10 facts about cats
Surprising facts about our feline friends
Cats are the only species that have been domesticated in the family of Felidae, and there are an estimated 720 million pet and stray cats around the world. These furry (and non-furry) felines are thought to have first been domesticated around 7500 BC (that is 9,500 years ago) and today are a loved member of the family in many households. But what other fun and interesting things do we know about our feline friends?
- Cat's whiskers are mood indicators. If they hang down relaxed, the cat is satisfied. If they are facing straight ahead, they may be angry.
- Cats love catnip, especially the real catnip (Nepeta Cataria). It has an intoxicating effect on the animals. Responsible for this is the fragrance nepectalaton, a volatile substance that makes cats euphoric.
- Cats mark their owners as possessions. They have scent glands in their cheeks, paws and flanks. When they rub against their human with it, they leave a message for other cats that they have claimed their owners.
- The cat's tongue is equipped with tiny spikes (papillae). These are curved and equipped with U-shaped cavities. Through these cavities, saliva is passed onto the fur and down to the skin when it is licked, which provides important cooling.
- Orange cats are mostly male. Tricolored cats are almost always female.
- White cats with blue eyes are prone to deafness, caused by an anomaly in their genetic make-up.
- Cats primarily only meow for humans. Communication with other cats takes place via body language.
- Cats can run as fast as 29 miles per hour
- Cats sleep most of the time; an estimated 14-16 hours per day or 70% of their life.
- The oldest cat was 38 years old. "Creme Puff" was born on August 3rd, 1967 and passed away on August 6th, 2005, after 38 years and three days. Creme Puff;s achievement was noted in the Guinness Book of Records.