Do you know everything about your cats?
Here are 25 curiosities about your four-legged friend that will surely make you see it differently.
Cats spend between 30-50 per cent of their day cleaning themselves.
This behaviour has several purposes: it helps cats to attenuate their scent so that they can avoid predators, cools them down, promotes blood flow and evenly distributes the natural oils around their coat, allowing them to stay warm and dry.
Grooming also serves as a sign of affection between two cats, and saliva is thought to contain enzymes that act as a natural antibiotic for wounds.
Purring does not always mean that the cat is happy.
Cats often purr when they are happy, but they also purr when they are sick, stressed, injured or giving birth.
Scientists are not sure why cats purr, but one hypothesis is that the frequency of purring sound – between 25 and 150 Hertz – “can improve bone density and promote healing,” Leslie A theorises. Lyons, an assistant professor at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis, in an article for Scientific American.
Because cats have adapted to conserve energy through long periods of rest and sleep, purring may be a low-energy mechanism that stimulates muscles and bones without much energy.
A cat’s nose is attracted to catnip.
Have you ever wondered why they are attracted to catnip?
Grass contains several chemical compounds, including one called nepetalactone, which a cat detects with receptors in the nose and mouth.
The compounds trigger the typical weird behaviour that you associate with kitten grass, including sniffing, shaking her head, rubbing her head and rolling around on the floor.
More than half the world’s cats, however, are not attracted to catnip. Scientists still don’t know why some kittens go crazy over aromatic grass and others don’t, but they have realised that the sensitivity of catnip is hereditary.
If a kitten has a catnip-sensitive parent, there is a one in two chance she will do so, and if both parents react to the grass, the chances increase to at least three in four.
Cats are great detectives.
Can’t afford a private detective? A cat might be able to do the job for free.
In the 1960s, Ambassador Henry Helb, who was living in the Dutch embassy in Moscow at the time, noticed that his two Siamese kittens were arching their backs and clawing one of the walls.
Helb had the feeling that the cats heard something he couldn’t and, for sure, he found 30 tiny microphones hidden behind the boards.
The richest cat is Grumpy Cat.
Tardar Sauce, better known under the name of Grumpy Cat, is an American cat famous for its pout, caused by a rare malformation known as feline dwarfism.
Its estimated assets are $99.5 million, mainly due to merchandising earnings.
If you love cats, you’re an Ailurophile.
Are you trying to elevate your vocabulary? Try using the word ailurophile in an informal conversation. It is an elaborate word for “cat lover”, and comes from the Greek word for cat, ailouros and the suffix -phile, which means “lover”.
In contrast, the word ailurophobe – a combination of ailouros plus phobe – describes someone who hates cats.
The first cat in space was french.
On 18th October 1963, French scientists used a rocket to launch the first cat into space.
The name of the feline was Félicette, and it was able to return alive to the ground after a descent with the parachute.
The most long-lived cat of te world was 38 years old.
Creme Puff (3 August 1967 – 6 August 2005) was an American cat who died at the age of 38 years and 3 days (168 human years). Currently she still holds the record of the longest living cat ever, according to the 2010 Guinness World Records recording.
Creme Puff lived with its owner, Jake Perry, in Austin, Texas, and also owned another cat, Granpa, who he claims was born in Paris in 1964 and died in 1998, at the age of 34 years and 2 months. Granpa was named Posthumously Cat of the Year in 1999 by the American magazine Cats & Kittens, and also recorded in the Guinness World Records. The co-authors of a book on domestic cats assumed that the alleged longevity of Perry’s cats could be attributed to his pets’ unusual diet of eggs and bacon, asparagus, broccoli and coffee with whipped cream, concluding that Perry “was doing the right thing”.
In Italy he is Pussy, a record-breaking cat, at 32 years of age. It was 1987 when she was born and appeared for the first time in the haystack of the Bernardini, farmers from Venturina Terme, in the Livornese area. Since then the cat has never left and even today, which is certainly no longer very young, she continues on her walks.
Cats may mark you as territory when they massage you.
Experts don’t understand why cats like to knead, but they have considered several possible explanations, one of which is that your kitten is trying to mark their ‘territory’ with the scented glands in their paws.
Because kittens knead their mummy’s tummy to stimulate milk production, there’s also the possibility that they may bring this behaviour into adulthood, a phenomenon known as “neotenic behaviour”.
The world’s largest painting of cats represents 42.
In 2015, an oil painting was classified as the “world’s largest cat painting” sold at auction for over $820,000.
It is called My Wife’s Lovers, represents 42 cats and once belonged to a wealthy philanthropist named Kate Birdsall Johnson.
