Did you know that a lack of cats caused the Black Death?
Or that there are over 6.5 million lost cats in Europe at any given time?
Or that your cat rubs up against you not because it loves you but because it’s marking its territory?
Below are more than 100 AMAZING facts about cats we’ve compiled from across the web.
Facts about cats with jobs:
Cats are known for lazing around in the sun, occassionally getting up to scratch your sofa and have a bite to eat. However not all cats are so work shy, here are a few examples of cats that keep themselves very busy with actual jobs:
- Disneyland ’employs’ about 200 cats to hunt the real Mickey Mouses around the park at night. Strictly speaking, these cats are all feral that have found that the abundant disneyland mice make for a very nice freelance mouse catcher pay packet!
- Stubbs the cat was honorary mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska for 20 years. Stubbs was elected following a write-in campaign after voters in the local election objected to the human candidate.
- Sweet Tart, a 9-year-old cat, was the purrfect candidate in the 2018 mayoral elections in Omena, Michigan. She won in a slight margin over Diablo Shapiro, a dog who graciously accepted the office of vice mayor.
- Tama was a female calico who, with the help of her two trusty assistants Chibi and Miiko, was the station master of Kishi Train Station in Japan until her death in June 2015.
- Millie, armed with a small badge and a uniform, protects Bandai’s warehouse from rodent marauders as the official security guard of the Japanese video game company.
Facts about your cats body:
Cats have cute furry bodies, but their bodies are far more than just cute, they are capable of extrodinary physical feats and have tons of incredible abilities packing into their tiny frames that help them do all those cat activities they need to do:
- Cat tongues are actually dotted with sharp, backward-facing hooks that help them groom and eat meat.
- Cat forelimbs are attached to the shoulders by free-floating clavicle bones. This means they can twist and contort their bodies to fit through any opening their head can fit through.
- Cat whiskers can sense vibrations, relay important info about prey, helps them navigate their environment, and even help them determine if they can fit through tight openings.
- Cats are more likely to survive a fall from higher up than from shorter heights. This is because it takes them a while to adjust their bodies in mid-air. With more time to adjust, they can flip their bodies and land on their feet.
- Cats get stuck in trees because they can’t climb down head-first. All of their claws curve downward, meaning they can only crawl down backwards.
- Cats spend 14-20 hours a day sleeping, storing up as much energy as possible to attack their toy mouse through the night. By the time your cat is 15 years old he or she will have slept for up to 10 years of their life!
- Ever wonder why your cat stares at you all the time with her mouth open? It’s because they have a special organ calls a Jacobson’s Organ that lets them “taste” smells. It is especially used to analyze scents.
- Cats have the largest eyes in relation to body size of any mammal.
- A cat’s tail has 10% of its total bone structure. This helps them stay balanced when walking on fences or tree limbs.
- Due to their hardworking kidneys, cats can drink salt water.
- Male cats are more likely to be left-pawed while females are the opposite.
- Cats have 300 million neurons, about double that of dogs. This is probably why your pup is always so excited to see you and your cat doesn’t even bother getting up.
- Cat paws are extra soft so they can sneak up on prey, or you!
- A domestic cat has over 1,000 times more data storage space than an iPad…and yet they’re still perpetually foiled by doors!
- Cats can move their ears 180 degrees and at separate times, this is very useful for remaining constantly alert while on the hunt.
- A cats nose is ridged and are completely unique to them. They are basically the equivalent of a human fingerprint.
- Cats need 7 times less light to see at night than you do, which is why they run around your house in the middle of the night in pitch blackness with ease!
- It sucks for them, but cats can’t taste sweet things. The upside to this is that, unlike dogs, most cats won’t be that excited about sharing your dessert.
- Domestic cats have between 230-250 bones in their body, some of their bones can fuse together with age hence there is no exact number.
- Cats can jump up to 6 times their length…that’s about 3 times as high as a dog can jump, you may have witnessed this is you tried the scare your cat with a cucumber trick.
- Cats can hear 2 octaves higher than a human, which is how ultrasonic deterrents work….by broadcasting annoying high pitch noises which your cat will hate!
