Cats, along with dogs, are the most popular pet in the world. And it’s no wonder – these adorable, cuddly creatures are great at winning over our hearts. But even if we think we know them in detail, there are some things about cats that are not so widely known.
I have compiled a list of 12 facts about cats that many people might not know yet. You will be able to understand your cat and their behavior better by knowing some of these things.
1. Cats don’t have a sweet tooth
While us humans enjoy every bit of sweet candy, cats aren’t really interested in eating sweets because they can’t taste sweet. In their natural habitat, cats would eat meat and only meat. But today’s cat food often contains corn and other grains with a bunch of carbohydrates, which is why feline diabetes is so common.
2. Most cats are lactose intolerant
Even though cats and milk may seem like the perfect combination, it is most often not. Most cats lose their ability to break down the sugar in milk after they stop being nursed by their mom. In other words, they become lactose intolerant. That is why milk and dairy products are not something you should feed your cat to every day.
3. Cats have a blind spot under their noses and chins
If your cat doesn’t always notice a treat that is right under its nose, this is the reason! Cats are great at catching motions and often see movements that we can’t notice, but when it comes to seeing things right in front of their noses, they are not that good at it.
4. Spaying and neutering may prolong cat’s lifespan
Banfield Pet Hospital, the world’s largest veterinary practice has found some interesting facts about pet’s lifespan. According to their State of Pet Health 2013 Report, the lifespan of pets has increased from 10 years ago. Lifespan in 2012 was 20% longer than lifespan in 2002, which adds 1 year to a cat’s life. Hooray to that! They also found that spay and neuter may contribute to a longer lifespan. You can find more about it in their research linked above.
5. Kittens are growing while they sleep
When kittens are born, they sleep most of the day because only then is when the growth hormone is released. When cats turn 1, they are pretty much finished growing. A 1-year-old cat is like a 21-year-old human, and each additional year of life is like 4 human years.
6. Cats spend most of their lives sleeping
Cats really like to sleep in (well who doesn’t?). They sleep approximately 12-16 hours a day which makes 2/3’s of their lives! So, an adult 12-year-old cat will have spent 8 years of its life sleeping! They mostly like to be awake and active at dusk and dawn.
7. Cat’s whiskers have a big purpose
Many people assume that a cat’s whiskers are just ordinary hair. But that is far from the truth. Those pointy little thingies are actually touch receptors. They help the cat navigate and without them, the cat would be disoriented and scared. Whiskers also help cats judge if they can fit through an opening since they are as wide as their body.
8. Cats have sandpaper-like tongues
Their sandpaper-like tongues are responsible for good grooming sessions cats give themselves and other cats every day. Cats love to clean themselves and their tongues are designed to give them the best grooming experience and to clean themselves in detail.
9. Cats can make over 100 vocal sounds
While dogs are able to make only 10 vocal sounds, cats can make over 100! Those 100 different vocal sounds include a variety of meows, purrs and growls. I just wish we could interpret what each sound means!
10. Cat’s sense of smell is 14 times better than humans’
Cat rely on their sense of smell to locate the food, find a mating partner or to warn danger. My cat, for example, can immediately smell if I petted a random dog at the street. She starts sniffing my hand and looking at me all funny, like she is disappointed at me 🙂
Because of the cat’s strong sense of smell, you should be extra cautious in using essential oils and perfumes in front of your cat.
11. Cats can drink sea water
Cats have highly efficient kidneys that easily filter out the salt from the sea water. So, unlike humans, cats can stay hydrated from drinking sea water! But, of course, this doesn’t mean you should give sea water to your cats. Fresh water is always the best choice.
12. Extra toes are genetic
If a polydactyl cat (a cat with extra toes) and non-polydactyl cat have babies, there is 40-50% chance kittens will have extra toes too.
Polydactyly is a genetic mutation (adorable one I must say) and it is not harmful to the cat. Most polydactyl cats have one extra toe on each front paw, but they can have an extra toe on the back paws too. In some cases, cats can have up to 7 toes on each paw!
Well, I hope you learned something new about cats and that it will help you understand these cute creatures a little bit better! If you have an interesting cat fact to add, do tell us in the comments!
Monika is a huge animal lover, currently having two cats in her life. She is the owner of a pet blog called Animallama where she writes about pet care, pet tips and advice.