Cats are wonderful and fascinating creatures – but if you’re reading this you probably already know that. Although they appear to spend most of their day lazing around (which they do), they have many traits and behaviors that makes them super lovable.
Sure, your beloved feline is not as active as your neighbor’s dog; he/she may not jump at the chance to play when you’re in the mood. However, all kitty lovers know that cats are special in their own unique way. What makes them unique? Here are 10 interesting facts about cats that kitty lovers need to know:
1. Cats used to be associated with witchcraft
Have you ever noticed how cats were almost always linked to witches and witchcrafts? For instance, Sabrina, the fictional teenage witch, had a cat as a familiar. Well, the association isn’t limited to just fiction.
In medieval times, cats had the unsavory reputation of being a witch’s pet, and the poor animals were punished severely for their connection to the practitioners of witchcraft. People in Europe used to stuff the poor little kitties into sacks and burn them with bonfires. They were also in the habit of throwing cats from church towers. Thankfully for our furry little friends, such practices are no longer tolerated today.
2. Had your kitty been born in ancient Egypt, it would have been treated like a god.
While Medieval Europe certainly wasn’t the best place to be a cat, the exact opposite is true for ancient Egypt. In fact, many experts trace the domestication of cats back to the ancient Egyptians. Previously used by the people of ancient Egypt as weapons against rats, cats were later on treated by Egyptians in an almost god-like fashion.
Family members who lost their beloved cat would shave off their eyebrows as a normal part of the grieving process. The dead cat would then be mummified and laid to rest in the family tomb. They could also be placed in the final resting grounds of pets with small mummified mice. That must have pleased the dead cat to no end.
3. Not all cats hate getting soaked in water.
Cats abhor water, mainly because their fur doesn’t insulate well once wet. The exception to this rule is the Turkish Van. Known as the only breed that loves to swim, Turkish Van cats have uniquely-textured coats that have allowed them to develop a great relationship with water.
The rest of the species, though, rely on their tongues to give their entire bodies a thorough cleaning. The cat’s tongue is equipped with spines known as papillae. These backward-facing spines act like the bristles of a hair brush, facilitating the cat’s grooming practices. If you’ve got a long-haired cat, be sure comb its fur regularly. These felines are particularly prone to developing hairballs, which can cause obstruction in their bodies if not eliminated properly. Combing will lessen tangles and knots that might make hairballs a major problem.
4. Cats use their whiskers to navigate spaces and locate objects in the dark.
A cat’s whiskers aren’t there for just aesthetics. These highly useful body structures are what make it possible for a cat to gauge whether a space is too tiny to pass through.
Aside from that navigational benefit, whiskers also facilitate the location of objects in the dark as well as stimulate the cat’s blinking reflexes to prevent damage to the eyes. So the next time you feel like giving your cat a makeover, be sure not to lay a finger on those whiskers. After all, you don’t want your cat to be deprived of its most fundamental capacities.
5. A domesticated cat walks with its tail held straight up; a wild feline walks with its tail held horizontally or between its legs.
Another fact about cats you need to know is that domesticated members of the species hold their tails in a different way than the wild felines when walking. Even though you’re a feline lover, you’ll need to at least be able to tell the difference between a kitty that will welcome your touch and a wild cat that will scratch your eyes out if you dare go near it. So before you pick up a stray, be sure to determine if you’ll be welcomed with its purring or spurned with its wild scratching.
6. A cat’s front paws have five toes, while its back paws have only four.
Unlike humans, who have equal number of fingers/toes on their hands and feet, a cat’s front and back paws differ in the number of toes. This holds true for most of kitties and cats, with the exception of polydactyls. The word polydactyl is used to describe creatures which have more toes than the usual. Cats can be polydactyls as well. As a matter of fact, there are plenty of these extra-toed cats in Boston, USA.
7. You can’t bribe a cat into behaving by offering sweets.
While dogs fall prey to their sweet tooth, cats don’t really have what it takes to appreciate sugary items. According to scientists, this is probably because of a mutation in cats that made their taste receptors indifferent to the taste. So if you’re thinking of ways to improve your cat’s manners, remember this fun fact about cats. You’ll get nowhere with a sugary treat.
8. Sleeping and grooming take up a huge portion of a cat’s day.If you own a kitty, this is something you already know; cats sleep like there are millions of days ahead of them to do other things. The average cat spends about two-thirds of its day getting valuable snooze time. That means that a cat as old as 9 years has only been awake for a total of three years!
Furthermore, thirty percent of a cat’s waking hours is devoted to grooming. What humans would do to be able to spend their days like cats!
9. A black cat isn’t always seen as a sign of bad luck.
If you’re overly superstitious and come from Europe or North America, then you probably consider a black cat as an omen of the bad things to come. Yet, in other places, like Australia and Britain, black cats are regarded as symbols of good luck. Go figure.
10. Cats can sense earthquakes before humans can.
Owing to their extreme sensitivity to vibrations, cats are able to sense earthquakes before humans can feel the tremors. This is a fun fact about cats that might come in handy, particularly if you’re living in the Pacific Ring of Fire. Pay particular attention when your cat starts to behave strangely. It might be your very first warning that the ground beneath you is about to shake violently.
We hope you enjoyed these fun facts about cats. To kitty lovers, cats are as interesting as animals can get. They have loads of endearing quirks, admirable traits, and unique characteristics that will surely make you love them even more.