improves bone density and promotes healing within a cat. The purring frequency — 26 Hertz — apparently aides in tissue regeneration and can help stimulate the repair of weak and brittle bones.

close up of a cat being pet
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7.Many female cats are right-handed (right-pawed?) while many male cats favor their left paw.

8.A cat can jump about six times its own height.

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9.Adult cats don’t release any particular key hormones during sleep. They just snooze all day because they can.

The fact that cats don't have duvets is only of small comfort here.

10.Of all its senses, a cat's strongest is its hearing. They hear about four times as well as a human.

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11.Cats are better at problem solving than dogs.

12.And they have a better capacity for visual learning than dogs as well.

13.Cats can change their meow depending on the situation, such as when they're demanding to be fed.

cat eating
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14.If they exerted themselves, cats could run faster than Usain Bolt, the fastest living human.

15.Cats cover their waste in sand or litter as a sign of subservience to humans. If they don't cover up their waste, it's like they're saying, "I'm not afraid of you, human."

cat in the litter box
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16.Cats can rotate their ears 180 degrees.

17.They can also move each ear independently.

18.Cats have a distinct pattern on their nose, like a human fingerprint.

close up of a cat's nose
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19.Cats have a third eyelid called a “haw.” It’s generally only visible when they’re unwell.

20.Black cats may be a bad omen in the US, but in other countries, such as England and Japan, they're a sign of good luck.

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21.Cats can drink seawater.

Unlike humans, cats have kidneys that can filter out salt and use the water content to hydrate their bodies. (Yes, I know seawater doesn't come out of the toilet.)

22.Some cats have thumbs.

Apparently, these aren't "true" thumbs, but just extra toes.

23.The furry tufts on the inside of cats’ ears are called “ear furnishings.”

They insulate the ear, and help filter out direct sounds and debris.

24.Cats can hear dolphins. Theoretically.

Cats can hear the ultrasonic noises that rodents (and dolphins) make to communicate.

25.Cats can’t see directly below their noses. That’s why they miss food that’s right in front of them.

26.Kittens start to dream when they’re about a week old.

27.Kittens sleep a lot because their bodies release a growth hormone only when they’re asleep.

28.But cats don't just purr when they're content, they also purr when they're under duress, or when they're injured.

cat sitting and looking up
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29.Cats sleep around 70 percent of their lives away. In comparison, humans sleep around 30 percent of the time. In fact, cats sleep so much that, by the time a cat is nine years old, it will only have been awake for three years of its life.

How amazing does that sound?

30.By neutering a cat, you add about two to three years to its life.

31.The oldest breed of cat is the Egyptian Mau. "Mau" actually just means "cat" in Egypt.

cat crouching down
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32.A female cat is called a “molly” or a “queen.”

33.Male cats are called “toms.”

34.Cats' homing instinct may be due to magnets in their BRAINS.

Cats find their way home through a process called "psi-travelling" — experts think they navigate via the angle of sunlight, or that they have magnetised brain cells that act like compasses.

35.The first known cat video was recorded in 1894.

Turns out our fascination with capturing adorable kitty videos predates the internet by over a hundred years.

Turns out our fascination with capturing adorable kitty videos predates the internet by over a hundred years.

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36.Cats may have evolved their “tone of voice” to communicate with humans.

Cats' natural vocal range would be inaudible to humans, but they communicate feelings such as affection, hunger, and fear within the range of human hearing. Some researchers believe that this is learned behaviour to help cats to relate to humans.

37.The more you talk to your cat, the more it will talk to you.

If you chat to your cat, it will increasingly chirrup and meow at you.

38.In fact, cats can make over 100 vocal sounds.

Dogs can only make 10.

39.Cats can be toilet-trained.

Yes, you read that right. Cats can be toilet-trained! Talk about low maintenance. Of course it's a process and takes patience but I definitely respect it. 

Yes, you read that right. Cats can be toilet-trained! Talk about low maintenance. Of course it's a process and takes patience but I definitely respect it.

Tanyasid / Getty Images/iStockphoto

40.There are about 13.5 million more cat owners than dog owners in America.

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According to the 2007 National Pet Owners Survey, 88.3 million people own cats in the United States and 74.8 million people own dogs. Cats are the second most popular pet, right after freshwater fish — which are owned by 142 million people in America!

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41.Cats purr at a frequency between 25 and 150 Hertz.

42.Nikola Tesla was inspired to investigate electricity after his cat, Macak, gave him a static shock.

43.Studies originally suggest that domesticated cats first appeared around 3600 B.C.

