47 Incredible Random Facts About Cats

Cats have been our faithful friends ever since humans started harvesting grain, and needed a predator, which could deal with ensuing rodent problem.

Of course nowadays cats are not only mice-catchers, but mostly companions and their hunting abilities come in as bonus, or a nuisance, depending if they bring in mice or diminish local bird population!

Here are 47 random facts about our feline buddies.

1. When dogs wag their tails, they may be expressing happiness. But this isn't the case for cats! When your cat wags her tail, it's her way of warning you that you are getting on her last nerve.

2. President Bill Clinton's cat, Socks, was a media darling during the Clinton administration and was said to receive more letters than the President himself.

3. The age-old formula to that you should multiply your cat's age by seven to convert it into human years is incorrect. Cats do the majority of their “aging” in the first two years of their lives.

4. It has been scientifically proven that owning cats is good for our health and can decrease the occurrence of high blood pressure and other illnesses. Stroking a cat can help to relieve stress and the feel of a purring cat on your lap conveys a strong sense of security and comfort.

Kittens are born with a full set of teeth that fall out and are replaced just like a human. This can vary a little by breed, but they start replacing those teeth at 6-9 months of age. Cats have 30 teeth (12 incisors, 10 premolars, 4 canines, and 4 molars).

6. Indoor cats typically live 14 to 20 years although the oldest cat on record was a female tabby that lived to be 36 years old. Domestic cats tend to live longer if they are not permitted to go outdoord and if they are spayed or neutered.

7. The female cat reaches sexual maturity within 6 to 10 months; most veterinarians suggests spaying the female at 5 months. A heat period lasts about 4 to 7 days if the female is bred; if not, the heat period lasts longer and recurs at regular intervals. The male cat usually reaches sexual maturity between 9 and 12 months.

8. People who are allergic to cats are actually allergic to cat saliva or to cat dander. If the resident cat is bathed regularly the allergic people tolerate it better. (Kitty may not agree!)

9. Neutering a male cat will, in almost all cases, stop him from spraying, fighting with other males, lengthen his life and improve its quality.

Kneading is a sign that your cat is happy, comfortable, and relaxed. You should feel proud if your cat deems you worthy of sharing this pleasure and it's your cat's way of saying he's glad you are there.

11. Declawing a cat is the same as cutting a human's fingers off at the knuckle. Declawed cats can be expensive and dangerous to own because declawing is the number one cause of litter box and biting problems. Training and providing a scratching post should eliminate inappropriate scratching.

12. Respect that you cat needs her space. If she hides under the bed, it's because she wants to be there for whatever reason. She does not want you to look at her, talk to her, or try to pull her out. Allow her to come out on her own terms.

13. The richest cat is Blackie who was left £15 million by his owner, Ben Rea.

14. The claws on the cat’s back paws aren’t as sharp as the claws on the front paws because the claws in the back don’t retract and, consequently, become worn

The most expensive cat was an Asian Leopard cat (ALC)-Domestic Shorthair (DSH) hybrid named Zeus. Zeus, who is 90% ALC and 10% DSH, has an asking price of £100,000 ($154,000).

16. The cat who holds the record for the longest non-fatal fall is Andy. He fell from the 16th floor of an apartment building (about 200 ft/.06 km) and survived.

17. In Holland’s embassy in Moscow, Russia, the staff noticed that the two Siamese cats kept meowing and clawing at the walls of the building. Their owners finally investigated, thinking they would find mice. Instead, they discovered microphones hidden by Russian spies. The cats heard the microphones when they turned on.

18. The most traveled cat is Hamlet, who escaped from his carrier while on a flight. He hid for seven weeks behind a panel on the airplane. By the time he was discovered, he had traveled nearly 373,000 miles (600,000 km).

19. The largest cat breed is the Ragdoll. Male Ragdolls weigh between 12 and 20 lbs (5.4-9.0 k). Females weigh between 10 and 15 lbs (4.5-6.8 k).

Foods that should not be given to cats include onions, garlic, green tomatoes, raw potatoes, chocolate, grapes, and raisins. Though milk is not toxic, it can cause an upset stomach and gas. Tylenol and aspirin are extremely toxic to cats, as are many common houseplants. Feeding cats dog food or canned tuna that’s for human consumption can cause malnutrition.

21. The first cartoon cat was Felix the Cat in 1919. In 1940, Tom and Jerry starred in the first theatrical cartoon “Puss Gets the Boot.” In 1981 Andrew Lloyd Weber created the musical Cats, based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.

22. The lightest cat on record is a blue point Himalayan called Tinker Toy, who weighed 1 pound, 6 ounces (616 g). Tinker Toy was 2.75 inches (7 cm) tall and 7.5 inches (19 cm) long.

23. The oldest cat on record was Crème Puff from Austin, Texas, who lived from 1967 to August 6, 2005, three days after her 38th birthday. A cat typically can live up to 20 years, which is equivalent to about 96 human years.

