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The Domestic Cat Is the Most Popular Pet in the World

The first of our cat facts shows that domestic cats (also known as Felis catus or Felis silvestris catus) are the most popular pets in the world, and that they are also the most common house pet in the US by some distance. There are a staggering 88 million pet cats in the US, compared to only 74 million dogs. However, only 11.5% of people say when asked that they consider themselves “cat people”.

Cats Today Live Longer than Ever Before

The average life expectancy of cats has risen dramatically over the past few decades, according to the most recent cat facts. In the early 1980s, the average life span of a cat was around 7 years, but by 1995, it had risen to 9.4 years. In 2014, the average was much higher: 12 – 15 years.

But cats have been known to live much longer than the average life expectancy. There are reports of cats surviving well into their 30s, and the oldest documented cat, a pet named Crème Puff, died at 38 years of age.

Cats Can Measure Up to Almost 49 Inches

Cat facts show that an average house cat typically weighs between 8.8 and 11.0 pounds. They measure about 9–10 inches in height and 18.1 inches in length, with their tails averaging around 11.8 inches.

But not all cats are ordinary. Very small cats can weigh less than 4 pounds, while some breeds can exceed 25 pounds. As far as records go, the world smallest cat is only 2.75 inches tall, and the lightest cat ever recorded only weighed 3 pounds. The world record for the largest cat is 47 pounds. And the longest cat? It measured an astonishing 48.5 inches long, which is about the height of a 7-year-old child.

Cats Spend the Majority of Their Time Sleeping or Grooming Themselves

Cat facts show that cats spend around 70% of their lives sleeping; the average amount of sleep they get per day ranges between 12 and 16 hours, while some cats have been known to sleep as much as 20 hours in a 24-hour period.

So what do they do with the rest of their time? They spend it grooming themselves, of course! The average cat spends around 30-50% of its awake time tending to its cleaning rituals. And why do cats clean themselves this meticulously? It’s partly to get the scent of people off their fur. It is not that they don’t love us – they just aren’t very big fans of our smell, it seems.

A Common Domestic Cat Can Run Faster than Usain Bolt

They may seem a little bit lazy due to the fact they spend around two-thirds of their lives fast asleep, but even the most placid domestic cats can run quite fast if they want to. While the world’s current fastest runner’s top speed is only 27.4 mph, a domestic cat can exceed this by reaching a top speed of 29.8 mph. Perhaps we should consider sending a cat to the next Olympic Games?

Cats Don’t Only Cause Allergies, They Also Suffer from Them

Even though many people suffer from allergies caused by cats’ hair, they often also return the favor to their cats. Feline asthma, which affects around 0.5% of all cats, is on the rise, and the human lifestyle is to blame for that. Environmental factors such as cigarette smoke, dust, dandruff, pollen and certain types of cat litters have all been known to trigger allergies in certain cats.

Cats Are More Similar to Humans than They Are to Dogs

Even though we often think of cats and dogs as very similar creatures, the reality is that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Research shows that a cat’s brain is 90% similar to a human’s, and more similar to a human’s brain than to a dog’s. Cats and humans also have nearly identical emotion-controlling sections of the brain.

If we are so similar to cats, why do we find it more difficult to communicate with them than with dogs? Cats are known as more independent and free-spirited, while dogs are happy to come running every time we call. Research shows that the problem is not that cats don’t hear us or don’t recognize our voices – it is that they choose to ignore us because they are simply too cool to care.

Garfield Is Not the Only Fat Cat Out There

Humans are not the only species which is currently facing an obesity epidemic; research shows that around 55% of all cats in the US are overweight. This means that approximately 47 million of American cats should be put on a diet right away.

But obesity is not the only health problem that cats have, according to cat facts studies. They are susceptible to over 250 hereditary disorders, many of which are similar to human diseases. Cats can get FIV, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, which is a genetic relative of HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus. They can get the cat’s form of Alzheimer’s disease and can also suffer from a condition called retinitis pigmentosa, which affects humans, too.

Male Cats Have Barbed Penises with over 120 Backward-Pointing Spines

This is probably one of the scariest cat facts, but there are different theories surrounding why this is actually a good thing for the cat species. One of the theories is that the spines can encourage and stimulate ovulation in the female cat, which is necessary for a successful conception. Another theory says that the spines provide additional stimulation for the male cats, which makes mating more attractive for them; this consequently ensures that the genes are passed along and that the species continues.

The third theory says that the spines are there to keep the penis in place during the mating process, and the fourth theory claims that the spikes help clean the female cat’s vagina of the sperm left there from the previous mating, which gives the last mating male a higher chance of an offspring.

The spikes are also responsible for most of the noise that we typically hear during the mating season of cats. When the male cat pulls its penis out of the female cat’s vagina, she utters a loud yowl; the painfully sharp backward-pointing spines are responsible for that.

Purring Is Not Necessarily an Expression of Happiness

While cats’ purring is universally understood as something that conveys happiness, pleasure and well-being, that is not always the case. Sure, cats often purr when they are content, but that is not the only occasion when they express their feelings by purring.

Cats also purr when they are giving birth, when they are nursing their offspring, or when they are sick, wounded or stressed. Scientists thus believe that cats don’t only use purring as a means of communication, but also as a source of self-healing. The frequency of cat purring (between 25 and 150 Hertz) is known to improve bone density as well as promote healing, so cats could be using another one of their super powers to help themselves get better.