She loved cats so much that she owned dozens (some even say hundreds) of kittens and commissioned a painter to capture her loved ones in their natural element.
Since Johnson’s husband called cats “my wife’s lovers”, the nickname was selected as the title of the work of art.
Cats do not always fall on their feet.
Contrary to popular belief, cats do not always land on their feet when they fall, but if most of the time, all four legs end up touching the ground.
Cats have a fantastic sense of balance, so they are able to distinguish ‘up’ from below and adapt their bodies accordingly.
If they feel that they are falling down, they rotate their flexible hind bones in mid-air, allowing them to straighten up so that they don’t fall to the ground on their backs.
In addition, cats can spread their legs by “parachute” through the air, and being covered in thick fur means that their fall won’t be as hard as, say, that of a dog.
Your cat may be allergic to you.
We usually think it’s the opposite, but even if you’re not allergic to cats, your cat may be allergic to you.
One in 200 cats is thought to have asthma, and this number continues to increase among indoor kittens as they are more frequently exposed to cigarette smoke, dust, human dandruff and pollen.
Japan has a cat who runs a railway station.
A railway station in south-east Japan is presided over by an adorable “stationmaster”: a calico cat over 7 years old named Nitama.
The Kishi railway station near Wakayama City took on Nitama in 2015, a few months after his previous feline mascot, Tama, died of acute heart failure at the age of 16.
The ancient egyptians adored cats.
The ancient Egyptians worshipped cats and even worshipped a half-feline goddess named Bastet.
People who injured or killed cats suffered harsh legal sentences, including the death penalty.
In some cultures black cats are considered bad luck.
This myth has persisted for centuries in western civilization.
Felines with dark fur for the first time were connected to the devil during the Middle Ages and when the Black Death Pandemic devastated Europe in the middle of the 14th century, superstitious individuals responded by killing the black cat population.
They did not know that the parasites were carriers of the deadly disease and that cats eating rodents actually helped to curb its spread.
And black cats eventually associated with witches because women accused of practicing black magic tended to adopt them as companions.
In Great Britain and Japan they are perceived as auspicious. In the English Midlands, new brides receive black cats to bless their marriage, and the Japanese believe that black cats are lucky, especially for single women.
The Germans believe that a black cat crossing your path from left to right is disturbing, but if the cat changes direction and goes from right to left, it will bring good luck.
Cats do not have the taste of sweet.
Cats do not have the taste buds to taste sweets.
The tongue of most mammals has taste receptors on the surface of their cells that can bind specific substances when eating. This binding activates a mechanism that allows a signal to be sent to the brain to “feel” the taste.
Among flavours (man can taste at least five), the sweet is felt thanks to a receptor formed by two coupled proteins. These proteins are produced by portions of DNA, called Tas1r2 and Tas1r3. The latter, however, does not work in cats (which is why it is called “pseudogenic”), so the receptor cannot do its job.
The first exhibition of cats was in 1871.
The first major world exhibition of cats was held at the Crystal Palace in London in July 1871. Hundreds of cats (and dozens of breeds) were exhibited, and it is said that about 200,000 guests attended the event.
Your cat has more bone than you.
A cat has 244 bones in its entire body, even more than a human being, who has only 206 bones.
Not all cats have fur.
Sphinx cats do not have fur, but their body temperature is still four degrees warmer than a typical feline.
Cats love boxes.
Why do cats love to cuddle in boxes? Animal experts think that enclosed spaces make cats feel more protected, safe and important, a bit like they are back in the womb.
Researchers have found that when cats in shelters are equipped with cuddle boxes, they adapt more quickly and are less stressed than kittens who are not given boxes. In addition, sleeping in a box could help a cat retain more body heat so it stays nice and toasty, and therefore relaxed.
The cat spends most of the time sleeping.
According to one estimate, a cat spends almost two thirds of its life asleep.
Disneyland has many cats.
About 200 wild cats roam the grounds of Disneyland, where they help control the rodent population of the amusement park.
They are all sterilized and the park staff provides them with medical care and extra food.
Cats are bad postmen.
In 1870, the city of Liège, Belgium, tried to train 37 cats to deliver mail.
The letters were enclosed in waterproof bags tied around the kittens’ necks, but it turns out that the cats were not good at delivering the goods on time (or to the correct address).
But perhaps we haven’t found the correct training method yet.
Quotes have a feline connection.
The Hungarian word for “quotes”, macskaköröm, literally translates as “cat’s claws”.
Cats are perfect jumpers.
Cats can jump up to five times their height and six times their length and make the whole thing simple.