Cats are the most popular pet in the United States: There are 88 million pet cats and 74 million dogs. There is no doubt they are amazing animals. Did you know?
After testing 42 cats—21 male and 21 female—psychologists D. Wells and S. Millsopp of Queen’s University Belfast determined that cat’s dominant paw is correlated with gender. For the record: Female cats? Right-pawed.
Cats can hear even the slightest rustle because they have over 20 muscles that control the exterior part of their ear. Also, a cat can figure out the source of the sound more accurately when it’s not moving—which explains why it often stops and listens, utterly frozen.
Domestic cats do mostly one of four things: sleep, eat, run, or play. It turns out, sleeping takes up more time than the other three activities combined. Cats are among the top-sleeping in the animal world because in the wild they must use a lot of energy to hunt.
Cats are only interested in meat and are not tempted with sugar or spices. They lack the ability to taste sweetness—unlike just about any other mammal.
The purr is often translated as a sign of contentment, but it may be more complex than that. Not all purring is related to pleasure—in some cases it reflects pain or nervousness. And some experts believe it’s a sign that their muscles and bones are recovering.
Even though most cats love milk, it doesn’t mean that milk loves them back. Cats have trouble digesting lactose, which can upset their stomachs and lead to diarrhea.
Another delicacy cartoons would have you believe cats love is raw fish, which may actually be bad for them. Uncooked fish can contain bacteria that are harmful to cats and can cause food poisoning. Also, an enzyme in raw fish destroys thiamine, an essential B vitamin, which can lead to neurological problems.
There’s the hiss, the meow, the purr, and (when in heat) the caterwaul—and dozens of variations of each. In comparison, dogs can make only 10 distinct noises. Cats can also communicate through body language, biting, scent signals, and interactions.
You have more in common with your cat than you may realize. Both human and cat brains are composed of gray and white matter, and cats tend to think in the same pattern as humans and, like us, have a long- and short-term memory.
The cerebral cortex of cats—the part of the brain that is responsible for cognitive information processing— is much more complex in felines than in canines. It also contains twice as many neurons as dogs. Additionally, cats have proven to be better at complex problem-solving than their rival pet.
Cats have powerful muscles in their back legs that help them leap far (fun fact: they use their tail for balance). That is why they have no problem jumping on tabletops and even in some case to the top of the refrigerator.