Cats are amazing creatures. Beloved as pets all around the world, they are endlessly interesting. Many cat lovers are captivated by the seemingly crazy things that their cats do. Sometimes, cat behaviors can be completely confusing or even a little bit frustrating! But do you know why your cat acts like that? Would you like to find out? We’ve rounded up a list of 10 incredible facts about cats to help you understand your feline friend a little bit better. Check it out!
#1 Cats Are Genetically Similar to Tigers.
Domestic cats are a lot more similar to tigers than you might think. In fact, they share 95.6% of their genetic makeup with tigers! They share many behaviors with tigers, too. These shared behaviors include scent and urine marking, prey stalking, and pouncing.
#2 Cats Are Fast.
Domestic cats are speedy, just like their big cat relatives. In fact, domestic cats can run at speeds of about 30 mph over short distances! They’re so speedy that they can outrun human athletes like Usain Bolt in short races, such as a 200-meter dash!
#3 There’s a Reason Cats Like Small Spaces.
Cats are famous for fitting themselves into small spaces. The internet often refers to this phenomenon as “If I fits, I sits.” But there’s actually a reason why cats do this. In the wild, it would be unsafe to be out in the open, so cats naturally seek out small spaces in order to feel secure. They also have a natural instinct to ambush and hiding in tiny spaces gives them the perfect vantage point to observe from a distance beforehand.
#4 Cats Walk in an Unusual Way.
When cats walk, they move both of their right feet first, and then both of their left feet. This means that they move half of their body forward at once, and then the other half. This unique walking sequence is shared by only two other animals: camels and giraffes.
#5 Cat Ears Are Very Muscular.
Cats have 32 muscles in each of their ears. These muscles allow them to swivel their ears in a variety of directions in order to hone in on the exact source of a sound. Cats can also rotate their ears 180 degrees!
#6 A Group of Kittens Is Called a Kindle.
While it’s more common to call a group of kittens a “litter,” the term “kindle” can also be used. Wondering what a group of full-grown cats is called? A clowder.
#7 Cats Sleep – a Lot.
Cats typically sleep around 15 hours per day. This means that cats spend approximately 70% of their lives sleeping! What else do they do with their time? Well, another 15% of their day is devoted to grooming.
#8 Cats Have Been to Space.
The first and only cat to go to space embarked on October 18, 1963. Her name was Félicette and she was launched into space by French scientists using a Véronique AG1 rocket. She briefly experienced weightlessness and flew at around 100 miles above the Earth’s surface before a parachute descent brought her safely back to the ground.
#9 There’s a Reason Your Cat Gets the “Zoomies.”
Cats often zoom around the house at night. But why do cats engage in this mystifying (and sleep sabotaging!) behavior? Cats have an enormous amount of energy that gets pent up during the day. Combined with their natural instinct to hunt at night, it’s no wonder that “zoomies” occur! Is this cat behavior ruining your sleep? Exercising your cat during the day and feeding your cat before bed may help reduce these nighttime romps.
#10 Cat Whiskers Serve an Important Purpose.
Cat whiskers are actually very sensitive and sophisticated touch receptors. They are made of long, stiff hairs called vibrissae, which are connected to a cat’s sensitive muscular and nervous systems. A cat’s whiskers send the feline information about their surroundings, which helps them respond to changes quickly. Cat whiskers shed and grow back naturally; never cut or trim your cat’s whiskers. Without these tactile hairs, cats become very disoriented and afraid.
Want to learn more facts about cats? Check out this video all about our feline friends!
Now that you know all about your feline companion, want to learn about man’s best friend? Check out our list of facts about dogs!