- Spaying or neutering helps felines live up to 62% longer.
- Cats normally have 18 toes.
- Cats do not have collarbones, instead their clavicle bone floats freely connected only by tendons and muscle!
- Domestic cats can run as fast as 30mph when they absolutely need to (if they are being chased), this is a couple of miles per hour faster than Usain Bolt’s top speed!
Also read our cat puns article.
Historical facts about cats:
The rise of the interner has meant that only in recent years have people become more widely aware of how great cats are, yet cat have been doing incredible things throughout history:
- There is evidence that people have had pet cats for over 11,500 years; a young wildcat was found buried with a human in Cyprus at a burial site believed to date from 9,500 B.C.
- The earliest evidence of widespread cat domestication comes from China around 5,300 years ago. Where they were used to keep the rodent population in check and stop them from eating all their grain.
- When a family cat died in Ancient Egypt, the family mourned their loss by shaving their eyebrows. We think this is one tradition that should be bought back!
- There are 8 million domestic cats in the UK, making them the UK’s second favourite pet trailing narrowly behind dogs of which there are 9 million in the UK.
- Ancient Egyptians dressed their cats in jewels and ornate costumes. Step your game up.
- Cats represented sexuality and fertility in Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians also thought they were magic animals capable of bringing good luck.
- As many as 300,000 cats were found mummified, many with their owners, at a temple dedicated to Bastet (a god depicted as a feline/human).
- Dogs were more useful to humans when we were hunter-gatherers, so cats were domesticated long after. It wasn’t until humans settled and stored surplus crops that cats began to notice how useful we were for supplying them with delicious rodents.
- The first cat show in England took place in 1871 since then the world of cats shows has grown to unimaginable proportions with the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy overseeing much of the cat show proceedings.
- Pope Gregory the 9th declared black cats to be instruments of the devil, this led to people killing off a lot of black cats…
- ..which ironically led to the growth of the vermin population and the rise of the deadly Black Plague (read our article on the history of the domestic cat for more info), a scourge carried by fleas of rats. So never take your cat for granted!
- Cardinal Richelieu, of “The Three Musketeers” fame, was a cat fanatic who had a cattery on his residence and popularized them as pets in French society. He gave his cats amazing names like Ludovic le Cruel, Ludoviska, and Gazette.
- Catherine the Great of Russia promoted her cats to guards and gave them a salary!
- Unsinkable Sam survived 3 shipwrecks during World War 2. One with the German navy and 2 with the British Royal Navy.
- The oldest cat video on YouTube was filmed way back in 1894 and features two cats boxing (shown below):
- The richest cat in history is Tommaso, a former stray from Rome. His owner died and left him $13 million dollars, including homes in Rome and Milan, you have to wonder what a cat would spend that kind of money on?
- Cat pics aren’t just for Instagram. The oldest photos of them date back to the late 19th century, including this one.
- In the 18th century, Maneki Neko, or ornate cat statues, became popular in Japan. They are thought to bring good luck and now have entire temples dedicated to them!
- A village in Taiwan was saved by cats…literally. A little coal-mining town was about to be functionally abandoned when its stray cats became an internet sensation. Now the town has a big tourism industry and things are picking up!
- The Vikings revered cats just as much as the Egyptians did. In fact, gifting a cat to a newly wedded couple was considered a good luck charm. Maybe one to remember for the next wedding you go to?
- The site where Julius Caesar was killed is now a cat sanctuary due to his love for cats – now there’s a fact worth checking out if you ever go on holiday to Italy!
- English photographer Harry Pointer took photos of cats performing human behaviours (like drinking milk) as far back as the 1870s.
- There’s a monument to Towser the cat in Scotland, who caught over 30,000 mice in her lifetime, that’s some record right!
- In Ancient Egypt, killing a cat was illegal and could carry a death sentence.
- Cats have been some of the most famous cartoon characters with Tom (the Cat) & Jerry, Slyvester the cat, Garfield, Top Cat, Cat in the Hat and many more. The first cat cartoon dates back to 1919 and featured Felix the Cat.
