Last Updated on February 5, 2022
Cats are amazing creatures that we still have not completely understood, even today. The more we observe these beautiful bean dagger having ninjas, the more we learn some pretty cool things. Did you know cats have a dominant paw like humans have a dominant hand? Or that meowing was a learned trait inherited through semi-domestication? Here are 10 amazing cat facts you may not have known!
1. CATS SPEND 2/3 OF EVERY DAY SLEEPING
For the average house cat, 15 hours of sleep is normal. Some will sleep as many as 20 hours per day depending on age, breed, and activity level. Why do cats sleep so much? In the wild, a cat will be most active dusk to early night hours when their ideal prey is most active or easiest to catch. This minimizes their risk of competing with other wild animals as well. Most will only be eating one big meal a day while picking at things like insects and other items throughout the daytime. Because of this, they spend a good portion of their day napping, sunbathing, and relaxing to keep their metabolism lowered. Domesticated cats are not much different. While they will time their sleeping habits around their food schedule, many will be most active in the late evening hours. Their sleeping habits can change depending on weather and seasonal changes. Do you think your cat is sleeping too much?
2. CATS HAVE A DOMINANT PAW
Similar to humans having a dominant hand, cats are also either “left-handed” or “right-handed”. What is amazing is that most female cats are typically right-pawed whereas male cats are typically left-pawed. With humans, 90% of us are right-handed and the remaining 10% are mostly men who are left-handed. The reason behind this is not well known or understood. It is believed to be down to male cats interpreting their mother’s actions by mirroring them whereas females will do exactly as the mother does. This would explain why a majority of males are lefties and a majority of females are righties.
3. CATS HAVE SIMILAR EMOTIONAL BRAIN PATTERNS TO HUMANS
Many people believe that dogs share similar brain patterns to that of humans when it comes to emotion. Amazingly enough, it is a feline’s brain that is more emotionally similar than that of a dog’s brain. Both humans and cats have very similar regions in the brain that are primarily responsible for emotions. This is believed to be the reason why cats will hold grudges longer and have a harder time forgetting when something bad has happened to them. Because of this, you need to work harder to earn and maintain trust with a cat whereas a dog is more passive and forgiving. If something has scared a cat before reaching adulthood, they are very likely to keep that fear for the rest of their lives.
4. CATS BITE OVER 400,000 PEOPLE PER YEAR
There are approximately 400,000 cases of cat bites each year in the US compared to the 4.5 million dogs bites reported annually. It is believed that the numbers are much higher but because the severity of a dog bite tends to be much worse, it is reported at much higher rates. Cat bites will typically occur when a person is backing a cat into a corner or the cat is feeling threatened. While they will mostly use their claws, if they are desperate enough they will use their teeth to get out of a scary situation. It is never a good idea to approach a cat you don’t know with an open hand. Even domesticated cats who are allowed to free roam can be startled enough to bite a stranger.
5. CATS CAN SURVIVE FALLS FROM GREAT HEIGHTS
Something that has always fascinated people was the ability of a cat to survive falls from great heights with little or no damage done to its body. How is this possible? Cats have what is called a “righting reflex”. This is the ability that allows a cat to know which direction is up and which is down at all times. This allows them to quickly shift, twist, and roll their body mid-air to land upright on their feet using their tail as a balancing rod. This maneuver also slows the fall just enough to make the impact less stressful on the paws, legs, and joints. There have been cats who have survived up to a 65 foot drop, now that is impressive. For centuries, the only way people could explain this was through the belief that cats had 9 lives.
6. CATS USE SCENT GLANDS TO CLAIM OWNERSHIP
While it is a form of affection, cats will rub their bodies and faces up against each other and on humans as a way to claim them as their own. Not only does this show you that a cat cares for you, but that you are considered to be part of their family. Cats have scent glands in their face, paws, and hindquarters which allows them to leave their scent on whatever they want to claim ownership over. While we can’t smell these scents, other cats and many animals can. You will notice them doing this on objects as well. This allows them to not only claim their territory but create a scent map of their surroundings.
7. A CAT’S EYESIGHT IS NOT PERFECT
Cats have amazingly awful eyesight! That may sound silly to say but it is true. Cats have the ability to see in dimly lit, almost dark areas thanks to their reflective vision. While this allows their eyes to bounce light off surrounding objects to make things brighter, if there is no light at all, they will not be able to see in the dark. A cat’s eyesight is also limited by distance. While they can see very well when it comes to far distances, up close is another story. Cats are actually farsighted which means objects closer to their eyes will appear blurry. Making matters worse, they only have a set range of colors they can see in so being confused by certain objects and shapes can be an issue for them.
8. A CAT’S MEOW IS A LEARNED
It is very rare to find a cat that has not been in the company of humans to use a meow to vocalize its wants or needs. Cats will pick up this habit from being around humans and mimicking them. Thanks to our companionship, cats have learned to make 13 different types of sounds. They hear us communicating with each other and see the verbal cues being rewarded, so they do the same. While kittens will meow, purr, and make chatter with their mother, once they reach their teen years and head out on their own, it is all snarls and hisses from there. Cats will use their tail, eye contact, hissing, and spitting to communicate in the wild (away from humans). Only with the companionship of humans do cats learn to keep their meow as a way to communicate with us, other cats, and even other animals.
9. CATS HAVE UNIQUE NOSE PRINTS
One feature we all possess as humans are having our own unique fingerprints which identify us as unique individuals different from everyone else. Did you know cats have their own as well? Similar to a human fingerprint, cats have a very distinctive pattern of ridges on the surface of their nose. Many other mammals share this characteristic, such as dogs.
10. Cats are only semi-domesticated
Unlike dogs who have been bred and successfully classified as domesticated creatures, cats are not quite the same. No matter how domestic you think your cat is, it will still retain its wild instincts. So-called “domesticated house cats” are truly only semi-domesticated at best. While there are some breeds that will produce more domesticated and gentle personalities such as the Ragdoll, most cat breeds and mixed cats are still very wild inside. Understanding this, you can see why it is never a good idea to try to raise and keep larger cats without professional experience in knowing how to train, feed, and interact with them.
Did you learn something new today? If you know of any other amazing cat facts, tell us about them in the comments!