But recent genetic and archaeological discoveries indicate that cat domestication began in the Fertile Crescent, perhaps around 10,000 years ago

But recent genetic and archaeological discoveries indicate that cat domestication began in the Fertile Crescent, perhaps around 10,000 years ago

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44.Isaac Newton invented the cat flap after his own cat, Spithead, kept opening the door and spoiling his light experiments.

45.White cats are actually prone to deafness. Not ALL white cats are deaf, but according to a Cornell University study, between 65 to 85 percent of white cats that have blue eyes are hearing impaired.

46.Cats have approximately 32 ear muscles.

cat getting up from the couch

Some cat owners say that they can tell when something is wrong with their cat based on the position of their ears. Since cats have 32 ear muscles, they can change them during certain situations. For example, when a cat's ears are flat against its head it could be a sign that they’re uncomfortable and scared.

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47.Your average house cat's genetic roots can be found in the Middle East. In a 2007 study, researchers found that house cats shared the majority of their DNA with wildcats found in Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.

48.If you live alone with your cat, beware — if you die in your apartment alone, your cat will probably try to eat you. According to NYC medical examiner Judy Melinek, in her book, Working Stiff, "Your faithful golden retriever might sit next to your dead body for days, starving, but the tabby won’t. Your pet cat will eat you right away, with no qualms at all. I’ve seen the result.”

OOF.

49.There's a cat that actually has a master's degree! His name is Colby Nolan, and his name was used in an investigation into bogus degree-granting practices at Trinity Southern University and several other universities in 2004.

Colby was granted an MBA after the university claimed that cat had a 3.5 GPA. Impressive.

50.Just like dogs, cats sweat through their paws.

cat smiling

Cats only have sweat glands in a few hairless areas on their bodies, like their paws, lips, chin, etc. When a cat is too hot, their brain sends a message to the glands to start sweating.

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51.Speaking of, no one REALLY KNOWS exactly how cats purr. Scientists know it involves the larynx and diaphragm muscles but they're not sure exactly how those muscles work together to create such a cool sensation.

SO MYSTERIOUS!

52.There's a cat that lives at a nursing home in Rhode Island who's "predicted" the death of more than 25 patients there. Nurses at the nursing home noticed that the cat, named Oscar, tends to show a ton of affection and care to people who are on the verge of dying — and there's actually some scientific basis for the cat's weird skill.

Apparently a dying body gives off a scent that cats are particularly sensitive to.

53.During their lifetime, the average house cat spends about 10,950 hours purring.

a cat with an excited look on its face

Cats purr as a form of communication, typically in positive social situations such as nursing, grooming, and relaxing.

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54.Declawing a cat is actually akin to amputating a limb. "To declaw a cat," explain veterinarians, "you amputate each toe at the first knuckle, taking off bone along with tendons and the claw."

This is why certain states — including New York — have outlawed it.

55.It was considered a capital offense to kill a cat in ancient Egypt.

A story recounted by the historian Herodotus claimed that Persians knew how much cats were revered by the Egyptians and so they released a bunch of cats onto a battlefield. The Egyptians allegedly surrendered against the Persians rather than risk killing a cat in battle.

56.Cats use their whiskers to determine if they can fit in a certain space.

a cat in the grass
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57.The ancient Egyptians would go into an intense period of mourning when one of their cats died. Their mourning rituals included shaving their eyebrows in grief.

58.The world's largest domestic cat is a Maine Coon cat named Stewie, who measures an astounding 48.5 inches long.

59.In 1837, Belgium hired 37 cats as mail carriers. Not surprisingly, it DID NOT WORK.

60.Abraham Lincoln loved cats so much that he would regularly feed his cats Tabby and Dixie at the dinner table. He reportedly told his wife Mary Todd, "If the gold fork was good enough for former President James Buchanan, I think it is good enough for Tabby.”

61.Cats may be able to detect earthquake tremors 10 or 15 minutes before humans can.

Although no one knows for sure, theories suggest that animals — like domestic cats — can feel the Earth vibrate before humans can. There have been other theories that say they can sense electrical changes in the air or gas released from the Earth.

62.There's an orange tabby named Stubbs who's been the mayor of the town of Talkeetna, Alaska for the past 20 years.

63.The world's oldest cat is Creme Puff, who passed away at a ripe old age of 38 years.

64.When a cat rubs its cheeks or whiskers on you, they're marking you with their scent. It's a sign of affection, and your cat is essentially claiming you as its own.

cat rubbing on someone's leg
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65.Have you ever noticed your cat going crazy for olives? That's because olives have a similar chemical compound in them to catnip.

66.Is your cat ignoring you on purpose? Probably. A Japanese study found that cats are actually capable of recognizing their owners' voices — they just actively choose to ignore what the owner is saying.

