Last Updated: 3 months ago

Think you know everything about felines?

Cats are mysterious creatures, and if you think that you know everything about them, you’re sadly mistaken.

Believe me, I’ve been a cat owner for more than 10 years, and my felines always find a way to surprise me.

For example, I didn’t think it possible that Ronnie could climb the tree and perch on the highest, thinnest branch like an owl, but she did it.

It is an interesting thing to learn at 5 a.m. in the morning, but I digress.

Let’s see what the most surprising things that you don’t know about cats are.

Surprising Cat Facts You Need to Know

#1 Genes determine coat color

orange maine coon cat

Do you know that the color of the coat can help you determine your cat’s gender?

You just need to know two things.

First, the magnificent calico and tortoiseshell cats are almost always female. That’s because the X chromosome carries the gene for coat color. 

A male cat with a tricolored coat always has mutated chromosome XXY chromosomes instead of the ordinary XY chromosomes. That’s why male calico cats are very rare and sterile.

The second interesting thing is that male ginger cats outnumber female ginger cats. Since the gene for the orange color comes from the X chromosome, tomcats are either ginger or not. 

For females, it’s a bit more complicated. A female will be ginger when she has two X chromosomes carrying the ginger genes.

#2 There is a cat goddess

Bast the cat goddess

The Egyptians had a cat goddess called Bastet, also known as Bast. She was originally a warrior deity depicted as a lioness, but later took on the appearance of a woman with a cat head.

Bast was regarded as a protector of the house, the one who kept diseases and evil spirits away, especially from children and women.

She was very popular in Ancient Egypt, and a lot of people worshipped her.

Since all cats are sacred to Bastet, don’t anger your feline, or you’ll suffer the ire of the goddess.

#3 People used to mummify cats

Cats were sacred to the ancient Egyptians because they took care of mice, cobras, and other bothersome pests and kept them away from the crops.

They were so important that people mummified cats after their deaths. In fact, archaeologists found 300,000 mummified cats when they excavated a temple of Bast, the cat goddess.

Another interesting thing about this ancient society is that the family would often mourn the feline as a real person. And the punishment for killing a cat was death.

#4 The art of landing

cat landing on grass

You know how cats can twist in the air and land on their feet?

This ability to orient in the air is called a righting reflex. It appears when kittens are as young as three weeks old, and it’s fully developed by the time they are seven weeks old.

Cats can do such seemingly impossible acrobatics because they have a unique skeleton—no collarbone and a flexible backbone.

#5 Naps are important for kittens

kitten sleeping with her toys

There is a good reason why your kitten sleeps so much during the first few months of his life.

His body releases growth hormones only during nap time, so he needs his beauty sleep to grow big and strong.

Older cats, on the other hand, sleep so much just because they can. However, they always keep one ear open in case someone opens the fridge or a tuna can.

#6 Cats are officially evil

Cats were condemned as the devil’s servants by Pope Innocent VIII. As a result, thousands of cats were killed.

But this horrendous act wasn’t left unpunished. The rat population increased, and the Black Plague swept through Europe, killing millions of people.

The conclusion?

Don’t mess with the cats.

#7 The truth about catnip

Different ways to give your cat a catnip

I’m going to disappoint you, but not all cats like catnip.

In fact, around 30%–50% of the cat population doesn’t react to nepetalactone, the ingredient in catnip that makes felines go crazy. Moreover, the sensitivity to catnip is hereditary.

#8 Who’s my daddy?

I’m sure that you have noticed that sometimes kittens from one litter look nothing alike.

That’s because kittens from one litter can have different fathers. Mama cat will mate with several tomcats during her heat cycle, and any one of them might fertilize her eggs.

#9 The purring conspiracy

Orange Cat on sofa with a woman had gently strocking

Have you ever wondered how cats purr?

Well, you’re not the only one. Unfortunately, scientists can only speculate on the matter but can’t give us a definite answer.

However, we know that cats purr not only when they are happy and content but also when they are injured or sick to soothe themselves and ease the pain.

Cats also manipulate us by purring. When they are hungry, they use a special purring sound to make you get up immediately and feed them. This is called a “soliciting purr”.

