Bizarre Cat Facts: Strange & Unusual Things About Kitties
Q: Can cats digest seawater?
A: Unlike people, cats’ kidneys clean the salt out of the seawater allowing kitties to use the resulting water free of salt. So, yes they can.
Q: Can cats taste sweet things?
A: Blamed on a genetic mutation, cats don’t have a sweet tooth and cannot taste the sweetness.
Q: Do cats have thumbs?
A: Nope. Some felines have extra toes (called polydactyl cats) that look like thumbs, but, in fact, are not.
Q: What are some facts about polydactyl cats?
A: Cats have extra toes because of a genetic mutation.
A: Polydactyl cats are also called Hemmingway cats. The prolific author writer had many cats on his estate with about 50% having extra toes.
A: President Theodore Roosevelt’s cat, Slippers, was
A: According to Guinness World Records, the cat with the most toes was Jake, an Orange Tabby from Canada. He had 28 fully functional toes with each toe having a claw, pad and bone structure.
A: Maine Coon cats are known for having many toes. At one time, about 40% of this breed had extra toes.
A: Polydactyl cats were great onboard ship mousers and were able to keep good balance on rough seas all because of their extra toes. This led to them being considered good luck on sea faring vessels.
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A: Being polydactyl is usually harmless to the cat. However, a different condition called feline radial hypoplasia, which commonly features extra toes, can cause twisted and underdeveloped forelegs.
A: Some polydactyls develop “mitten paws.” These feet develop when the extra toes are fused to the medial side of a cat’s paw and a thumb-like toe appears.
A: Polydactyl cats are also known as having “pancake feet,” “snowshoe paws,” and being “big-foot cats.”
A: Because some polydactyl cats were welcome on ships, they were spread across the seas to Canada, Eastern America, England and Wales.
Q: What is the fur inside cats’ ears called?
A: They are called “ear furnishings” and function to insulate the ear from extreme temperatures, loud noises, dirt and debris.
Q: Can cats hear dolphins?
A: In theory, felines can hear the ultrasonic communications dolphins (and rats) make.
Q: Are the wrinkles on a cat’s nose (called the leather) unique to each kitty?
A: Yes, they are like our fingerprints — each one is different.
Q: Why do cats sometimes miss the food directly in
front of them?
A: Because cats cannot see right below their noses.
Q: Who invented the cat door?
A: Sir Isaac Newton came up with the cat door because his kitty, Spithead, kept disturbing his light inventions by coming in and out of the house.
Q: When do kittens start to dream?
A: Kittens begin dreaming at approximately one week old.
Q: Why do kittens sleep so much?
A: Young cats sleep most of the day because the growing feline needs rest after growing and playing most of their waking hours. Also, kittens release a growth hormone only when sleeping.
Q: How much do cats sleep?
A: Cats nap for about 2/3 of its life. So at nine yeas of age, cats have only been awake for three of those nine years.
Q: Does neutering a tomcat extend his life?
A: Yes. Fixing males can result in increasing their life expectancy by two to three years.
Q: Are cats right or left-pawed?
A: Males tend to be left-pawed and females right.
Q: How do cats sweat?
A: Cats perspire through the pads on their paws.
Q: Do cats have only two eyelids?
A: No, cats have a third eyelid known as a “haw.” This third eyelid is usually only seen when the kitty is sick.
Q: Was the fairy godmother in the original “Cinderella” a kitty?
A: Yes, the original Italian version featured a cat godmother.
Q: Do all Siamese cats develop dark markings?
A: Not all but most. In the 1930s, Russian scientists found that Siamese felines did not develop dark markings if the cats were kept in extremely warm rooms.
Q: How often do cats talk to humans?
A: It depends on the cat. But the more humans talk to cats the more the cats talk.
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Q: How many vocal sounds do cats make?
A: Well over one hundred.
Q: At what frequency do cats purr? A: Cats purr at about 26 purrs/second — about the same as a diesel engine idling.
Q: Do older felines experience dementia like senior humans?
A: Yes, some cats do. It can start when cats become seniors at about eight years of age. Some will walk about the home meowing in confusion. There is no cure but owners can comfort their kitty with affection and an extra blanket.
Q: What is the technical term for a cat’s hairball?
A: A bezoar.
Q: Who was the first cat in space?
A: Felicette, a French cat, was the first feline blasted into space. French scientists implanted electrodes into her brain to send neurological signals back to them. The trip was a success as Felicette survived.
Q: How fast can a cat run at top speed?
A: About 31 mph (49 km/hr) but only in short bursts.
Q: What was the largest litter born to a cat mother?
A: The biggest litter was 19 kittens. Unfortunately, only 15 survived.
Q: Is it true that if the Ancient Egyptians caught someone smuggling cats out of Egypt the punishment was death?
A: Yes, however Phoenician traders successfully got cats out of Egypt and sold them to the affluent in the big cities of the day.
Q: What is a cat’s brain like emotionally?
A: A cat’s brain is like a human’s emotionally. Felines and people have identical areas of the brain that control emotion.
Q: Why do some Siamese cats have crossed eyes?
A: Siamese pussycats have crossed eyes because nerves from the right side of the brain connect with the left eye and nerves from the left side of the brain connect with the right eye, causing double vision. The cats try to compensate by crossing their eyes.
Q: How high can cats jump?
A: Cats are able to leap up to five times their height in one spring of the hind legs.
Q: Have cats been cloned?
A: Yes. The first commercially cloned cat, Little Nicky, cost $50,000.00.
Q: From the Bible, was Adam’s wife, Lilith, transformed into a vampire kitty?
A: According to Spanish-Jewish folklore, Lilith morphed into a black vampire cat and would suck the blood from sleeping babies.
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Q: What is the smallest species of cat?
A: The Black-footed Wildcat is the smallest cat species. Females only weigh as much as 2.5 pounds (1.2kg).
Q: Can cats move their jaws sideways?
A: Nope, this prevents felines from chewing large pieces of food. For big morsels, cats use their back teeth to sheer through their meal.
Q: How flexible is a cat’s back?
A: Cats have 53 loose fitting vertebrae that allow them great flexibility, much more than humans who only have 34 vertebrae.
Q: In Japan, how are cats thought of when they die?
A: According to Japanese myth, cats have the ability to become super spirits when they die. In Buddhism, cats are the temporary resting place of deceased spiritual people.
Q: Who is the fattest cat on record?
A: A 47-pound (21kg) fat cat from Queensland, Australia holds the record. His name was Himmy and died at age 10.