67.Cats have scent glands in their paws. They use kneading and scratching in order to mark their territory.

68.A cat’s heart beats nearly twice as fast as a human's heart.

cat with its eyes widened

The normal heart rate for a cat is 140 to 220 beats per minute. To take your cat's heart rate, simply put your hand over your cat’s left side, behind the front leg, so you can feel their heart pulsing with your fingers. Then, count how many beats you feel in 15 seconds. Multiply that number by four to get your cat's total beats per minute.

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69.If you're a cat owner you're apparently 40 percent less likely to have a heart attack. A ten-year study from the University of Minnesota Stroke Center found that people who owned cats were also 30 percent less likely to have strokes.

70.Calico cats are nearly always female.

71.And orange cats are usually male.

72.Nicolas Cage's cat once accidentally ate a bunch of the actor's hallucinogenic mushrooms, so Cage decided the two would trip together.

"I remember lying on my bed for hours and [the cat] was on the desk across my bed and we just stared at each other for hours — not moving, just staring at each other, and I had no doubt that he was my brother," he told David Letterman in 2010.

73.Cats don't have collarbones, meaning they can fit through openings as small as their heads.

cat hanging on a couch

Cats have free-floating clavicle bones that allow them to squeeze their bodies through teeny-tiny spaces.

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74.The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, "employs" 70 stray cats that are tasked with controlling the mice population and preventing them from chewing on the artwork. The cats even have their own "Press Secretary to the Cats" (unofficial position, but you know).

75.Cats actually CAN be loyal. A cat named Toldo was renowned in the village of Montagnana, Italy, for visiting his owner's grave every day for a year after he died.

76.There is a cat named Unsinkable Sam who was on board THREE different ships that sank during WWII and managed to survive all three disasters. The cat actually started out on the German side but ended up on the British side!

77.Cats can spend as much as half of their waking life grooming themselves.

Pure white cat sleeping on white bedding

Pure white cat sleeping on white bedding

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78.Ironically, most cats are actually lactose intolerant so step awayyyy from the milk bowl.

79.The largest recorded litter of cats ever birthed was 19 kittens. Most litters are just four to six kittens.

4 newborn kittens
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80.Morbid: The phrase "It's raining cats and dogs" comes from the fact that in 17th century England the heavy rains used to carry along dead animals in their wake.

81.When cats are absolutely desperate for our attention, they'll use a special purr that mimics the tone of a baby crying.

SO MANIPULATIVE.

82.A cat can have up to100 kittens in her lifetime.

83.Cats prefer to be petted on their face, especially around their mouths. They actually dislike being stroked around their tails.

cat licking its paw
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84.That thing your cat does when it head butts you? It's actually called "bunting."

85.And a lot of cats have fallen over 32 stories high and survived with minimal injuries.

cat laying down

When cats fall from heights greater than seven stories, they land on their bellies instead of landing on their feet. When falling from really high, a cat falls faster and faster under gravity until they eventually hit constant terminal velocity. The cat is then in a free-fall state and doesn't feel the gravity pulling them down, and they position their legs out like a parachuter, allowing for a softer landing.

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86.Cats are responsible for the decimation of 33 different animal species. And they kill around 2.4 million birds a year.

87.It turns out cats aren't exactly nocturnal. They're considered "crepuscular," which means they typically have a schedule where they're most active at the same dawn and dusk hours. Often those hours don't correspond with YOUR favorite waking hours (does your cat ALSO like to wake up at 5 a.m.? It's pretty great, right?)

88.Similarly, cats crave cardboard boxes because the box keeps them warm and reminds them of the small crevices and hiding spots they might have crept into in the wild.

89.Fur color changes in Siamese kittens depends on their body temperature.

cat staring into the camera

Siamese cats carry albino genes that work at a body temperature above 98° F. This means if kittens are left in a very warm room, they will stay blonde all over over and won't develop the darker brown fur in their face, paws, ears, etc.

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90.Ever notice that your cat runs around a bunch after using the litter box? That's because they're instinctually trying to confuse potential predators who smell their poop.

91.When cats are flexing their paws, aka making biscuits, they're doing so out of a reflex they developed as kittens to help get their mother's milk going from the nipple while they're suckling.

92.A cat’s brain is more similar to a human brain than to a dog brain.

close up of a hairless cat

A cat's brain structure is 90% similar to a human brain. They also have cerebral cortices with lobes similar to a human's.

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93.Cats are cute.

kitten with a mouth open in an expression of happiness

The end.

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This article contains content from Kyla Ryan, Chelsea Marshall, Robyn Wilder, brookscendra, Julie Gerstein, and Krista Torres. It was compiled by Laura Frustaci.