If you are you an expert on felines, you probably already know how high cats can jump, how many toes they have, and how many whiskers. But you may not know what common misconceptions about cats are nothing but myths, and which facts about cats are absolutely true. Read on to find out the difference between cat myths and cat facts.
1. Cat Myth: Cats only purr when they are happy.
Cats may also purr when they’re experiencing anything intense, even pain.
2. Cat Truth: Cats know what mood you’re in.
Cats are sensitive to your moods, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they care.
3. Cat Myth: Cats are concerned when you’re sick and feverish.
Actually, they snuggle up against you when you have a fever because you are one hot mama. Or papa.
4. Cat Myth: Cat’s whiskers have no real purpose, but they are cute.
The 24 whiskers a cat has are used to measure distances. So if your cat is overweight and wider than her whiskers, she might get stuck in the cat door.
5. Cat Truth: You can tell when a cat is ready to attack.
When the cat’s hair stands up in one long streak along its tail and spine, Halloween cat is here and ready to attack. But when the cat hair stands on end all over, you’re dealing with scaredy cat, not Halloween cat.
6. Cat Myth: All cats have 4 toes on their back paws, and five on their front paws.
There are some rare cats called “polydacti” with six or seven front and back toes.
7. Cat Fact: If you love cats, you’re an “ailurophile.”
Ailuros is cat in Greek.
8. Cat Fact. A group of a kittens is a kindle.
Long before Amazon used this term, a kitty klatch was called a kindle.
9. Cat Truth: Cats can jump 5 times as high as they are tall.
They have to jump that high, because they love the view from high places. Remember, leopards and jaguars even sleep high up in trees. Even if cats fall or are pushed (you wouldn’t!) they land on their feet, because of a nifty inner ear canal which regulates balance.
10. Cat Myth: Cats have brains that are completely different from ours. .
Cats’ brains are more like ours than they are like dogs’. The regions in cat and human brains responsible for emotion are identical.
11. Cat Fact: A group of adult cats is a clowder.
If you have never heard of a big group of cats being called a clowder, maybe it’s because adult cats don’t hang out in big groups.
12. Cat Truth: Cats have unique nose prints; we have unique fingerprints.
The ridges on kitty’s nose make a one of a kind pattern, although it’s difficult to get her to ink-stamp it for criminal investigations.
13. Cat Myth: Cats don’t need as much protein as dogs do.
Surprise, cats need 5 times more protein than dogs do. That’s in ratio to total food consumption. Does not mean she gets 5 hamburgers for every one the dog eats.
14. Cat Myth: If you can feel your cat’s ribs, shame on you, she is too skinny.
It’s the other way around. If you cannot feel her ribs, she’s too fat.
15. Cat Fact: Domestic cats are able to sprint up to 31 miles per hour.
Incredible, isn’t it? To test this theory, have a race.
16. Cat Truth: Cats can be in danger at Christmas.
It’s very dangerous to have potted poinsettias where cats can get into them. Poinsettia leaves are poisonous to cats.
17. Cat Myth: A cat who bites you is angry.
Actually, if kitty bites you when you rub her tummy, she is probably expressing pleasure. Since she has 30 teeth, you have to decide if it’s worth it.
18. Cat Truth: Cats are only awake 2 out of every 7 years.
OK, if cats spend about 16 hours a day sleeping, then a 7 year old cat has slept for five years. Do the math and don’t tell me if I’m wrong.
19. Cat Truth: Cats talk with their tails.
Tail quivering? Your cat loves you. Thrashing? She’s mad. Wagging? She’s conflicted (e.g. wants to go out, but sees it’s raining.) Normal? She’s using her tail for balance. Straight up? Because she can. Domestics are the only cat species who can carry their tails vertically. All other felines have tails that go straight out or between their legs.
20. Cat Myth: Pharaoh had no use for cats and tried to banish them.
To the contrary, Pharaoh declared that cats were “demigods” so people would revere and protect them. Why? In ancient Egypt, they needed rat control. Pharaoh wanted lots of cats around to protect his granaries. Killing a cat became punishable by death! Even if the cat died naturally you had to get the priest to swear it on his sarcophagus. (Or whatever.)
21. Cat Myth: The cat population is diminishing because of increased traffic and other dangers.
Hardly! There are about 500 million domestic cats in the world, but we don’t know who counted them. In America, the population grew to 68 million by 1986. Supposedly there are 33 different breeds.
22. Cat Myth: Most cats are right-pawed.
Some cats are right-pawed, some are left-pawed, one side or the other being dominant. Contrary to popular opinion, only 40 per cent of cats are ambidextrous.
23. Cat Possibility: Scientists who test cats for ambidexterity use pendulums.
Think about it. How do they test cats for ambidexterity? If they use pendulums, they may end up with cages full of hypnotized cats. Maybe that’s where we get the word “catatonic.” (Not.) But do be careful if you swing a little pendulum in front of your cat to see which paw she bats it with. She could regress and go back to a past life in which she was a hippopotamus.
24. Cat Myth: Cats like to wrap around your legs because you’re so wonderful.
No, they rub against people and other cats because they are “marking” them with their scent glands! Generally, they like to pick the one person in the room who has the worst cat allergies to mark. Cats have scent glands between eye and ear, but also near the base of their tails.
25. Cat Fact: Cats walk by moving both left feet at once, then both right feet at once.
Cats do it; giraffes and camels do that too. It gives them the advantage of being fast, agile and quiet. Come to think about it, who ever heard of a noisy camel? Smelly maybe, not noisy.
Bonus Cat Fact: Cats spend 30 per cent of their time grooming.
And not only that, they lose lots of fluid through their saliva because of their personal hygiene habits. Almost as much fluid is lost grooming as it is in the kitty litter box.
Even more cat facts.