80 Purrtastic & Awesome Cat Facts for Cat Lovers

Cats are cute. They are playful and sometimes, they are absolute jerks. But, we still love them. They make our home complete. Their signature ‘purrs’ often make us feel comfortable when we are sad.

Their soft fur takes away our stress. So, if you happen to be a cat person, here are 80 purrtastic cat facts that you will find quite interesting. A warning though!

You may just frown after learning a few facts because they are in no way comforting for cat lovers.

Purrtastic Cat Facts: 1-10

1. Cats are often caught rubbing themselves against humans. That’s not because they want some food or are looking for a nice warm hug. By doing so, they mark the humans as their territory.

2. Cats are capable of producing 100 different types of sounds. Compared to that, our beloved dogs can produce only 10!

3. Cats and humans share the same biological design of brain. Both have exactly identical brain regions for emotions.

4. Male cats are mostly left pawed while females are right pawed.

5. Cat skins are often used for making coats. Nearly 24 cat skins are required for manufacturing one coat.

6. Here is the most disturbing fact – in Asia, 4 million cats are eaten every year! Yes, humans eat cats and you can find this a widely common practice in China.

7. Not just Asia, eating cats and even dogs is practiced is many other countries and that includes United States of America. Here are the nine countries that eat cats (and also dogs):

  • Taiwan
  • The Arctic
  • Mexico
  • French Polynesia
  • Vietnam
  • United States of America (Hawaii)
  • Korea
  • China
  • Switzerland

8. There is a technical term for the hairball of cats. The term is ‘bezoar’.

9. Unlike humans and dogs, cats maintain a steady level head while chasing prey. Humans and dogs are known for bobbing their heads up and down.

10. Cats don’t have sweet tooth. This simply means, cats don’t really nurture a great liking for food items that are sweet. Dogs however love sweets. Scientists say that cats don’t have a sweet tooth because a particular taste receptor in cats underwent mutation.

Purrtastic Cat Facts: 11-20

11. Clowder is the technical term used for describing a group of cats.

12. While climbing down a tree, cats will always and always move down head first. They will always climb down with back first. This is because all claws on all their paws point in the same way.

13. Cats spend 2/3rd of their lives sleeping. This means that if a cat is 9 years old, it slept for 6 years and stayed awake for 3 years only.

14. There are 40 recognized cat breeds in world. These 40 breeds in total account for over 500 million pet cats (domesticated cats).

15. Religion and witchcraft (the two most bogus inventions of man) has claimed the lives of millions of cats till date. In Middle Ages in particular, Europeans, on St. John’s Day, would stuff cats in sacks and throw them into bonfires. On other holy days, Europeans would toss cats from the towers of churches.

16. Pope Innocent VIII, during Spanish Inquisition, declared that cats were manifestations of evil and hence, must be killed. Hundreds of thousands of cats were burned alive, thereby dramatically reducing cat population. This helped with the massive explosion in the population of rats. Increased rat population increased the number of casualties because of Black Death.

17. While it is a popular belief that Egyptians were the first people to domesticate cats some 5,000 years ago, a recent archeological find reveals that cats were domesticated as early as 9,500 years ago. Archeologists dug out a grave in Cyprus’ Mediterranean islands in which the remains of a cat were found.

18. Felicette was the first cat that made it to space. Known as Astrocat, this feline was sent in space by the French with electrodes implanted in its brains. Those electrodes sent neurological signals back to Earth. Luckily, Felicette made it back to Earth alive!

19. North America prefers cats as pets over dogs. In a survey it was found that North Americans have 73 million pet cats compared to 63 million pet dogs. On an average 30% of North American households have at least one pet cat.

20. The Latin word catus means domesticated cats. The group of words: cats, chat, cath, catt and katze – all stemmed out from the word catus. The Latin word for wild cat is feles.

Purrtastic Cat Facts: 21-30

21. Do you know how cats evolved in Hebrew legend? So, there was Noah and his ark that stored life and food. The problem was that the bad boys – the rats were all having a feast on the stored food.

