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20 fun facts about cats (you didn’t even know!)

By Nick Whittle Author

Updated on the

Our special relationship with cats has been around for centuries. Nowadays they’re as much ‘man’s best friend’ as dogs are. Here are 20 fun facts about cats.

What would our world be like without cats? For starters there would be many more rats and mice. Yes, we’d still have dogs as well, but there’d be a big hole in our hearts too. OK, it’s no secret that our love affair with cats wavers from time to time (and is not shared the world over) but cats have a special place in the hearts of many.

Remember: ‘Time spent with cats is never wasted’.

Check out these 20 cool facts about cats

Cat fact #1

Cats are one of the most popular pets in the world. However, according to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association a cat’s popularity among UK residents lags behind a dog’s by a small margin. 26% of UK households own a dog and 18% of them own a cat.

Cat fact #2

There are over 500 million domestic cats in the world. The Egyptians worshipped cats as gods. The Great Sphinx of Giza is a statue of a lion with the head of a human. Today’s Sphynx cat is a breed of cat known for having no fur and webbed feet.

Cat fact #3

The ancient Egyptians may not have been the first to domesticate wild cats. Evidence of cats living among Neolithic peoples has been found (from about 7,500 BC). The majority of domestic cats today will have come from cat families of the Middle East.

Cat fact #4

Cats need to conserve energy. On average a cat will sleep for 13 hours. Kittens sleep for about 18 hours in every 24 hour period! (It’s even more important that kittens conserve their energy).

Cat fact #5

A cat cannot move his jaw from side to side as can herbivores and omnivores. The cat’s jaw and his teeth are designed for meat eating. Each tooth is sharp; even the molars at the back of his mouth have serrated edges. Perfect for tearing flesh!

Cat fact #6

A group of cats is sometimes called a clowder. A male cat is called a tom and a female cat is called a molly. Juvenile cats should be called cubs but are called kittens instead. A group of kittens is called a ‘kindle’.

Cat fact #7

Cats usually weigh around 5 kilos. Unlike dogs, cats have not been selectively bred for different functions and are therefore almost always the same size. A large cat would not be a popular choice of companion for someone who wants something cute to cuddle.

Cat fact #8

At the time of Meow’s death he was the world’s heaviest cat. He weighed 18 kilos. He died in 2012 after a short battle with lung disease. The shelter that was looking after him had tried to slim him down. Their efforts instead brought Meow notoriety and a world record breaking status.

Cat fact #9

Cats are born hunters. Look at the way a lioness stalks her prey; she creeps with such stealth that her prey isn’t even aware she is there until it’s too late. Cats haven’t lost this ability to creep up on smaller animals.

Cat fact #10

A cat that enjoys hunting is most active around dawn and dusk. His eyes can see in light six times darker than the light we need to see; that’s due to his having many more light sensitive ‘rods’ in the back of his eyeball. He also has a much wider field of view.

Cat fact #11

It’s a well-known fact that cats and dogs live their lives amid scents: of other animals, of prey, of mates and of us. A cat’s sense of smell is far stronger than ours and he even has an additional patch of nerves in the roof of his mouth for extra-refined smelling.

Cat fact #12

Older cats can get territorial when a new kitten arrives on the scene. This harks back to their ancestors: the lions. If a lion takes over a pride he will kill any of the cubs of the old pride to make way for his own. A domestic cat isn’t going to kill a kitten, but you may need to tread carefully.

Cat fact #13

All cats love to play. Cats in the wild play in order to hone their hunting and fighting skills. Domestic cats are doing the same thing. It just looks cuter.

Cat fact #14

Cats generally live until they are about 13 years old. Some may go sooner and some a little later. One cat has the title of being the oldest cat to have ever lived. Crème Puff lived in Austin in the USA and died when he was 38 years old.

Cat fact #15

Cats lick their fur but not always to clean themselves. Cats often lick their fur to make it wet in an effort to cool down. The saliva evaporates and brings the cat’s core temperature down a little. Cats also lick as a way to distribute more evenly the oil that is secreted from their fur.

Cat fact #16

Feral cats are often targeted by landowners because they pose a threat to native animals.

Cat fact #17

Some cats have extra toes. These cats are called ‘polydactyl’ cats, ‘mitten cats’ or ‘thumb cats’. Polydactyly is believed to have been brought over to the United States by the first Founding Fathers. Places of Pilgrim settlements along the Atlantic coast correlate with higher populations of ‘polydactyl’ cats.

Cat fact #18

Ear furnishings are the hairs inside a cat’s ear. Some cats are bred to accentuate their furnishings but for most they are a first line of defence: they prevent mites, fleas and dirt from reaching the ear canal and causing infections.

Cat fact #19

A cat’s nose is ridged and the pattern of the ridge is as unique as a human fingerprint.

Cat fact #20

It is said that Nikola Tesla - pioneer of the AC electric current - was inspired to research the subject of electricity after he received a static shock from his beloved childhood friend Macak: a stray black cat.

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