Our feline friends are lovable, playful, and occasionally ill-behaved. Over time we learn many things about our cats: their favorite food, sleeping spots, and furniture to scratch. While it may seem we are highly educated about our beloved pets, there is more to know than you think. The mystery of the house cat begins at the beginning — initial domestication.
1. Cats Are Not Truly Domesticated
According to research, science has determined that cats are only semi-domesticated — and most of the work was done themselves. Our initial relationship with cats began when big wildcats starting hanging around ancient villages scavenging for food. Humans tolerated their presence over time and soon enough they were making themselves comfortable in our homes. Although they are now members of human society, research shows house cats share much of their DNA with their wild ancestors. “As every cat owner knows, nobody owns a cat.” — Ellen Perry
2. They Do Not Taste Sweets
Have you ever wondered why your cat prefers wet, tasty meat over dry, grainy kibble? Humans can enjoy many different kinds of tastes, including sour, salty, bitter, and sweet. But cats’ taste buds do not recognize sugar. Corn, grain, and other carbohydrates will not entice the appetite of our feline friends — whereas meat is the ultimate treat. If your cat is being picky about their dry food, try popping open a can of pure, protein temptation.
3. Your Cat Has Ultrasonic Hearing
Have you ever noticed how cats respond to high pitched voices? While humans and even dogs are limited in the range of sounds that they can hear, cats can pick up noises at nearly three times the frequency. This is because they are hunters of mice and rodents, animals that communicate in higher pitched voices. Cats have ultrasonic hearing, so the next time you think your cat is ignoring you and staring off into space, they might just be listening to something you can’t hear.
4. Felines Can't Climb Down Face First
Have you ever wondered why so many cats get stuck in trees? The truth is that they can only climb up face first. This is because the claws of a cat all point in the same direction and emulate a hook-like shape. The anatomy of their claws make it easy to grab onto surfaces and pull upwards — great for climbing trees. But in order to get back down, cats must turn around and use their claw ‘hooks’ to lower themselves, descending rear-first.
5. Cats Never Stop Purring
Although you seem to only hear them when they are content, cats purr continuously. Purring is simply the vibration of air coming in and out of their lungs. Every time your cat breathes, they purr. When the normally relaxed larynx muscles tighten in the throat, the vibration increases and the purr sound can be heard. It is not completely understood if cats purr only because they are happy, but scientific research points to an emotional correlation.
6. Your Cat Runs Faster Than You
Did you ever think your furry friend could simply wake up from a cat nap and out sprint the world’s fastest runner? It’s true! Domestic house cats can reach an average speed of 30mph over a short distance, while the most well-trained human athletes top out at a speed of 27mph.
7. They Can Be Right or Left Pawed
Have you ever observed your cat favoring one paw over the other? Research shows that 50% of cats are right pawed, 10% are ambidextrous, and the remaining 40% are left pawed. An additional study determined male cats are usually left-pawed while female cats are usually right-pawed. Pay attention next time you play with your cat and perhaps you can find out which paw your pet prefers.
8. Cats Have ‘Noseprints’ Instead of Fingerprints
The nose pad of each cat is composed of a completely unique pattern of bumps and ridges just like a human fingerprint. Although not a commonplace practice, nose prints can be used as a form of identification for your feline friend.
Meta Description: There is more to know about your cat than you think. From domestication, ultrasonic hearing, purring, and noseprints, here are eight amazing things you didn’t know about your cat.