Cats are amazing, incredibly cute, and have the ability to distract you from any super important task you’re doing. But what makes them so exceptionally fantastic and special? It’s all about their affectionate and independent personality. Or perhaps it’s about the way they purr on our laps. Any excuse is a good one when it comes to worshiping a feline, especially if we’re talking about our own!
Bright Side has gathered 30 fascinating facts about one of humankind’s favorite pets ever.
1. Cats can make over 100 different vocal sounds.
In comparison, dogs are only capable of making 10. It’s hard to find a person who has never heard a cat’s meows and purrs, snorts, distressed calls, and little squeaks when they want something. They also have a kind of crackling sound that they produce when they see prey in the distance and a howl they use on any kind of occasion.
2. They’re able to recognize the voice of their owners.
Cats can distinguish between the voices of strangers and the voice of their owner. However, in their 9,000 years of evolution, they have always been free spirits and choose not to obey their masters, unlike dogs.
3. Although many cultures consider black cats to be a symbol of bad luck, they are much more loving than others.
In The Midlands of England, black cats are considered an excellent wedding gift. In France, it’s believed that having a cat of that color brings good luck. In Japan and other Asian countries, having a black cat makes you the master of your own fortune.
4. There are currently 44 breeds of cats registered in the world.
5. The first and only cat that went to space was named Félicette (or “Astrocat”), and it was from France.
It took off in 1963 and reached all the way to outer space. Felicette had electrodes implanted in its brain that sent signals to Earth. Fortunately, the cat came back safely from the trip.
6. They have more sensitive hearing than humans and dogs.
Humans can hear from a range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz, and dogs are able to capture up to 40 Hz, while cats hear frequencies up to 64 kHz.
7. Super velocity
In addition to their super hearing, cats can reach a 50 km per hour super-speed. Compare that to the fastest human in the world, Usain Bolt’s 45 km per hour!
8. Purring is one of the most basic things cats do.
However, scientists are still not sure how this works. Most veterinarians believe it has something to do with a severe vibration of the vocal cords. A muscle in the larynx opens and blocks the passage of air at a rate of 25 times per second.
9. Cats usually have 1 to 9 cubs in a litter.
In 1970, a Burmese-Siamese cat from Oxfordshire, United Kingdom gave birth to 19 kittens of which 15 survived. That gave her a Guinness World Record!
10. Cats have an interesting way of letting you know who’s boss.
If they leave their feces uncovered, they’re trying to show you who’s boss, especially if there are other cats at home. This comes from their wild ancestors who marked their territory and demonstrated their power over others in that way. Another “symptom” that indicates who’s in charge is their need to control all your movements.
11. The brain of a cat is much more like a human’s brain than a dog’s.
Felines’ brains have a surface fold and structure like ours do. It also has regions responsible for things very similar to those of humans.
12. The first cat, or its prehistoric relative, lived on Earth 30 million years ago.
It’s known as Proailurus lemanensis which means “the first feline” in Greek. The family of the domestic cat appeared 12 million years ago.
13. The biggest wild feline is the Siberian tiger.
The Siberian tiger can reach up to 3.7 m in length and weigh up to 318 kg. That’s basically the size of a small car! The largest pedigree of felines is the Maine Coon which boasts an impressive maximum weight of 11 kg, 2 times bigger than the average cat.
14. Cats hate water.
Cat’s don’t like water because their fur wasn’t made to protect them from it efficiently. However, there is a particular breed from Central Asia that enjoys swimming called the Turkish Van. Its coat has a special texture that makes it water resistant.
15. The oldest cat breed is the Egyptian Mau.
Their ancestors walked the planet more than 4,000 years ago. If you ever travel to Egypt the word “cat” is known as “mau” —not to be confused with “meow”!
16. Some people love cats so much that they can’t get enough.
This must be the reason why cats were the first commercially produced clones. We’re referring to a cat called Little Nicky, and its owner paid $50,000 for the process.
17. A group of cats
In English, there’s a special word to refer to a group of cats known as a “clowder”.
18. “Psychic trip”
We’ve all heard stories of cats finding their way home, even if they are miles from their owners. This talent is known as psychic travel. It’s believed that these animals have special cells magnetized in their brains that function as internal compasses, or that they can find their way using angles of sunlight.
19. They don’t meow at each other.
In fact, they can purr, growl, and hiss at other cats but only meow at people.
20. They can manipulate humans.
When cats need something from their owner, they adapt their meow sound to manipulate humans. Who would say no to a kitten when it sounds like a crying baby?
20,000 hairs per square centimeter are what make cats so adorable and fluffy.
22. Paw choice
Just like humans, cats can be right or left-handed. Most female cats are right-handed while males are usually left-handed.
23. The most successful mice hunter
Her name was Towser and she lived in Scotland where she bravely protected barley stores from rodents. Towser caught about 30,000 mice and a bronze commemorative statue was made in her honor when she left this world.
24. Rapid heart
The heart of a cat beats twice as fast as a human’s, from 110 to 140 beats per minute.
25. Super sensitive
Cats are super sensitive when it comes to capturing vibrations. Some of them can sense earthquakes 10 or 15 minutes before humans.
26. Temperature can affect a cat’s color.
In the 1930s, this was discovered in Siamese cats. This breed has albino genes that do magic when the temperature rises above 96.8°F(36°C). They often have dark areas on their legs, tails, ears, and face (the body’s extremities), while the rest of their fur remains creamy white. This also occurs in Himalayan cats and other Eastern breeds.
27. The first cat to appear in a cartoon was Felix in 1919.
The first cartoon cat was Felix the Cat. Tom, probably the most famous animated cat, became a star thanks to a short film called Puss Gets the Boot 21 years later. Cats, the greatest feline musical of all time, premiered in London in 1981.
28. A true traveler
Hamlet, a true traveler, is a kitten who escaped from his cage in the air and spent 7 weeks in an airplane, flying a total distance of more than 600,000 km.
29. A millionaire cat
Tommaso was a stray cat that asked for food on the streets of Rome until he met his future owner, Maria Assunta. Thankful for all the love that the cat gave her, the woman who had no children decided that Tommaso deserved to inherit her 13-million-dollar-fortune. As it was impossible to leave all this to an animal, Maria turned her nurse into the faithful guardian of the cat’s fortune.
30. Milk can be bad for cats.
If you think milk is the best reward you can give to your cat because it’s a natural product, you’re wrong. Like most adult mammals, felines can also be lactose intolerant.
Did you know these cat facts? Do you know any other interesting ones? We’d love to read them in the comment section!