Interesting Feline Facts

Cats are interesting creatures. I thought I’d spend the morning looking up facts about our feline companions. I’ve organized them into sections to share with you.

And of course it is starring our own Ivy Lou.

Ivy on the chair

Sleep Patterns:

On average, cats spend 2/3 of every day sleeping. That means a nine-year-old cat has been awake for only three years of its life.

A healthy mature cat spends about 15% of its life in deep sleep, 50% in light sleep, and 30% in awake time. Cats attain full alertness faster than any other creature

Charlie and Ivy on the pet bed

Cat Sounds:

When cats purr, it is an expression of intense emotion, meaning pleasure or pain

Meowing is not part of natural cat language—it was developed almost exclusively for humans.

Cats do not meow to other cats, the meow is reserved for communicating with humans

Ivy in the dough bowl

Facts About A Cat’s Whiskers:

While hunting the whiskers can reach forward to give information about the prey they stalk.

The cat’s whiskers have developed into antennae and help detect movement nearby

A cat’s sensitive whiskers can detect even slight changes in air pressure and air currents—giving the cat “radar” at night, or insight of a storm about to come

Ivy on the pet bed

Sense Of Smell:

When they put their tail in the air, it is an invite for another cat to smell them, a way of saying “hi”

A cats smell is 14 times more sensitive than a human

Scent glands are located between the cats eyes and ears, used to mark humans and other cats. 

Scent glands located on the mouth, lips and under the chin are used to mark inanimate objects

Ivy in the window

Sense Of Taste:

Cats have 200 million odor sensitive cells in their nose. Humans have only 5 million

A cats sense of taste has only 473 taste buds compared to a humans 9,000. 

A cats taste buds are located only on the tip of their tongue

Ivy near the patio doors

Physical Cat Facts:

Cats have 517 muscles—enabling them to move the front and rear halves of their bodies in opposite directions

The skin glands of a cat are located at the base of their hair and secrete oils to waterproof their fur while grooming (licking)

The cat has 26 facial expressions and the same parts of the human and feline brain correspond to emotion

Each ear is controlled by 32 muscles and can turn 180 degrees. Humans have only 6 muscles

A cat’s nose pad is ridged with a unique pattern, just like the fingerprint of a human.

Can only sweat through their paws. 

Cats are extremely sensitive to sounds, including frequencies beyond the range of human hearing

Cats are either right- or left-pawed (handed), showing a distinct preference for one paw over the other

Ivy on the floor

Cat Agility:

When leaping, cats can lengthen their bodies by 11%. The human equivalent of the cat’s ability to leap would be jumping the width of a swimming pool

From a stand still a cat can jump 5 times the length of its body

A healthy domestic cat can reach speeds up to 31 miles per hour but can’t maintain sprinting speed for more than a minute

Cats walk on their toes which gives them greater speed and agility

Cats have an extraordinary ability to grab, cuff, tap, hold, and snatch things.  A cat’s front paws possess a versatility unique to felines

Ivy staring

A Cat’s Vision:

A cat’s vision is sharpest between 2 and 3 feet from its face.

Their night vision is 5 times better than a human

Can see 280º around – peripheral vision

Cats are far-sighted and don’t see well in close range

Cats are color blind, they see red-green equivalent to color blindness in humans

They can see very well in low light, with poor detail

Cat are able to see in 1/6th of the light that humans require

Can see up to 120 feet away, especially if there’s movement

Ivy looking out the window

Trivia & Tidbits:

Cats prefer foods at body temperature—the temperature of freshly killed prey

Most adult cats lack the enzymes necessary to digest milk

When cats purr, it is an expression of intense emotion, meaning pleasure or pain

Neutered cats require fewer calories than intact cats do

Cats are most active in the morning and evening (dawn and twilight)—the prime hunting hours

After a successful hunt for mice or a toy, many cats engage in a tension releasing dance. It builds the cats self-esteem and confidence.

In cold weather a cat’s hair stands on end to trap a layer of air that acts as insulation, they have receptors at the tips of their fur to sense cold

Ivy on the coffee table

World Facts About Cats:

In China cats have been used successfully as earthquake predictors for years

Cats were once used to deliver mail in 1870s Belgium. It didn’t last long.