- Cats were able to detect Russian spy microphones hidden in the Dutch Embassy in Moscow, Russia in the 1960s. When the microphones were switched on the cats heard a click scratched at the walls, this led to the discovery of the spy microphones!
- The CIA tried to surgically implant a microphone into a cat with to learn Soviet secrets during the Cold War. Transmitters and batteries were sewn inside the cat’s chest, while a very small microphone was put inside the cat’s ear canal, and a wire was threaded along the cat’s spine and down its tail to use as an antenna – poor cats!
- In the 1870s, one Belgian town tried to use cats to deliver mail to homes. It didn’t work.
- In 1963, France sent the first cat into space. Sadly, “Felicette” was put down shortly after her return for further study.
- The cat flap was invented by Sir Isaac Newton (the scientist who discovered gravity). He was known to work on his experiments late into the night and was frequently disturbed by his cat meowing to be let in or out of the house so he invented the world’s first ever cat flap to allow himself to work without being disturbed. It consisted of a hole, a flap and a spring. Nowadays we have microchip cat flaps which can tell you if your cat is in or out and can stop strange cats from coming in however the general concept has remained largely unchanged with the hole, flap and spring remaining crucial elements.
If you’re enjoying this article we recommend you also read our post on cat riddles & conundrums.
Facts about cat behaviour:
Having a cat around your home is a sure fire way to enliven your life, the way cats behave and react to things is as entertaining as it is endearing:
- Although cats are only the UK’s second favourite pet they are by far the most popular pets in Europe with over 102,000,000 cats in the EU!
- There are estimated to be 10 million feral cats in the UK – so don’t forget to get your cat neutered and adopt your next cat rather than get a kitten (as this encourages further breeding which eventually leads to more homeless cats).
- Brits with cats are 33% less likely to have a stroke. Yes apparently owning a cat helps you relax and lowers your heart rate!
- The average house cat lives about 15 years, so remember a cat is a big responsibility which is for life not just for Christmas.
- Your cat perceives you as just another cat. Only a big, hairless one that dispenses food and gets rid of their poop.
- Owning a cat decreases your risk of heart disease.
- A litter of cats is called a kindle, sometimes groups of kittens are also known as Intrigues or Entanglements.
- In 2004 the first commercially cloned cat, little Nicky, was cloned from 17-year-old “big” Nicky at a cost of £27,000 – unsurprisingly this was a controversial move and pet cloning hasn’t taken off!
- Cats will lick an owner’s hair or massage your lap to signify they love you and consider you part of their family.
- Cats also display their love for you by kneading – it’s just a shame it hurts so much, the sharp claws often ruin the moment!
- Cats rub against you to mark their territory and show affection, yes that’s right, your cat considers you to be their territory…their property!
- Cats lick themselves after you pet them to take your scent off, this is a habit which stems from their desire to not be easily hunted down by bigger predators who may get a whiff of them.
- Your cat’s instinctual prey drive tempts it to attack your ankles when you walk, thankfully a lot of cats grow out of this habit as they age.
- Meowing is a language developed exclusively for humans. Cats communicate to each other in a variety of ways but only meow to get things from people—and also from mothers at birth.
- Ever wonder why your cat is always in a cardboard box or laundry basket? Their instincts tell them to seek out safe places for hiding, stalking prey, and sleeping and there’s nowhere that feels more secure and safe to your cat than a nice enclosed box.
- Cats will often steal things from their owners that look like prey. House cats are known to take stuffed animals and hide them.
- Pet cats bring you dead birds or mice not as gifts but to show you hunting skills they think you lack!
- Cats love to sleep on things that smell like you…even dirty laundry.
- Cats are known to cackle excitedly at birds they see from the window, perhaps preparing the jaw to bite quickly in a sneak attack.
- Cats often have a condition known as pica that makes them chew plastic or other non-food materials to control anxiety. Pica is more common in oriental breeds of cats such as Siamese cats.
- Cats stare at their owners for an extended period of time with unblinking eyes. This could be to try and control your mind, but veterinarians think it’s because they want your attention. If you want to improve your relationship with your cat try and hold their gaze while slowly blinking at them, this is a way in which cats communicate affection.
- When cats play fight, they take turns between offence and defence to make it fair.
