Facts about Cats

facts about cats

Domestic cats trace their lineage to the African Wildcat.

Facts about cats,really?!  What do we definitively know about our feline friends?  Can anyone say they actually have a list of facts about cats?  Cats have been idolized, mystified and vilified at various times in our history.  It’s a wonder we know anything about them at all, much less to say there are hard and fast facts.  The first domesticated cat, and the predecessor of all domestic cats, was the African Wildcats.  In Egypt, grain was a staple of life.   But there was a problem in that rats were devouring this valued commodity.  Cats were seen as the solution to this problem so everyone would leave out food for cats to help protect their grain.  The Pharaoh felt it was his right to have more cats protecting his grain.  Instead of asking everyone to give up their beloved cats to him, he declared all cats “demigods”.  In this way, all cats were cared for and were his personal property.  That would be our first  fact about cats.  Ancient cultures showed their devotion to the gods by forbidding cats be used in sacrificial ceremonies.  In ancient Egypt, the sacrifice of a cat would bring death to the perpetrator.  The devotion was so strong that when a family’s beloved cat died, the distraught members would shave their eyebrows to demonstrate the depth of their mourning.  Taking this one step further, mummified cats were often buried with embalmed mice- their treats for the next life.  If we move forward to the fifteenth century, we see a major glitch in this idolization of cats.  Having long enjoyed the devotion of humans, cats feel prey to the wild frenzy brought about by witch trials.  The practise of setting witches aflame was taken a step further by Pope Innocent VIII.  He ruled that all “cat worshippers” be burned at the stake along with their “demonic”cats.  And do we really believe that a black cat is a symbol of bad luck?  Let’s look back at ancient mariners.  They forbade black cats from their ship; not so much as a precaution against bad luck, but because they were thought to bring bad weather.

Now let’s look at some real facts about cats:

  • Your cat uses it’s tail to stay balanced.
  • Your cat is sensitive to your moods.  If your mood changes, so might your cat’s.
  • Cats do not have eyelashes.  The eye is protected by a third eyelid called the “haw”.  If this is visible to you, take your cat to the vet.  He is probably feeling ill.
  • A cat moves very quietly due to the fact that they walk on their toes.  They have 5 toes on the front paws and 4 on the back.  Many cats have more than 4 toes on their back feet and are called polydactyl cats.
  • A cat’s hearing is more sensitive than a human’s or a dog’s.  However, they are far-sighted.  Which means they often cannot see things right in front of them.
  • Your cat’s nose pad has a unique pattern, much like a human fingerprint.
  • A cat’s whiskers aid it in judging if it can move through an opening.  Therefore, the whiskers will be as long as the cat is wide.
  • A cat has the fortune of over one hundred vocal cords.
  • The average lifespan of an indoor cat is 24 years; for an outside cat that number drops to 8 years.
  • A group of kittens is known as a “kindle”
  • A group of cats is known as a “clowder”
  • When you look into your cat’s eyes and slowly blink yours, you are indicating that you love your cat

Facts about cats that won’t surprise you:

  • Cats can sleep 16-18 hours a day- maybe not at one time, but they do get their beauty rest.
  • During their time awake, 80% is used for grooming.
  • When cats are playing; if one feels the play is too rough, it will begin to groom which indicates end of play
  • Even more enjoyable than eating, cats like cleanliness.  This relates to cat litter box maintenance.  More on this in a later post.