#10 Cats “talk” to humans

Kittens meow to tell their mothers that they are hungry, bored, or scared, but adult cats don’t meow to communicate with other cats.

They use body gestures and other vocal sounds to get their point across to the other cat.

Adult cats meow only to humans to attract our attention. In other words, cats have learned that if they meow long and loud enough, they’ll get what they want.

#11 No milk for kitty

cat enjoying milk

Most cats are lactose intolerant, so drinking milk will cause tummy problems.

Other forbidden foods include garlic, onions, and chocolate. But since cats can’t taste sweet, it’s not a big deal for them.

#12 They’ve found their way into Hebrew legend!

According to Hebrew legend, Noah asked God for help with the rats that were eating the food on the ark.

In response, God made one of the lions on the ark sneeze, and out of his nose came a cat!

#13 Cats of Disneyland

After all the guests have left for the day, Disneyland in Anaheim, California, sees about 200 stray cats at night.

These cats are all in charge of the park’s pest control population.

#14 Cats spend a lot of time purring!

a cute tiger cat purring but why do cats purr when you pet them?

According to the popular Cat Fancy Magazine, a cat purrs for about 10,950 hours throughout their lifetime.

Considering cats have an average lifespan of 15 years, that is about 730 hours of purring each year!

#15 Cats in Russia have their own press secretary!

The State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, is home to 74 cats, known as the Hermitage cats.

These cats have three human caretakers as well as their own press secretary and kitchen staff.

The cats are in charge of roaming the museum and helping to deter mice.

#16 We have them beat when it comes to taste

Adult cat eating tuna can from the plate

While cats have heightened senses like smell, sight, and hearing, taste is one of their worst.

Humans have about 9,000 taste buds on their tongue, but cats only have 470 taste buds.

#17 Lives vary by country

In countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, and China, cats are said to have nine lives.

However, that number is lower in other countries. Cats are said to have seven lives in Germany, Greece, Italy, and Spain, and six lives in Turkey.

#18 They make horrible mail carriers!

In the 1870’s, the city of Liege, Belgium, hired 37 cats to deliver the mail.

Of course, this didn’t last long, as most of the cats took up to 24 hours to get the mail delivered.

#19 I’ll take one clowder of cats, please!

a group of cats sleeping together

Just like a group of dogs makes up a pack, a group of cats is known as a clowder.

#20 Cat hairballs is an ancient remedy for poison?

A cat’s hairball is called a bezoar. Harry Potter fans know that term well, as it’s what saved Ron after he was accidentally poisoned by Slughorn’s mead!

Rowling didn’t make up this magical cure. Bezoars were once thought of as antidotes to poisoning in ancient cultures.

#21 They have a wider singing range than dogs

If you’ve ever heard your cat serenade you at 3 a.m., you know they definitely have quite a vocal range.

In fact, they make about 10 times as many sounds as dogs, 100 to 10.

#22 You really do want to cross paths with a black cat!

Black Cat Breeds You’ll Fall In Love With

It seems fitting to end with this interesting bit of folklore that debunks the myth that black cats are unlucky.

See, in Britain, Japan, Australia, and many other parts of the world (aside from North America), they’re actually considered good luck!

#23 Cats Can Move Each Toe Independently

Unlike humans, who can only flex our big toe independently, cats can move each one of theirs separately.

This gives them incredible dexterity and balance while they’re climbing trees or jumping around furniture.

They can even grab small objects like toys between just two toes if they want to play fetch with you!

#24 Cats Can Walk on Tippy-Toes

Most cats walk on tippy-toes, with the pads of their feet barely touching the ground.

This is because they have long tendons in their legs, which allow them to keep all four paws off the ground at once when walking or running.

It also helps them move more quickly and quietly, making it easier for them to catch prey or escape predators.

Wrap-Up

So what do you think about these surprising facts about cats?

Do you have anything to add? Then don’t be shy about leaving us a comment.

Resources:

Cat Facts That Will Amaze You - Discover the Hidden World of Cats
Olfa T
Olfa T

Olfa knows how to get things done and has a keen business sense that others admire. She’s always on the go, coming up with new ideas! Her ability to anticipate the needs of her readers and deliver information that they want is what makes CatVills such a success. She loves cuddling her cat Picaciu. He is her inspiration.