cats, cat facts, the kitten life, facts about cats

Cats are pretty great. And we here at The Kitten Life are big fans.

We get asked on a regular basis what The Kitten Life means, and what it has to do about the stuff we blog about, which more often than not has nothing to do with kittens.

In 2015, Nicole and I spent a few months together in Europe. During our time in Barcelona, the Canary Islands, the South of France, and Paris, we referred to one another as “kittens.”

As in,  “let’s kitten away from these boys,” or “let’s kitten around Barceloneta,” or “let’s be house kittens this weekend,” and so forth. And wouldn’t you know it, was an available domain name to attach to our blogging endeavours.

But that stuff aside, both of us do love cats quite a bit. We’ve been SPCA foster mamas since we moved to Montreal in June 2016, and we recently adopted our fourth cat to his forever home. We have a deep-rooted affinity for these soft, soft, purr-machines. Their unabashed pleasure-seeking is strangely similar to our own, and neither party is ashamed to admit it.

And so, let us present to you a list of interesting facts about this elegant, smart and manipulative house pet.

The Kitten Life's Guide to Cats

  • 38 million US households have a cat (it's the most popular pet).
  • Cats as domesticated animals has been traced back to the fertile crescent (10,000 years ago).
  • The medieval Egyptian zoologist Al-Damir (1344–1405) wrote that the first cat was created when God caused a lion to sneeze, after animals on Noah's ark complained of mice.
  • In Islamic tradition, the stripes some cats have on their foreheads are believed to mark the touch of Muhammad's fingers.
  • Cats arrived in North America with Columbus.
  • The cat is nature's very own Inspector Gadget, with a svelte body equipped with a variety of cool capabilities that make the feline truly fascinating.
  • Virtually all calico and tortoiseshell cats are female. This is because the genes for those colours are linked to the X-chromosome.  Males have only one X-chromosome, so they can have either black or orange fur, but not both at the same time. Females have 2 X-chromosomes, so a female cat can have both colours in her coat at the same time.
  • Their whiskers serve as a "GPS," allowing them to sense space and navigate in the dark. To cut their whiskers is to limit their information processing abilities.
  • Their paws act like sponges and allow them to clean themselves in spots they can't reach with their tongues.
  • Most cats have a "dominant paw," just like humans. 
  • According to estimates by the American Bird Conservatory, cats kill hundreds of millions of birds every year in the US.
  • The Egyptians revered cats, but in the middle ages the status of cats fell, as many thought they were tools of satan or witches.
  • Cats that purr can't roar and cats that roar can't purr.
  • Adult cats only meow to communicate with humans.
  • Cats can change their meow to manipulate a human. They often imitate a human baby when they need food.
  • House cats bury their poop, while wild cats like lions and tigers, don't. This is because the "chemical signals" in their excrements are used to mark territory. In a home, your cat knows you're the owner of the space, so they bury their poop out of respect to your superiority.
  • Ever been head butted by a cat? Cats have scent glands all over their body and they use them to leave a scent mark on objects. Bunting spreads the cat’s unique odour “signature” upon whatever she rubs. Sharing this scent quickly identifies you, other family members and objects with a familiar odour. 
  • Cats lick themselves to get your scent off.
  • The technical term for a cat’s hairball is a “bezoar.”
  • A group of cats is called a “clowder or a "glaring."
  • On average, cats spend two-thirds of every day sleeping. That means a nine-year-old cat has been awake for only three years of its life.

What's your favourite cat facts? Tell us in the comments!