Noah was worried and prayed to God – ‘Hey God! Can you do something about these rats? These freaking creatures are eating up all the food stored in this big wooden box!’

The all merciful good Lord heard the desperate call for help and made a lion sneeze. Guess what? A cat just popped out of its nose!

22. We really don’t know whether the cat is a byproduct of a lion’s sneeze or not but we do know that felines can jump 5 times their own height in one bound. They are pretty good acrobats.

23. 49 kilometers or 31 miles an hour is the top speed a cat can attain over a short distance. They can’t really sustain this speed for long.

24. Cats have acute sense of hearing. In fact, they beat the dogs in this area. They can hear two octaves of higher sound in comparison to humans.

25. Cats are known for surviving high altitude drops. They have survived a fall from a height of 65 feet or 20 meters. So, how do they do that?

Their inner ears are equipped with what is known as balance organs. Using these balance organs and their eyes, cats are capable of knowing their exact position is space. This allows them to land on their feet.

26. Additionally, cats have high surface area for the body compared to weight. They use this feature along with the parachute effect they produce by spreading their legs out to minimize the force with which they hit the ground. This is why they manage to survive falls from great heights.

27. Scientists are still not sure of the mechanism that cats use to purr. Some, however, believe that vocal folds deep inside their throats vibrate, allowing them to purr. In order to create the vibrations, the larynx muscles rapidly open and close the air passage. This opening and closing takes place about 25 times every second.

28. Ancient Egyptians elaborately mourned the deaths of their family cats. Their mourning process involved shaving their eyebrows, then holding highly elaborate funerals for the dead cats. During the funerals, they would drink wine and publicly beat their breasts to express grief.

29. As if that wasn’t enough, they would embalm their cats using wooden masks and place the cat mummy in family tombs. If the mummified cats didn’t make it to the family tombs, they would surely make it to cat cemetery where the mummies would be placed with even smaller mummies of, guess what? Rats!

30. In ancient Egypt, people found guilty of attempting to smuggle cats out of the country were punished by death. However, those who managed to smuggle out the cats, sold the felines at higher price to rich Athenians and other rich people in important cities.

Purrtastic Cat Facts: 11-20

31. 300,000 cat mummies were dug out from Egyptian graves in year 1888. All the wrappings were stripped off of those mummies and the remains were British and US farmers. The farmers utilized those mummified cats as fertilizers!

32. Usually 1-9 kittens are born in a single litter. However, the largest litter ever was that of 19 kittens. Four of those 19 didn’t make it. The remaining 15 survived.

33. Proailurus is the earliest known ancestor of modern felines. The Proailurus lived some 30 million years ago. However, the animals group from which the pet cats eventually evolved hanged around on earth some 12 million years ago. Proailurus is the Greek for ‘First Cat’.

34. We know that the Egyptians loved cats but they even had a goddess named Bast. She had a cat’s head and a woman’s body!

35. Several areas in North America, Asia and Europe, black cats are synonymous with bad luck. In Australia and England, it is just the opposite. These black fur balls are considered lucky in those two places.

36. Persian Cat is the most popular among all pedigree cats. The second spot is taken by Maine Coon Cat and the Siamese Cat takes the third spot.

37. Singapura is the smallest know pedigree cat with a maximum weight of 1.8 kg or 4 pounds. Maine Coon Cat is the largest known pedigree cat with the maximum weight of 11.3 kg or 25 pounds.

38. Black-footed cat is world’s smallest wild cat. Females are smaller than males and weigh just 1.2 kg or 2.5 pounds. The females grow to the length of 50 cm or 20 inches.

39. The Siberian Tiger is the largest known wildcat on planet. The southern cousins, Bengal Tigers are second largest. The Siberian Tigers are only slightly larger than Bengal Tigers.

40. Fur of cats don’t insulate very well when wet. This is the reason why cats hate water. However, there is one cat breed that loves swimming. It is the Turkish Van. This breed is known for its unique water-resistant coat texture. The cat is usually bred in Central Asia.

