Fun facts about cats - part 1

Fun facts about cats - part 1

dog with catWhile Dogs are thought of as “Man’s Best Friend”, it is the cat which appears to be the most loved pet. Humans seem to be more ailurophilic (cat lovers) than Cynophilic (dog lovers) since there are significantly more pet cats than there are dogs worldwide.
For example, in North America there are 73 million cats and 63 million dogs. Over 30% of households in North America own a cat.The same is true in the UK too, there are approximately 8 million cats kept as pets in 20% of UK households!
There are many more facts that make cats fascinating creatures, and we have illustrated a few below;
  • Kittens are born blind, deaf and with a poor sense of smell. Their eyes are shut and their ears folded over
  • They normally open up their eyes around seven to ten days after birth but in some cases open them after just two days.
  • Every kitten has blue eyes at birth, but the shade normally changes within twelve weeks.
  • By the end of week 2, they are able to hear and their milk teeth start to come through.
  • Kittens eventually develop 26 temporary teeth, which they lose when they are about 6 months old. Adult cats have 30 teeth. 

  • Kittens sleep about 18 hours a day during which a growth hormone is released to help them develop
  • Cats do not have sweat glands, they can only sweat through their paws.
  • Cats have five toes on their front paws, but only four toes on their back paws
  • Female cats tend to be right pawed, while male cats are more often left pawed
  • Cats spend around a third of their lives grooming themselves.

  • cat-friend-animal-pets-39311Cats are very sensitive to vibrations. They can detect earthquake tremors up to 15 minutes before humans.
  • A cat's jaw can only move up and down; they cannot move them side to side, like dogs and humans which means they can’t chew and grind their food.

However, their teeth are pointed rather than flat and so, instead of grinding their food, they cut it in to chunks, which they then swallow whole.

  • The cat’s tongue contains backward facing spines (called papillae) at the tip which act as a hairbrush when the cat is grooming itself
  • A cat has 25% fewer taste buds than humans and they are located only on the tip of their tongue.

  • Cats can see in a sixth of the light than humans can but they cannot see in total darkness. In order to take advantage of all available light, they have a layer of cells at the back of their eyes - called the tapetum lucidum - which collects and reflects light.
  • Cats have elliptical pupils unlike our round ones. An elliptical pupil can open and close much faster than a round one. This means that cats' eyes can adjust changes in light much faster than ours. Their pupils are also much bigger, which allows more light to enter in poor lighting conditions, which again improves their night vision.
  • Cats also have a wider peripheral view - about 200 degrees, compared with humans' 180-degree view - however, they cannot see directly beneath their noses.
  • Cats have a third eyelid called a nictitating membrane that is white/transparent which removes debris from the surface of the eye and distributes tears. You can sometimes see it when the cat is sleepy or unwell.
  • Cats can see in colour but not very well. They are able to see the difference between blues and violets better than between colours near the red end of the spectrum
  • A cat has, on average, twenty-four whiskers. The whiskers can detect slight changes in air current around objects which help cats move around in darkness
  • Cats have the largest eyes of any mammal, in relation to their size

  • A cat's has a sense of smell that is 14 times stronger than humans.
  • Cats have a similar range of hearing as humans on the low end of the scale, but they are able to hear much higher-pitched sounds – 1.6 octaves above us and 1 octave above the range dogs are able to hear
  • There are 32 muscles that control the outer ear of a cat, which means they can independently rotate their ears 180 degrees
  • Cats can judge the location of a sound being made one yard away within 3 inches
It is incredible that such a diverse species can be so similar under the skin. We’ll be sharing more facts about cats soon, but in the meantime if you have any queries or concerns about your cat we might just have some information to help in our dedicated advice area. However, if you are concerned about your pet we do suggest that you always contact your veterinary surgery first!