Despite their adorable faces and super soft fur, cats are mysterious and aloof little creatures. Have you ever wondered what that (seemingly contented) purr really means? We wanted to know more about our curious feline friends, so we’ve found 17 awesome facts about cats to share with you.
1. Thanks to over 20 muscles that control their ears, cats have excellent hearing, but they’re much better at figuring out the source of the sound if they aren’t moving. This is why they’ll often stop, freeze and listen.
2. Although he acts too cool to care, your cat can and does recognise your voice. Little tease.
3. A group of kittens born to one cat is called a kindle.
4. Cats leave their faeces uncovered as a sign of aggression, and as a way of marking their territory.
5. Your cat might not seem particularly possessive, but cats are territorial by nature, and will rub themselves on people and objects in order to leave their personal scent behind.
6. Cats can detect smells even if they are diluted to one part per million.
7. Cats are about the only mammals who cannot taste sweetness or spices – only pure meat will do for these little carnivores.
8. You’ve probably noticed your cat doing one of four things throughout the day: eating, grooming, playing, and sleeping. Turns out, cats spend about 30 to 50 percent of the day grooming, which serves a number of purposes. It cools them down, promotes blood flow and distributes natural oils in their fur so they can stay warm and dry. Grooming is also done to rid their fur of other scents (like yours, smelly human).
9. When they’re not grooming, eating or playing, cats are sleeping. It’s called a cat nap for a reason – cats are one of the top-sleeping animals in the world because their cousins use a lot of energy to hunt in the wild.
10. A cat can jump up to six times its length. Thanks to powerful muscles in their back legs and a tail that helps with balance, these nimble felines have no problem jumping onto tabletops or on top of the fridge.
11. Cats and humans are more alike than you realise. The part of our brains that deals with emotion is strikingly similar to a cat’s. Plus, they have long and short-term memory.
12. We’ve all watched enough cartoons to know that cats love milk, right? Wrong. Cats are actually lactose intolerant, which means they have trouble digesting lactose, leading to an upset stomach and diarrhoea.
13. Don’t change your cat’s routine. When cats experience an unusual event, like a change in schedule, caretaker, or location, they can start acting sick – refusing to eat, and or vomiting.
14. In ancient Egypt, cats were mythic symbols of divinity and if a cat died, it was given an elaborate memorial. This included mummifying the cat and burying it in either a family tomb or pet cemetery.
15. Despite her mysterious demeanour, your cat is actually a master communicator. In fact, cats can make a hundred different sounds, including the hiss, meow, purr, caterwaul, and variations of each. Cats can also communicate through body language, biting, scent signals, and other interactions, whereas dogs can only make about 10 distinct sounds.
16. It’s official – cats are smarter than us. The ‘meow’ was a sound developed by these cunning creatures to communicate with (and manipulate) humans. A cat can even imitate a human baby when it wants food.
17. Despite what you may think, your cat’s purr doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s happy. Cats also purr when they’re stressed, sick, injured, or while giving birth.
It’s obvious that these wonderful pets are more intriguing than we thought, so the next time your cat does something ‘normal’, think twice about what he or she may be telling you.
Compiled by Food and Decor Editor, Claire Badenhorst