Purrtastic Cat Facts: 41-50

41. Kittens sleep for nearly 18 hours a day. It is during their sleep that a special growth hormone is released which helps them to grow quickly.

42. Japanese people think that cats, when they die, are capable of turning themselves into super spirits. This belief possibly finds its origins in Buddhism where it is believed that very spiritual people use the bodies of cats as temporary resting place.

43. Prophet Mohammed was very fond of cats. It is believed that a tabby named Muezza was his favorite cat. According to legends, Mohammed often used to place his hand on Muezza’s head which left the imprint of the letter ‘M’ on Muezza’s head. From that point forward, all tabby carry the mark on their head that resembles the letter ‘M’.

44. It is quite natural to come across some Siamese cats that appear to be cross-eyed. This is because of a very peculiar biological makeup of their body.

The nerves from their brain’s right side mostly go to the left eye while the nerves from the brain’s left side mostly go to the right eye. This unusual makeup leads to cross vision in some Siamese cats and they try to correct this problem by crossing their eyes.

45. The oldest known cat breed that lives today is possibly the Egyptian Mau. The word ‘Mau’ is actually an Egyptian word for ‘cat’. Experts say that the breed is so ancient that its name is not known and hence, the word Mau has been used to name it.

46. ‘Little Nicky’ is one of world’s most expensive cats ever. He was actually a commercially cloned pet and was first of his kind. The total cost for cloning and producing him was $50,000.

47. Cats are known to have whiskers. There are usually 12 whiskers on either side of their face.

48. More like a fallacy, a cat’s vision is, at the same time, worse than and better than the vision of humans. It is worse because a cat is not well-equipped to see colors as well as humans do.

It is better because they are capable of seeing in very dim lighting conditions in which humans fail to see anything but darkness.

59. Though Tom from Tom & Jerry show is one of the most famous comic cats of all time, he is still not THE MOST famous comic cat. This crown is taken by Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland.

The reason why Cheshire Cat takes this position is because it nicely embodies sorcery and magic that have historically been associated with cats.

50. Cinderella was originally created in Italy. The original Italian version depicted fairy godmother as a cat.

Purrtastic Cat Facts: 11-20

51. Cats exhibit something called ‘psi-traveling’. This is their uncanny ability to find their way back home even if they end up wandering far in unknown turfs.

According to scientists, cats are able to do so either because their brains are equipped with magnetized cells working as a compass or they are capable of using sunlight’s angle as a compass.

52. Cats have something called ear-furnishings. These are nothing but little hair tufts in their ear. These hair are responsible for insulating ears, keeping out direct sound and keeping out dirt.

53. According to Spanish-Jewish folklore, Lilith, the first wife of Adam, turned into a black vampire cat. After that, she fed on sleeping children, sucking the blood out of them.

The superstition that a sleeping child’s breath will be sucked out or a sleeping child will be smothered by a cat probably originated from that folklore.

54. In Moscow, Russia, two Siamese cats did something weird when they were in Holland’s embassy. The two cats continuously scratched the walls of the embassy and kept on meowing.

Surprised by these unusual activity of the cats, authorities decided to investigate. They hoped they would find some rats. To their surprise, they found hidden microphones in the walls.

Those microphones were hidden by the Russians in the embassy so that they could do some spying. Unfortunately, the cats could hear the sounds whenever microphones were turned on!

55. Cats can never chew on large food chunks. That’s because their jaws are not adapted for sidewise movements.

56. Cat flap was invented by Isaac Newton. Newton was busy experimenting on something for which he needed a completely dark room.

Unfortunately his cat name Spithead was causing troubles by continuously moving in and out of the door. Whenever the door opened, Newton’s experiment stalled. Frustrated, he came up with the idea of cat flap.

57. Usually cats never meow when they face other cats. They will either hiss, purr or spit. Cats meow only in front of humans.

58. The number of loosely fitting vertebrae in cats is 53 as compared to 34 in humans. This explains why cats have very flexible backs.

