Cats, like pets, are unique. If you are also a cat lover, in this article we will reveal 10 facts about cats that you might not know. They will make you look at your furry beauty with different eyes.
Cats never meow at other cats, only at people.
This first fun fact about cats is something you may never have realized: cats don't meow at each other.
Meowing is a form of communication (like a cat's whiskers, tail, or fur). Kittens often use it to ask their mother for food, warmth, or attention. However, they lose the habit of vocalizing as they begin to mature.
Adult wild cats rarely meow, but we all know that domestic cats often do so throughout their lives. Yes, some cats meow louder than others, but in general they all make sounds when they are around their human owners.
This is the key: they don't meow at each other, they meow at us. But why?
It is generally believed that cats experiment with humans, which is a kind of continuation of their "puppy" age. In it, the owner, you, play a role equivalent to that of a mother.
This fact, and the fact that by living with us, felines have learned to ignore them when they meow or purr, is what keeps them meowing at us when they need something. In other words: meowing at another cat is useless, but meowing at a human is an effective strategy for getting what you want. If you have two cats at home, take a look and see.
As for what a cat wants when it meows, the answer is... it depends on the circumstances because there can be many different reasons. Look closely at your furry friend, pay attention to the context, and you will understand what she is trying to tell you.
Cats don't always fall on their feet (but almost)
Situations where cats fall to the floor are common. The key point is the so-called straightening reflex. This reflex allows cats to adjust their body position based on the direction of the fall. Do you want to know how it works?
When an animal starts to fall, the inner ear determines the direction of the fall and the position of the head in relation to it and reports this to the brain. At this point, the cat's body turns, the legs stretch, and the spine arches. At this point, the cat's body turns, the legs stretch, and the spine arches. All this happens in a matter of seconds. In this way, the cat manages to fall to its feet, and the body is ready to absorb as much energy as possible from the impact. At the same time, the spine and head are protected.
Of course, there are circumstances that can cause the righting reflex to fail. For example, less experienced, older, or hearing-impaired cats may react more slowly or turn their bodies poorly.
There are thorns in the penis of cats (as you hear)
The penis of cats is one of the strangest parts of their anatomy, and the main reason is that the glans is covered with several keratin spines (up to 200) called spicules.
These spines point backwards, so penetration itself is not painful for the female, but removal of the penis is generally considered to be painful.
During intercourse, spicules perform several functions: they clear the seminal canal of sperm from previous males (which is useful, given that females often mate during estrus), stimulate the male to ejaculate faster, and keep the female “on the hook” until the very end.
The spikes on a cat's penis serve many useful functions, although they are thought to make copulation painful for the female. In addition, scraping the walls of the vagina stimulates the female to ovulate, and the more times sexual intercourse is repeated, the more effective it is.
By the way: many mammals, including monkeys such as chimpanzees, also possess spicules. And everything seems to indicate that they were in the ancestors of people millions of years ago.
Cats can jump five times their own height
Cats can't compete with human athletes, and that's a good thing, because they would have a chance of winning in certain disciplines. For example: on average, cats can jump five times their own height!
For a 1.70m person, this would be the equivalent of jumping 8.5m without running and without any help. Can you imagine it?
This is one of the most amazing facts about cats but is best understood by looking at their anatomy.
For starters, a cat's hind legs can exert a lot of muscle force relative to the animal's size, which creates a spring-like effect when released. This, combined with a light skeleton and a very developed cerebellum, allows for quick and precise movements.
Cats can't taste sweet things
Your cat, like all felines (tigers, leopards, etc.), has a curious limitation to its taste buds: it cannot taste sweet. It lacks receptors that capture sugar.
Your cat will remain indifferent to any offer of sweet foods, and this is simply because they are like nothing else. The exception, of course, will be all foods that contain fat in addition to sugar.
Cat whiskers are like biological radar
Cat whiskers are much more than just an ornament or a curious detail. In fact, we could almost say that they endow them with superpowers.
Unlike ordinary hairs, vibrissae are filled with nerves and have a sensory receptor at the tip called a proprioceptor.
Whiskers, or vibrissae, help a cat navigate its environment in a variety of ways. They should never be cut.
Vibrissae are undoubtedly one of the greatest curiosities about cats: they help measure enclosed spaces before the animal enters, give an idea of the environment in conditions of poor visibility, capture vibrations and changes in temperature and humidity, and help develop the righting reflex.…
Cats naturally grow whiskers from time to time, but what you should never do is trim them: by doing so, you would severely limit the cat's ability to perceive and interact with the environment.
We have been living with cats for over 9500 years (ie: very little time)
The earliest evidence of the coexistence of cats and humans dates back at least 9500 years: a tomb in Cyprus in which a man was found buried next to a cat.
It seems like a long time, but it's not that much when you consider that according to various studies, dogs were with us from 15,000 to 30,000 years ago.
Dogs have long been crossbred and selected to enhance certain desirable characteristics - sociability, attention, obedience, etc., while cats have only recently been introduced to us and have not been modified as extensively.
As a result, dogs are very different from wolves as they were thousands of years ago, but cats are more or less as they were in the wild.
This fact, combined with the natural characteristics of each species, makes dogs go out of their way to please us, while cats…well, rather, live on friendly terms with us. Although this does not mean that they do not like us, which is manifested, for example, when cats "warm up".
By the way: one of the first civilizations that valued cats was Ancient Egypt.
Your cat has three eyelids
You may think: where is the third one for me to see? It's hidden (and that's a good sign): A cat's third eyelid, also called the nictitating membrane, is a translucent, pink-colored membrane that isn't normally visible but plays an important role in protecting a cat's eyes. from dirt, foreign bodies and microorganisms.
Why do we say that this is a good sign that it is not visible? Because the normal position of the nictitating membrane is between the eye and the eyelids. When the third eyelid remains visible, it is almost always a sign that the cat has a health problem.
If your cat's third eyelid, nictitating membrane, is visible, this is a bad sign: it usually indicates that she has some kind of health problem.
The eyes of a cat hide many more interesting secrets. But we will talk about this another time.
No, cats are not nocturnal animals.
It is often thought that cats are more active at night than during the day, but the truth is that they are not actually nocturnal animals: they are crepuscular. Their busiest hours are sunrise and sunset.
Young kittens tend to be more active during the hours of darkness, as that is when their hunting instincts tell them they are more likely to catch prey.
Cats are indeed crepuscular animals, although kittens are much more active at night.
Over time, cats adapt to the daily routine of their owners, but their nature is what it is.
That's why your cat usually wants to play more when you start thinking about going to bed (which can be a problem if you usually sleep with her), or wakes you up in the afternoon, yes, in the afternoon, during the classic cat "happy hours” at 4-5 am.
However, be aware that if your cat spends the night meowing more than usual and disturbing your rest, she may be trying to tell you something.
Cats spend almost their entire lives sleeping and grooming.
The last of our cat facts can only be seen by closely observing your pet for a few days. Because you already know that cats love two things in particular: grooming and sleeping. But you may not have thought about how much time they actually spend doing each of them...
In sleep, a cat can spend up to 15 hours a day, or, what is the same, two-thirds of its life time. As for grooming, a cat will devote 30 to 50% of their time to grooming.
The number of hours per day spent on each of these two things will depend on each individual cat, and of course not every day will be the same. But the point is clear: without taking into account the time she spends sleeping and cleaning, your cat has 10-20% of her life left.