Friday, November 23, 2012
Strange But True Facts About Cats
Unlike dogs, cats do not have a sweet tooth. Scientists believe this is due to a mutation in a key taste receptor.
The technical term for a cat’s hairball is a “bezoar.
A group of cats is called a “clowder."
Female cats tend to be right pawed, while male cats are more often left pawed. Interestingly, while 90% of humans are right handed, the remaining 10% of lefties also tend to be male.
Every year, nearly four million cats are eaten in Asia.
A cat can’t climb head first down a tree because every claw on a cat’s paw points the same way. To get down from a tree, a cat must back down.
Cats make about 100 different sounds. Dogs make only about 10.
A cat’s brain is biologically more similar to a human brain than it is to a dog’s. Both humans and cats have identical regions in their brains that are responsible for emotions.
There are more than 500 million domestic cats in the world, with approximately 40 recognized breeds.
Cats are North America’s most popular pets: there are 73 million cats compared to 63 million dogs. Over 30% of households in North America own a cat.
Approximately 40,000 people are bitten by cats in the U.S. annually.
According to Hebrew legend, Noah prayed to God for help protecting all the food he stored on the ark from being eaten by rats. In reply, God made the lion sneeze, and out popped a cat.
A cat’s hearing is better than a dog’s. And a cat can hear high-frequency sounds up to two octaves higher than a human.
A cat can travel at a top speed of approximately 31 mph (49 km) over a short distance.
A cat can jump up to five times its own height in a single bound.
Some cats have survived falls of over 65 feet (20 meters), due largely to their “righting reflex.” The eyes and balance organs in the inner ear tell it where it is in space so the cat can land on its feet. Even cats without a tail have this ability.
A cat rubs against people not only to be affectionate but also to mark out its territory with scent glands around its face. The tail area and paws also carry the cat’s scent.
Most veterinarians believe that a cat purrs by vibrating vocal folds deep in the throat. To do this, a muscle in the larynx opens and closes the air passage about 25 times per second
Most cats give birth to a litter of between one and nine kittens. The largest known litter ever produced was 19 kittens, of which 15 survived.
While many parts of Europe and North America consider the black cat a sign of bad luck, in Britain and Australia, black cats are considered lucky.
The most popular pedigreed cat is the Persian cat, followed by the Main Coon cat and the Siamese cat.
Some Siamese cats appear cross-eyed because the nerves from the left side of the brain go to mostly the right eye and the nerves from the right side of the brain go mostly to the left eye. This causes some double vision, which the cat tries to correct by “crossing” its eyes.
Researchers believe the word “tabby” comes from Attabiyah, a neighborhood in Baghdad, Iraq. Tabbies got their name because their striped coats resembled the famous wavy patterns in the silk produced in this city.
Cats hate the water because their fur does not insulate well when it’s wet. The Turkish Van, however, is one cat that likes swimming. Bred in central Asia, its coat has a unique texture that makes it water resistant.i
The Egyptian Mau is probably the oldest breed of cat. In fact, the breed is so ancient that its name is the Egyptian word for “cat.
The costliest cat ever is named Little Nicky, who cost his owner $50,000. He is a clone of an older cat.
A cat usually has about 12 whiskers on each side of its face.
A cat’s eyesight is both better and worse than humans. It is better because cats can see in much dimmer light and they have a wider peripheral view. It’s worse because they don’t see color as well as humans do.
The little tufts of hair in a cat’s ear that help keep out dirt direct sounds into the ear, and insulate the ears are called “ear furnishings.
The ability of a cat to find its way home is called “psi-traveling.” Experts think cats either use the angle of the sunlight to find their way or that cats have magnetized cells in their brains that act as compasses.
The world’s rarest coffee, Kopi Luwak, comes from Indonesia where a wildcat known as the luwak lives. The cat eats coffee berries and the coffee beans inside pass through the stomach. The beans are harvested from the cat's dung heaps and then cleaned and roasted. Kopi Luwak sells for about $500 for a 450 g (1 lb) bag.
A cat’s jaw can’t move sideways, so a cat can’t chew large chunks of food.
A cat almost never meows at another cat, mostly just humans. Cats typically will spit, purr, and hiss at other cats.
A cat’s back is extremely flexible because it has up to 53 loosely fitting vertebrae. Humans only have 34.
All cats have claws, and all except the cheetah sheath them when at rest.
Approximately 1/3 of cat owners think their pets are able to read their minds
Most cats had short hair until about 100 years ago, when it became fashionable to own cats and experiment with breeding.
Cats have 32 muscles that control the outer ear (humans have only 6). A cat can independently rotate its ears 180 degrees.
One reason that kittens sleep so much is because a growth hormone is released only during sleep
Cats have about 130,000 hairs per square inch (20,155 hairs per square centimeter).
The heaviest cat on record is Himmy, a Tabby from Queensland, Australia. He weighed nearly 47 pounds (21 kg). He died at the age of 10.
The oldest cat on record was Crème Puff from Austin, Texas, who lived from 1967 to August 6, 2005, three days after her 38th birthday.
A cat typically can live up to 20 years, which is equivalent to about 96 human years.
The lightest cat on record is a blue point Himalayan called Tinker Toy, who weighed 1 pound, 6 ounces (616 g). Tinker Toy was 2.75 inches (7 cm) tall and 7.5 inches (19 cm) long.
The tiniest cat on record is Mr. Pebbles, a 2-year-old cat that weighed 3 lbs (1.3 k) and was 6.1 inches (15.5 cm) high.
In the 1750s, Europeans introduced cats into the Americas to control pests.
The normal body temperature of a cat is between 100.5 ° and 102.5 °F. A cat is sick if its temperature goes below 100 ° or above 103 °F.
A cat has 230 bones in its body. A human has 206. A cat has no collarbone, so it can fit through any opening the size of its head.
A cat’s nose pad is ridged with a unique pattern, just like the fingerprint of a human.
If they have ample water, cats can tolerate temperatures up to 133 °F.
Foods that should not be given to cats include onions, garlic, green tomatoes, raw potatoes, chocolate, grapes, and raisins. Though milk is not toxic, it can cause an upset stomach and gas. Tylenol and aspirin are extremely toxic to cats, as are many common houseplants. Feeding cats dog food or canned tuna that's for human consumption can cause malnutrition.
A 2007 Gallup poll revealed that both men and women were equally likely to own a cat.
A cat’s heart beats nearly twice as fast as a human heart, at 110 to 140 beats a minute.
Cats don’t have sweat glands over their bodies like humans do. Instead, they sweat only through their paws.
In just seven years, a single pair of cats and their offspring could produce a staggering total of 420,000 kittens. (That's why it's a good idea to have your cat spayed or neutered!)
A cat called Dusty has the known record for the most kittens. She had more than 420 kittens in her lifetime.
There are up to 60 million feral cats in the United States alone.
Cats spend nearly 1/3 of their waking hours cleaning themselves.
Grown cats have 30 teeth. Kittens have about 26 temporary teeth, which they lose when they are about 6 months old.
Cats are extremely sensitive to vibrations. Cats are said to detect earthquake tremors 10 or 15 minutes before humans can.
A female cat is called a queen or a molly.
The cat who holds the record for the longest non-fatal fall is Andy. He fell from the 16th floor of an apartment building (about 200 ft/.06 km) and survived.
The claws on the cat’s back paws aren’t as sharp as the claws on the front paws because the claws in the back don’t retract and, consequently, become worn.