24. In Japan, cats are thought to have the power to turn into super spirits when they die. This may be because according to the Buddhist religion, the body of the cat is the temporary resting place of very spiritual people.i

Two members of the cat family are distinct from all others: the clouded leopard and the cheetah. The clouded leopard does not roar like other big cats, nor does it groom or rest like small cats. The cheetah is unique because it is a running cat; all others are leaping cats. They are leaping cats because they slowly stalk their prey and then leap on it.

26. Isaac Newton invented the cat flap. Newton was experimenting in a pitch-black room. Spithead, one of his cats, kept opening the door and wrecking his experiment. The cat flap kept both Newton and Spithead happy.

27. The world’s rarest coffee, Kopi Luwak, comes from Indonesia where a wildcat known as the luwak lives. The cat eats coffee berries and the coffee beans inside pass through the stomach. The beans are harvested from the cat’s dung heaps and then cleaned and roasted. Kopi Luwak sells for about $500 for a 450 g (1 lb) bag.

28. The ability of a cat to find its way home is called “psi-traveling.” Experts think cats either use the angle of the sunlight to find their way or that cats have magnetized cells in their brains that act as compasses

29. The smallest wildcat today is the Black-footed cat. The females are less than 20 inches (50 cm) long and can weigh as little as 2.5 lbs (1.2 kg).

Spanish-Jewish folklore recounts that Adam’s first wife, Lilith, became a black vampire cat, sucking the blood from sleeping babies. This may be the root of the superstition that a cat will smother a sleeping baby or suck out the child’s breath.

31. Perhaps the most famous comic cat is the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. With the ability to disappear, this mysterious character embodies the magic and sorcery historically associated with cats.

32. Researchers believe the word “tabby” comes from Attabiyah, a neighborhood in Baghdad, Iraq. Tabbies got their name because their striped coats resembled the famous wavy patterns in the silk produced in this city

33. Some Siamese cats appear cross-eyed because the nerves from the left side of the brain go to mostly the right eye and the nerves from the right side of the brain go mostly to the left eye. This causes some double vision, which the cat tries to correct by “crossing” its eyes.

34. Some cats have survived falls of over 65 feet (20 meters), due largely to their “righting reflex.” The eyes and balance organs in the inner ear tell it where it is in space so the cat can land on its feet. Even cats without a tail have this ability.

The smallest pedigreed cat is a Singapura, which can weigh just 4 lbs (1.8 kg), or about five large cans of cat food. The largest pedigreed cats are Maine Coon cats, which can weigh 25 lbs (11.3 kg), or nearly twice as much as an average cat weighs.

36. Mohammed loved cats and reportedly his favorite cat, Muezza, was a tabby. Legend says that tabby cats have an “M” for Mohammed on top of their heads because Mohammad would often rest his hand on the cat’s head.

37. The biggest wildcat today is the Siberian Tiger. It can be more than 12 feet (3.6 m) long (about the size of a small car) and weigh up to 700 pounds (317 kg)

38. The earliest ancestor of the modern cat lived about 30 million years ago. Scientists called it the Proailurus, which means “first cat” in Greek. The group of animals that pet cats belong to emerged around 12 million years ago.

39. Smuggling a cat out of ancient Egypt was punishable by death. Phoenician traders eventually succeeded in smuggling felines, which they sold to rich people in Athens and other important cities.

Researchers are unsure exactly how a cat purrs. Most veterinarians believe that a cat purrs by vibrating vocal folds deep in the throat. To do this, a muscle in the larynx opens and closes the air passage about 25 times per second.

41. The term “puss” is the root of the principal word for “cat” in the Romanian term pisica and the root of secondary words in Lithuanian (puz) and Low German puus. Some scholars suggest that “puss” could be imitative of the hissing sound used to get a cat’s attention. As a slang word for the female pudenda, it could be associated with the connotation of a cat being soft, warm, and fuzzy.[10]

42. The first cat in space was a French cat named Felicette (a.k.a. “Astrocat”) In 1963, France blasted the cat into outer space. Electrodes implanted in her brains sent neurological signals back to Earth. She survived the trip.

43. During the Middle Ages, cats were associated with withcraft, and on St. John’s Day, people all over Europe would stuff them into sacks and toss the cats into bonfires. On holy days, people celebrated by tossing cats from church towers.

44. During the time of the Spanish Inquisition, Pope Innocent VIII condemned cats as evil and thousands of cats were burned. Unfortunately, the widespread killing of cats led to an explosion of the rat population, which exacerbated the effects of the Black Death.

When your cat brings home a dead mouse or bird, it may do so to show you that you suck at hunting.

46. When asked if her husband had any hobbies, Mary Todd Lincoln is said to have replied "cats."

47. In the 1960s, the CIA tried to turn a cat into a bonafide spy by implanting a microphone into her ear and a radio transmitter at the base of her skull. She somehow survived the surgery but got hit by a taxi on her first mission.

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