Soft, furry, friendly (most of the time), quick, and deadly predators. The domestic cat is not only popular (the most popular pet in North America) but also a secretive hunter that has taken a huge toll on suburban wildlife. On the popular side, cat ownership outnumbers dog ownership by and large. There are 88 million known pet felines to 74 million canines. The down side is that cats have a very strong predatory instinct. This instinct causes the deaths of approximately 24+ billion wild animals each year! This is a combination of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and rodentia. This makes them the most successful predator in North America.
First the Stats…
Scientific name: Felidae
Weight: Up to 10 lbs.
Length: Up to 18 inches, plus their 12 inch long tail
Lifespan: Up to 20 years
Now on to the Facts!
1.) When it comes to development, the first year of a cat’s life is equal to the first 15 years of a human’s. After its 2nd year, a cat is 25 in human years. After that, each 1 year of a cat’s life is equal to approximately 7 human years.
2.) Cats can be allergic to you. They can become allergic to human dander, dust, second hand smoke, and more.
3.) In rare instances, humans have even transmitted illnesses like the flu to their cats. Typically speaking, a human’s flu virus is not zoonotic.
4.) Domestic felines spend about 70% of their day asleep. They also spend up to 15% of the day grooming themselves, or each other; if you have multiple cats.
5.) Cats are able to rotate their ears a full 180°.
But wait, there’s more on the domestic cat!
6.) Domestic cats don’t inherently meow. They have evolved this vocal communication to converse with humans.
7.) It is estimated that domestic cats spend up to 1/3 of their lives killing smaller creatures.
Did you know…?
It was documented that a cat fell from 32 stories, onto concrete, and survived! That’s approximately 340+ feet!
8.) A group of cats is known as a “clowder”.
9.) Catnip, aka Nepeta cataria, doesn’t always affect your cat. The sensitivity to Nepeta cataria is an inherited effect. It has been documented that cats with one catnip-sensitive parent have just a 1 in 2 chance of experiencing the plant’s effects. If both parents are effected, the chances rise to 3 in 4.
10.) Outdoor cats actually take turns sharing territories to avoid altercations.
But wait, there’s still more on the domestic cat!
11.) Cat brains contain up to 140 million more neurons than a dog’s. In 2010, a comparison of a super computer and a cat brain, the computer performed 83 times slower than a cat’s brain.
12.) The short-term memory of a cat lasts 10 minutes, for most experiences. This is compared to the typical 1 minute of other animals.
13.) Tigers and tabby cats have something in common. They both have rear-facing spikes on the center/back of their tongues that are used for tearing off and gripping meat.
14.) Ferrel cats have a substantially larger traveling range than domestic cats. Over 1,300 acres to 5 acres.
15.) They have an extra organ that allows them to taste-sense the air around them. This appears as a grimace.
But wait, there’s still even more on the domestic cat!
16.) Felines are able to taste salt but not sugar.
17.) Blotched or spotted cats contain a gene called “Taqpep”. Stripped cats don’t possess this gene.
18.) Domestic cats have been around since about 3600 B.C.
Did you know…?
Owning a cat can reduce the risk of a stroke and even heart attack by 33%!
19.) It has been surmised that purring is a low energy mechanism that actually stimulates bone & muscle healing, without using much energy.” Purring might help mitigate osteoporosis and/or dysplasia conditions that are more frequent in canines. So it’s assumed that cats purr to communicate as well as to promote healing. They also purr when stressed or scared, not just when they’re happy.
20.) Cats don’t dip their tongues into fluids like ladles, similar to dogs. Instead, only the surface of their tongue touches the water. This almost eliminates the fluid goatee.
Yep, there’s still more on the domestic cat!
21.) Contrary to popular belief, felines don’t like milk. Cats are lactose intolerant. This being said, don’t give them milk.
22.) A fact that you probably neither knew nor wanted to know, I suppose… male cats have barbed penises. It is presumed that this helps to keep it in place during copulation or that it helps to ensure his genes are passed to the next generation.
23.) Cats score lower in the social IQ category than dogs but are able to solve more difficult cognitive problems.
24.) The official term for a “hairball” is a “bezoar”.
Did you know…?
Cats can run up to 30 mph!
25.) Female cats are usually right-handed (pawed) while males are usually left-favored.
Almost there. But, there’s still more facts on the domestic cat!
26.) Cat litter was changed from sand to clay in 1948.
27.) When a cat grooms themselves it serves several purposes: it cleans their fur of scents that might attract predators, it helps with circulation, the wet fur cools them off, and when they groom you, they are also marking you as their companion.
28.) They are capable of leaping distances of up to 6 times their body length! That would be like a 6 foot man jumping as high as a 54 foot building!
29.) A feline is able to make approximately 100 different sounds compared to a dog’s 10.
30.) The cat’s striking speed is a mere fraction of a second!
You guessed it. There’s still a few more fun facts on the domestic cat!
31.) With scent glands along their forehead, tail, chin, lips, and the underside of their front paws, they have plenty of ways to mark their territory; including you, when you pet them.
32.) They are able to hear sounds as high as 64 kHz. Humans can only hear up to 20 kHz.
33.) Their night vision is 7 times more powerful than ours.
Did you know…?
Felines can sleep up to 20 hours a day! I’m jealous.
34.) Cat’s play with their kills to teach their young how to hunt. As they get older, it is presumed that they do this for enjoyment.
35.) It is estimated that about 90% of domestic cats are spayed or neutered.