Cats with Spots Have a Genetic Mutation

Have you ever wondered why some cats have spots, some have stripes and some have neither? Recent research has shown that there is a gene called Taqpep that is responsible for the patterns on a cat’s fur. Cats with spots have a mutation on both copies of this gene, while striped cats do not. There is also another gene, known as the Edn3, and variations in this gene also influence the patterns and marks on a cat’s fur.

Contrary to Popular Belief, Cats Are Often Lactose Intolerant

Even though cats are widely known as milk enthusiasts, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Research has shown that adult cats are often lactose intolerant, so we shouldn’t be feeding them regular milk. You can purchase special cat milk from pet stores, however, that is suitable for your feline friends. Raw fish is also not the best choice for their meals – which means that almost all the cartoons we have ever seen have lied to us!

Cats Can Be Great for Our Overall Health

Cats are not only great company, they also have an excellent influence on our overall health. Research has shown that owning a cat can reduce the risk of having a stroke or a heart attack by one third.

If you would like to enjoy the benefits of living with a cat without having to bother with the less attractive parts of cat ownership, such as cleaning their litter box, you should try and find your nearest cat café. Cat cafes are places where you can go to have a coffee or tea while hanging out with cats that live there.

No Matter What You Have Been Told, Cats and Dogs Actually Can Get Along

Cats and dogs are notorious for not getting along and for being natural enemies – but this is not completely true. Sure, many cats and dogs do have a problem when it comes to making friends with each other, but that can be prevented. Studies have shown that cats and dogs can get along just fine if they are introduced to each other at an early age. And how early is still early enough? Around six months for cats and a year for dogs are generally the best ages.

Cats Don’t Have Much of a Sweet Tooth

Cats are so sophisticated it would make sense for them to enjoy delicious chocolate dishes and yummy desserts, but that is not the case. It is not that they do not like sweets – they just cannot appreciate them fully because of a defect in the gene that is responsible for a part of the sweet taste receptor.

However, whatever cats miss out on sweets, they make up for with an extra organ that enables them to taste air. With some breathing control, cats are actually able to sense the taste of the air around them, which is definitely something a lot of people envy them.

There Are Many Differences between Cat People and Dog People

The first and most obvious difference is of course that cat people prefer cats and dog people get along better with dogs. But cat facts also show that cat people are 11% more likely to be introverted, but that they are still more open to new experiences than a typical “dog person”.

Male cat owners are also luckier when it comes to love; perhaps this can be attributed to the fact that they are perceived as more sensitive. Cat owners are also 17% more likely to hold a graduate degree and 25% more likely to pick George Harrison as their favorite Beatle. And even though women are stereotypically more commonly associated with befriending cats, recent polls have shown that men and women are equally likely to own a cat.

Cat Videos Have Been around since 1894

Cute cat videos are an extremely popular form of entertainment nowadays, but they are in no way a new thing. The oldest cat video on YouTube was recorded in 1894; of course, it wasn’t uploaded to the internet back then! But cats don’t only like to perform in videos; cat facts show that they like watching them, too. At least, that what an accused Florida man said in 2009, while trying to convince the authorities that his cat had downloaded illegal material onto his computer, not him.

Cats Have a Number of Super Powers

A cat can jump up to six times its length, can hear sounds as high as 64 kHz (in comparison, humans can only hear sounds as high as 20 kHz), can move its ears 180 degrees, and can also move each of its ears separately. Cats can also survive falls from extreme height – there are records of cats surviving falls of over 32 stories, which equals more than 1,000 feet.
Cats can also use their whiskers to check whether they can fit through a narrow space, and they have a free-floating clavicle bone that enables them to squeeze through very narrow spaces. They also have an uncanny ability to manipulate humans; among other things, they are able to change their meow to imitate a human baby in order to get attention from their owners.

Cats Are Actually Smarter than Dogs in Many Ways

Cat facts show that the average cat can make over 100 different sounds, whereas dogs are usually limited to around 10. However, cats have a lower social IQ compared to dogs.
The cerebral cortex, the part of the brain that is responsible for the cognitive information processing in cats, has around 300 million neurons, whereas a dog’s has only 160 million. This means cats are able to solve more difficult cognitive problems than dogs – but only when they feel like it.

The Majority of Female Cats Are Right-Pawed, While Male Cats Are Mostly Left-Pawed

This is one of the most interesting cat facts, and it reveals that female cats predominantly use their right paw, while male cats more commonly use their left paw. This is a slightly different distribution of handedness than we are used to with humans. In humans, only around 10% of the population is left-handed. However, left-handedness is slightly more common among men than it is among women.

Cat Facts — Facts about Cats Summary

Cat FactsThere are 36 different species of cats in the world, and cats have been around since 3600 B.C. Cats live on all continents, with the exception of Antarctica, and while they are the most popular pets in the world (there are 88 million pet cats in the US alone), they are also used as food – nearly 4 million cats are eaten in China every year. The worldwide population of cats exceeds 500 million. The average life expectancy of cats today is around 12 – 15 years. A typical domestic cat weighs between 8.8 and 11.0 pounds and measures about 9–10 inches in height, 18.1 inches in length, and has an average tail length of around 11.8 inches.