59. Ailurophilia is the technical word used for describing the liking for cats.

60. Except for cheetahs, all cats (big or small) sheath their claws while resting.

Purrtastic Cat Facts: 1-10

61. Cats can survive on sea water. This is because their kidneys are designed to filter out salt and use the water content! What about our kidneys? Don’t even think! They will just fail.

62. Towser is the most famous cat in Scotland. Scots have actually built a commemorative tower for this cat! Why? Because Towser caught and killed 30,000 mice in its lifetime. That’s quite an achievement!

63. The ridged pattern on a cat’s nose is unique. No two cats will have same pattern. It is very much like fingerprints in humans.

64. Cats don’t have any collarbone but they have 230 bones in total compared to 206 in humans. Absence of collarbones allow cats to pass through any opening that is big enough to fit in their heads!

65. Cats can survive temperatures as high as 133°F or 56.1°C. All they will need is ample amount of water.

66. Cats have sweat glands only in their paws and thus, that’s the only place in their whole body that they sweat from.

67. Cats’ hearts beat at a speed of 110-140 beats per minute. That is almost twice that of humans.

68. A cat named Kitty gave birth to two kittens when she was 30 years old. In total she mothered 218 kittens in her lifetime. However, she wasn’t the one who gave birth to largest numbers of kittens. This record is held by another cat named Dusty. She mothered 420 kittens.

69. Earlier we learned that cats spend 2/3rd of their lives sleeping. Of the rest 1/3rd that they spend awake, they spend 1/3rd of their wake time cleaning themselves.

70. Researchers say that owning a cat can actually reduce the risk of strokes and heart attack by 1/3rd.

Interesting Cat Facts: 71-80

71. Japan and Korea – both countries have Cat Café. This is a place where you can actually enjoy coffee while hanging out with cats!

72. Tinker Toy is world’s smallest cat and it is just 7 cm or 2.5 inches tall!

73. Be careful while cleaning the litter box of a cat! In case the cat is infected, you run into a risk of contracting toxoplasmosis – a parasitic infection. If you are pregnant, you need to be even more careful because your baby might be affected and born with conditions like mental retardation, seizures and cerebral palsy.

74. In most of the US states, it is legal to declaw a cat but it is completely illegal in 22 countries (at least). This includes Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, Finland and Germany.

75. Cats are capable of dreaming and they are known to produce the same brain waves as humans do when they dream.

76. Cats are not very tolerant to chocolates. They can get sick or even die by consuming these yummy treats. Unfortunately chocolates are yummy for humans and dogs but not for cats because cats can’t taste sweetness.

77. Cats are unable to see directly under their nose. This is why they can’t find food that’s kept directly under their nose!

78. There are cats that glow in dark. These glow-in-dark cats are not natural but artificially produced by inserting a specific type of protein taken from jellyfish. This protein codes bioluminescence in jellyfish and did the same in cat genome.

79. In 1960s, American intelligence service, CIA tried training spy cats at a cost of $20 million. The aim was to spy on the Soviets. Ironically, the first spy cat was killed – guess how? It was hit by a taxi!

80. Ben Rea – a millionaire left 15 million British pounds for his cat named Blackie, thus making the feline the richest cat in history of Catkind and yes, mankind too!

Sources…

  • Piven, Hanoch. 2009. What Cats Are Made Of. New York, NY: Ginee Seo Books.
  • “How Many Dogs and Cats Are Eaten in Asia?” Animal People Online.
  • Clutton-Brock, Juliet. 2004. Cat. New York, NY: DK Publishing, Inc.
  • Fogle, Bruce. 2006. Cats. New York, NY: Dorling Kindersley Limited.
  • Frith-Macdonald, Candida. 2008. Encyclopedia of Cats. New York, NY: Parragon Books Ltd.
  • Rochlitz, Irene. 2005. The Welfare of Cats. Norwell, MA: Springer.
  • EU Proposes Cat and Dog Fur Ban.” BBC News. November 20, 2006.
  • Cat.” Online Etymology Dictionary.
  • Bidner, Jenni. 2006. Is My Cat a Tiger? New York, NY: Lark Books.

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