- Punishments only work while a cat is misbehaving. A delay of a few seconds will render the punishment ineffective.
- If you notice that your cat is leaving their poo uncovered in their litter tray or freely defecating on your carpet then this is a display of aggression designed to show you that they don’t fear you.
- Cats are not all cynical loners. Most actually suffer from separation anxiety that results in behaviours like vomiting and urinating outside the litter box.
- Cats shouldn’t just be left alone by their owners. They love playtime and shared activities while they are less needy than dogs do make sure you spend time interacting with your cat every day.
- Clawing isn’t always a behavioural issue. Cats claw for numerous reasons, including sharpening their claws and relieving anxiety.
- Disciplining a cat is not always the best way to deal with their bad behaviour. Showing them a positive behaviour is actually more effective. For example, if they are clawing the couch, don’t spray them with water. Instead, give them a scratching post and encourage them to use it by placing it near the sofa (or whatever item it is that they want to scratch).
- Despite evidence to the contrary (falling from 20 stories and surviving), cats don’t actually have 9 lives, the 9 lives myth is linked to their remarkable ability to always land on their feet. However, cats definitely only live once. Do not tempt fate.
- Unlike in the cartoons, most cats are lactose intolerant.
Amazing cat records:
If you’re a cat owner you know that your cat is incredible – all cats are , however some are even more incredible than others, check out these cats that have smashed world records:
- The Egyptian Mau cat can reach a top speed of 49 km/hr.
- The largest litter ever recorded was 19 kittens! 15 survived.
- The largest feline animal is the Siberian Tiger. At 317 kg (about 700 pounds), it’s the size of a small car.
- The Maine Coone is the largest pedigreed cat at roughly 11 kg.
- The smallest pedigreed cat is the Singapura at 1.8 kg.
- The fattest cat of all time was Himmy, a cat from Australia who weighed in at a whopping 21.3 kg. Maybe his automatic cat feeder broke like this guy and he just went wild!?
- The smallest cat of all time is Tinker Toy, at a teeny 7 cm tall and 19 cm long.
- The record for most kittens from one cat belongs to Dusty, a tabby cat from Texas. She produced 420 kittens over 17 years.
- The oldest cat on record was a tabby cat from Devon. “Puss” was a whopping 36 years old when he went to cat heaven in 1939.
- The oldest known cat to give birth was “Kitty,” who mothered 2 kittens at the ancient age of 30.
Unusual & random feline facts:
Is your cat unusual and random? Maybe you’ll find a fact about them in this section:
- According to a Gallup Poll, men and women are equally likely to own cats, despite the stereotype of the crazy cat lady.
- Chocolate can be lethal to cats, avoid giving it to your cat at all costs.
- A cat’s jaw can’t move sideways.
- Cats don’t need to be put in a cat backpack to see the world, left to themselves they can navigate incredibly long distances. It is believed that they do this via the Earth’s magnetic field.
- Cats usually have 24 whiskers.
- Birmingham is the cat capital of England with over 70,000 cats.
- The Welsh love Bengal cats, the Scots love ragdolls, and the Northern Irish love Siamese.
- The district with the most pedigreed cats is West London. Surprise surprise.
- The British Shorthair cat is the most popular breed in the UK with over 46,000 microchipped breeds.
- There are approximately 40 recognized cat breeds in the world.
- Cats can make roughly 100 vocal sounds.
- There was no such thing as cat litter until 1947.
- Black cats are widely believed to be unlucky, mostly due to a decree from 1233 declaring them the incarnation of Satan! Of course, this is not true…or is it?
- Pregnant women shouldn’t keep cats in the house for fear of contracting a toxoplasmosis infection.
- Contrary to the general black cat superstition, in France, they believe a well-cared-for black cat will bring wealth. The chat d’argent is one of the few positive black cat superstitions.
- In Scandinavia, they use to believe cats helped with conceiving children.
- Italians believe that a cat sneeze is a sign of good luck.
- Sailors used to use cats to predict their voyages. If the cat meowed, they believed it would be a rough voyage.
- There are over 6.5 million lost cats in Europe at any given time.