The oldest cat on record lived in England and was 35 years old

Black cats are considered lucky in Great Britain and France

Cats were declared sacred in Japan in 1000 A.D.

Ivy on the throw

Kitten Facts:

Most of a kitten’s growth takes place during sleep

As a kitten matures, its 26 milk teeth are replaced by 30 permanent teeth. The kitten’s permanent teeth grow in between the ages of 12 and 18 weeks.

The hunting instinct is buried deeply in the mind of even the youngest kittens.  Rather than just eat its food, a kitten visually examines it and will paw at it, as it would an animal brought back from the hunt, to check if it is safe to approach

Six-toed kittens are so common in Boston and surrounding areas of Massachusetts that experts consider it an established mutation.

Ivy laying on my magazines

How Cats Benefit Your Health:

Cats are good for your heart. A 20-year study found that cat owners were 40% less likely to die from a heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases than people who have never had a pet cat.

A cat’s purr creates vibrations within a range of 20-140 Hz, known to be medically therapeutic for many illnesses. 

These perfect purrs help lower stress and blood pressure. Purrs cut down on the effects of dyspnea, which is difficulty breathing, in both humans and cats.

Ivy looking for toys

A Fun Video To Watch:

Cats can make about 100 different sounds. (Dogs only make about 10) Watch and listen to this video of cats chattering at birds from a window.

If you have some interesting cat facts not found here, please leave them in the comments so we can all read them.

Also, I have a Pinterest board about all things cat. You can find it here.

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16 Comments

  1. And some cats are called healing cats. I had one cat that wanted to lay on any boo-boo you had. I had a cataract surgery on one eye and for days afterward he kept trying to lay on that half of my face. The laying a purring is supposed to make it feel better and speed healing. Purring is why cats’ bones are so strong. One of our cats would lie on my daughter’s scoliosis to comfort her. They know when you hurt or ache.

  2. Science Diet canned cat food could be a choice for Ivy to try also canned salmon is good for them a teaspoon a couple of times a week. My cats loved it and it is good for them. I cook for Baron. Loved the pictures. Colleen and Baron

  3. My dog looks up at the ceiling too and so didn’t my golden too! I read somewhere that it was their guardian angel that they are looking at. I also read that they can see other things too. I’m ok as long as I don’t know! ?

    So maybe cats can see what the dogs can see?!
    Alot of interesting facts thou Brenda!?

  4. Some interesting stuff! I tried to read it out loud to my cat Calvin but right now he is too busy playing with a wadded up piece of paper to pay attention to me. Here is something interesting I will share about Calvin — he often spends a few moments at a time looking up at the ceiling, as if there is something going on up there. We then look up and can’t figure out what in the world he is looking at or looking for. We don’t see any insects or cobwebs (most of the time anyway!) so we just don’t know what gets his attention. Our previous cats never looked up much higher than the kitchen counter, where they hoped to see a piece of food suddenly fall over the edge. So who knows what is going on in his little head.

  5. Cats are originally desert creatures so they look for their water in their food. Their prey is 75% water which is why wet canned food is best for them. (And lower in calories). Although they drink more water on dry food, most of these cats are borderline dehydrated. So we see urinary issues in the young and kidney failure in the older.
    As they are obligate carnivores, again, wet food is best. Their brains need fat and protein to tell them they are satiated. Think of dry kibble as “cereal “ with lots of carbs.(btw carbs are not listed on the nutrition label!!! And grain-free, while wonderful for cats subs other carbs for the grains, like pea starch, for example, so still 25-35% carbs!)
    Canned food is very low in carbs. The only low or no carb option I know of for dry food is Young Again.
    After neutering, dogs and cats require 25% less calories!
    When changing cat foods, go slow. I took 2 years! to transition to all wet food!
    Reliable resources include:
    catinfo.org
    veterinarypartner.com
    Yes, my clients get all this info and more 😉

    1. Great information! I’m looking for a new food for Ivy. She loves her dry food, but isn’t as crazy as about wet food. And I know that is an important source of liquid.

  6. Very Interesting Brenda. Thanks for sharing with us, and the pictures of Ivy are adorable and beautiful. Seeing Charlie and Ivy lying next to each other on the pillow, looks like a “good” sign…Hugs, Bonnie

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