International Cat Day is an annual event celebrating the beloved felines in our lives. But how much do you really know about the kitty purring in your lap? Cats are notoriously enigmatic and rather sneaky. As such, there’s quite a bit about your average house cat that remains a mystery.
In celebration of International Cat Day, here’s a list of little-known cat facts that offer some surprising insight into our feline friends.
- Cats Can Make More Than 100 Vocal Sounds
Cats are notorious for their calls, but what many people don’t know is exactly how many sounds a cat can make. According to Pet Place, cats have dozens of unique calls at their disposal. By comparison, dogs are limited to about ten.
That might explain why one mischievous cat was seemingly busted “barking” at a neighbor’s dog.
- Your Cat Is An Expert At Physics
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, cats have a surprisingly firm grasp on how physics works. A study reported by the Daily Mail demonstrated that a cat understands cause and effect, and when sound or a lack of sound means to anticipate an object.
Experts believe a cat uses its specialized understanding of physics and cause and effect when hunting. This study might also explain why your cat has a mini-heart attack when it sees something behind it that it didn’t previously see or hear, such as a cucumber.
- “Grumpy Cat” Suffers From Achondroplasia
Want to know why internet darling and perpetual meme star “Grumpy Cat” always looks so grumpy? Encyclopedia Britannica’s Advocacy for Animals says that a condition known as achondroplasia is likely to blame.
“Grumpy Cat’s chronically punned-on scowl can be chalked up to her dwarfism, too: she also has an underdeveloped jaw, which causes her trademark frown (but does not affect her temperament, her owner reports).”
“Grumpy Cat also has disproportionately short front legs, which cause an unsteady gait and account for some of the awkward positions in which she’s seen in Internet memes.”
Although dwarfism in cats tends to increase their chances of being the next big internet sensation, animal advocates worry that the popularity of dwarf cats might lead to an increase in painfully debilitating conditions in certain cats.
- The Oldest Cat In Recorded History Was 35
Pet Place shared that the oldest living cat called England home. The feline was also positively ancient when it passed away. To understand just how old 35 is in cat years, consider the fact that most cat-to-human age calculators tap out at 20. By that age, a cat is said to be the human equivalent of a 96-year-old.
- Easter Lilies Are Toxic To Cats
You might be a fan of Easter lilies, but your cat isn’t and with good reason. Pet Place warns that these popular spring flowers are “extremely toxic to cats.” If a cat were to eat an Easter lily, it might suffer kidney failure or even die.
Your best bet is to keep the plants far away from a curious house cat to avoid any unwanted trouble.
- Cats Don’t Fear Water, But They Hate Getting Wet
People often assume that a cat’s strong aversion to water is based solely on deep-seated fear or dislike of the clear fluid. That’s not exactly correct. John Bradshaw, Ph.D., the Foundation Director of the Anthrozoology Institute at the University of Bristol and author of the book Cat Sense shared with Mental Floss that cats just hate “getting doused” with water.
“An oily coat doesn’t shed water easily, making it hard for [a cat] to return to a dry, warm state quickly. Cats are also used to feeling nimble—in water, their motions become sluggish.”
Their meows sound rather peculiar, too.
- Your Cat Ignores You Thanks To Evolution
Cats ignoring their owners has become so predictable that Geico made a commercial about it.
But why do cats ignore us? An article by the Independent explained that cats are happy to give the cold shoulder because they are “self-domesticated.”
“Historically speaking, cats, unlike dogs, have not been domesticated to obey humans’ orders. Rather, they seem to take the initiative in human–cat interaction.” This is in contrast to the history of dogs and humans, where the former has been bred over thousands of years to respond to orders and commands. Cats, it seems, never needed to learn.”
A dog will “stay” because his ancestors figured out obedience meant reward. Humans were too busy cuddling their beloved cat to ever get around to instilling that same instinct.
The house cat is an indeed an amazing animal, and there are plenty of other interesting facts to know about them. What are some of your favorite? Share your little-known cat facts in the comment section below!
[Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images]