Cats are complex and intelligent creatures that live alongside us in our homes. Whether you’re a cat lover or a curious newcomer, check out these ten fun facts about cats you might not have known.
Cats are notorious for being mysterious little creatures, much more mysterious than dogs. When a dog is feeling something, they usually give it away pretty quickly. In contrast, cats tend to hold their cards closer to their chests.
If you ever wanted to find out about our feline friends who live right alongside us, take a look at our article on the top ten fun facts about cats.
- Cats are complex and intelligent creatures that live alongside us in our homes. Whether you’re a cat lover or a curious newcomer, check out these ten fun facts about cats you might not have known.
- Tell Me The Good News’ cat statistics around the world:
- 10. Kneading – a display of love
- 9. Individual nose prints – like our fingerprints
- 8. Circus acts – talented acrobats
- 7. Flexible spines – twisting and turning with ease
- 6. The catnip high – a euphoric state
- 5. Ancient domestication – they did it to themselves
- 4. Supersonic hearing – three times higher than humans
- 3. More than 70 breeds – perhaps even more
- 2. Night vision – clever eye design
- 1. Sleepy beings – they spend most of their lives snoozing
- Other notable mentions
- Your questions answered about cats
Tell Me The Good News’ cat statistics around the world:
- In the UK, 18% of households have a pet cat.
- In the US, around 29% of households own cats.
- In South America, more than 30% of homes own a cat as a pet.
- Russia has the highest share of cat owners in the world, with a whopping 59% of Russia’s population owning a cat.
10. Kneading – a display of love
One of the most interesting characteristics of cats, typically domestic cats, is kneading. Kneading is when a cat pushes out or pulls in its front paws against a surface.
This is a sign that a cat feels at ease in its environment or shows pleasure or comfort. You’ll often find a cat kneading when they are being petted or when they are nestling into a napping spot.
9. Individual nose prints – like our fingerprints
Like human fingerprints, the nose print of each cat is completely unique. This is the same for dogs, too.
The ridges and patterns of a cat’s nose are distinct to each individual cat, making this a simple way to positively identify lost or missing cats. The more well-known fact is that their paw prints are completely unique as well.
On a similar note, a cat’s whiskers are apparently as sensitive as human fingertips and help the cat navigate.
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8. Circus acts – talented acrobats
Cats are talented acrobats, and the average cat can jump up to six times their height in a single leap. This can be anywhere from 4.9 ft (1.4 m) to 5.9 ft (1.7 m). Incredibly, some cats can jump to a height of 8 ft (2.4 m).
7. Flexible spines – twisting and turning with ease
One of the fun facts about cats is that their vertebrae are extremely flexible. They actually have particularly elastic cushioning disks between each vertebra.
These flexible spines allow cats to easily twist their bodies when they are walking and jumping from one surface to the next. It also allows them to slip through small crevices with ease.
6. The catnip high – a euphoric state
Catnip can have an extreme effect on cats and induces a euphoric-like state in the cat who encounters it.
A member of the mint family, catnip can make cats hyperactive or sometimes even aggressive. They can be seen rolling, flipping, rubbing, and spacing out as a result. These episodes usually last for around ten minutes before they lose interest.
5. Ancient domestication – they did it to themselves
Archaeologists believe that it is most likely that cats domesticated themselves more than 10,000 years ago.
This was when they first realised that they could scavenge an easy meal by staking out Neolithic sites and farms for rats and mice that were attracted to human settlements.
Ancient Egyptians widely revered cats and considered them sacred: cats appear often in Egyptian art.
4. Supersonic hearing – three times higher than humans
Due to their unique cone-shaped ears, cats have incredible hearing. Their ears can amplify sound waves up to two or three times for frequencies between 2,000 and 6,000 Hertz, about three times higher than humans can.
Their ability to rotate their ears 180 degrees means they can hear at a higher frequency than dogs.
3. More than 70 breeds – perhaps even more
In 2023, The International Cat Association (TICA) recognises 73 standardised cat breeds. However, it is believed that there are actually upwards of 100 cat breeds across the world.
The domestic cat’s first ancestor was a race of wildcats from Africa or Asia. Each breed of domestic cat has its own unique characteristics, appearance, and personality. The most commonly known is the domestic short-haired cat.
MORE ON CATS: World’s oldest cat confirmed with Guinness World Record.
2. Night vision – clever eye design
While cats cannot see in pitch darkness, the clever design of their eyes means they can see in very low light. This is largely thanks to having a higher number of rod cells.
Paired with their natural hunting instincts, this makes them a fearsome predator. They can see in light levels six times lower than a human needs.
1. Sleepy beings – they spend most of their lives snoozing
One of the fun facts about cats is that, on average, they spend 70% of their lives sleeping. On an average day, cats spend around 13 to 16 hours asleep, averaging out to around 70% of their entire lives.
In comparison, the average person spends around one-third of their lifetime asleep.
Other notable mentions
Space cat: In 1963, the first-ever and only cat went to space. While it wasn’t uncommon to send monkeys and dogs into space, Felicette, also known as ‘Astrocat’, was the first and only cat to be sent to space on 18 October 1963.
Likeness to tigers: Domestic house cats share 95.6% of their genetic makeup with tigers. They also share many of the same characteristics as tigers, like scent, urine marking, and prey stalking.
The cats of Aoshima Island: Cats are one of the most popular pets in the world, but on Aoshima Island, Japan, they outnumber residents six to one. The island has become known as “Cat Island”.
A group of cats: The collective noun for a group of cats is a clowder or a glaring. On the other hand, a group of kittens is called a kindle.
Polydactyl cats: Polydactyl cats have extra toes on each paw. American author Ernest Hemingway loved polydactyl cats, and today upwards of 50 still roam the grounds of his estate in Key West, Florida.
Presidential cats: Nine US presidents – including Abraham Lincoln, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton – had pet cats in the White House.
The wealthiest cat in the world: When British millionaire Ben Rea died in 1988, rather than give money to his family members, he left most of his £13-million fortune to his cat, Blackie.
Creme Puff: The world’s oldest cat was Creme Puff, who died in Texas at the age of 38 years and three days.
Your questions answered about cats
If you still have questions, we have you covered! In this section, we’ve compiled some of our readers’ most frequently asked questions and popular questions that have been asked online about this topic.
How do cats see humans?
Fascinatingly, many researchers believe that cats view humans as other cats. Apparently, they see us as big, clumsy, and uncoordinated fellow cats.
What colours can cats see?
Cats’ two colour-detecting cones let them see blue-violet and yellow-green wavelengths of light. They don’t see red-orange wavelengths of light. As such, similarly to dogs, they largely see in yellow, grey, and sometimes blue hues.
Do cats recognise their owner’s face?
In a 2013 study published in Animal Cognition, cats were shown pictures of their owners as well as strangers and results showed that they were largely capable of recognising their owners.