20 Amazing Facts You Never Knew About Your Cat

Here's what that purr really means.

20 Amazing Facts You Never Knew About Your Cat

If you ever thought your cat was a sly, complicated creature that seems to be keeping a secret or two from you…. Well… You’d be right. In fact, we’ve counted at least 20 amazing facts about your favorite feline friend that you never knew about. So read on, and learn what that purr really means. And if you’re a dog lover, don’t miss these 20 amazing facts about your dog.

female cats are usually right pawed

Female Cats Are Usually Right-Pawed

After testing 42 cats—21 male and 21 female—psychologists D. Wells and S. Millsopp of Queen’s University Belfast determined that cat’s dominant paw is correlated with gender. For the record: Female cats? Right-pawed.

cats have complex muscles in their ears

Cats Have Over 20 Muscles That Control Their Ears

Cats can hear even the slightest rustle because they have over 20 muscles that control the exterior part of their ear. Also, a cat can figure out the source of the sound more accurately when it’s not moving—which explains why it often stops and listens, utterly frozen.

cats sleep 70% of their lives

Cats Sleep 70% of Their Lives

Domestic cats do mostly one of four things: sleep, eat, run, or play. It turns out, sleeping takes up more time than the other three activities combined. Cats are among the top-sleeping in the animal world because in the wild they must use a lot of energy to hunt.

cats can't taste sweetness

Cats Can’t Taste Sweetness

Cats are only interested in meat and are not tempted with sugar or spices. They lack the ability to taste sweetness—unlike just about any other mammal.

cats can help reduce stress and heart disease

Having a Cat Can Reduce Your Risk of Heart Attack or Stroke by a Third

Having a cat helps release stress and anxiety, which is known to lower blood pressure and protect against heart problems.

a purr is a sign of good healing

A Purr is a Sign of “Self Healing

The purr is often translated as a sign of contentment, but it may be more complex than that. Not all purring is related to pleasure—in some cases it reflects pain or nervousness. And some experts believe it’s a sign that their muscles and bones are recovering.

cats like milk but are often lactose intolerant

Cats Are Often Lactose Intolerant

Even though most cats love milk, it doesn’t mean that milk loves them back. Cats have trouble digesting lactose, which can upset their stomachs and lead to diarrhea.

raw fish isn't very good for cats

Raw Fish Can Be Bad for Cats

Another delicacy cartoons would have you believe cats love is raw fish, which may actually be bad for them. Uncooked fish can contain bacteria that are harmful to cats and can cause food poisoning. Also, an enzyme in raw fish destroys thiamine, an essential B vitamin, which can lead to neurological problems.

cats can make over 100 sounds

Cats Can Make Over 100 Different Sounds

There’s the hiss, the meow, the purr, and (when in heat) the caterwaul—and dozens of variations of each. In comparison, dogs can make only 10 distinct noises. Cats can also communicate through body language, biting, scent signals, and interactions.

cats have similar emotional centers in their brains

Cats and Humans Have Similar Emotion Centers in the Brain

You have more in common with your cat than you may realize. Both human and cat brains are composed of gray and white matter, and cats tend to think in the same pattern as humans and, like us, have a long- and short-term memory.

cats are likely smarter than cats

Cats Are Likely Smarter Than Dogs

The cerebral cortex of cats—the part of the brain that is responsible for cognitive information processing— is much more complex in felines than in canines. It also contains twice as many neurons as dogs. Additionally, cats have proven to be better at complex problem-solving than their rival pet.

cats can jump surprisingly far and high up into the air

A Cat Can Jump Six Times Its Length

Cats have powerful muscles in their back legs that help them leap far (fun fact: they use their tail for balance). That is why they have no problem jumping on tabletops and even in some case to the top of the refrigerator.

cats leaving their poop uncovered is a sign of aggression

When Cats Leave Their Poop Uncovered It’s a Sign of Aggression

Cats are territorial by nature and use urine and other signals to demonstrate dominance or a higher position on the hierarchy. In colonies, subordinate cats cover their poop, while dominant cats leave feces uncovered.

cats sweat from their paws

Cats Sweat Through Their Foot Pads

Like dogs, sweat glands are only found on cats’ paws. You can often find wet spots from their paws when they are sweating in the hot months. But more often when they are hot, cats look for a cool place to lay down.

cats noses are highly sensitive organs

A Cat’s Nose is Unique

Cats’ noses are rigged with unique patterns just like the fingerprints of people.

cats often lick themselves to rid themselves of human scents

Cats Lick Themselves to Get Your Scent Off

Cats can detect odors even if they are diluted to one part per million. Cats rub to other cats and people to pass their scent and collect yours. When they are licking themselves they are carefully removing your scent from their fur—nothing personal.

cats can see better at night in the dark

Cats See Better Than Humans at Night

Cats have a high number of rods in their retina that are very sensitive to dim light. So they can see using about one-sixth of the light humans need in order to see. But it comes with drawbacks: they cannot see finer details or rich color.

cats often rub up on people out of affection

Cats Rub Against People to Mark Their Territory

When they rub themselves on a person or object, cats leave their own personal scent behind. That way they tell other cats that they have been here and you are in their territory.

cats hate changes to their daily routine

Changes in Routine Make Cats Ill

When cats experience an unusual event, like a change in feeding schedule, caretaker, or location, they can start acting sick. They can vomit or refuse to eat. Cats love their routine and any disruption can lead to lethargy and unusual behavior.

cats use their whiskers to navigate tight spaces

Cats Use Their Whiskers in Crazy Ways

A cat’s whiskers are covered in nerve cells and blood vessels helping it detect any change around it. They span about the width of its body, so cats use them to detect if they can fit into a space.

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