9 Interesting Cat Facts
Social gathering? Try these cat facts to get the conversation flowing!
1 Wrist Whiskers
Not only do cats have whiskers on their face, but they also have a set of whiskers on the backs of their front legs. Look at your cat’s forearms, and you’ll see a few small tactile hairs growing on the back of them called carpal vibrissae, named for the Greek carpus, meaning wrist.
2 Toe Beans
Most cats have 18 toes—five toes on each of their front paws and four on their back paws. However, Polydactylism, a condition in which cats are born with extra toes, is very common. Polydactyl cats are most frequently found in Western England, Wales, Canada, and the Eastern United States. Their prevalence in those geographic areas regions is often credited to their days on transcontinental ships—polydactyl cats were thought to be lucky and were kept on sailing ships as mousers.
3 You’re Mine
Cats rub against people not only to be affectionate but also to mark out territory using the scent glands on their faces. They also mark objects in the same way.
4 Cats Ruled Ancient Egypt
In ancient Egypt, cats were revered creatures who were believed to bring good luck. They were adorned in jewelry in life and mummified after death. When a family cat died, the members of the household shaved their eyebrows as a sign of mourning and continued to mourn until their eyebrows grew back.
Cats walk like camels and giraffes. They move both right feet first, followed by both left feet, moving half of their body forward at once. Camels and giraffes are the only other animals to walk with this sequence.
In a role reversal, people are causing breathing problems in cats. One in 200 cats is believed to have asthma that is irritated by human dandruff, smoke, dusty homes, and pollen.
7 The Bolt
The average, healthy housecat can run at the remarkable speed of about 30 mph (48 km/h) over short distances. This means that a cat can easily outpace superstar runner Usain Bolt!
8 Cat Nap
Cats spend an average of 15 hours a day sleeping, with some cats sleeping up to 20 hours a day. This means cats will spend approximately 70 percent of their lives asleep!
9 House Panther
House cats share 95.6 percent of their genetic makeup with tigers, from which they diverged about 10.8 million years ago. The finding is the result of a 2013 study that sequenced the genomes of tigers, snow leopards, and lions. Like their wild cat relatives, domesticated cats stalk and pounce on prey and engage in scent and urine marking.