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Cats: 24 Facts About Our Furry Friends

In honor of Misty, a Long Island Press family cat who lived to the ripe old age of 14–or 80 in cat years–we dedicate the following kitty facts, courtesy of

  • It has been scientifically proven that stroking a cat can lower one’s blood pressure.
  • In 1987, cats overtook dogs as the number one pet in America (about 50 million cats resided in 24 million homes in 1986). About 37% of American homes today have at least one cat.
  • If your cat snores or rolls over on his back to expose his belly, it means he trusts you.
  • Cats respond better to women than to men, probably due to the fact that women’s voices have a higher pitch.
  • In an average year, cat owners in the United States spend over $2 billion on cat food.
  • According to a Gallup poll, most American pet owners obtain their cats by adopting strays.
  • When your cats rubs up against you, she is actually marking you as “hers” with her scent. If your cat pushes his face against your head, it is a sign of acceptance and affection.
  • Contrary to popular belief, people are not allergic to cat fur, dander, saliva, or urine – they are allergic to “sebum,” a fatty substance secreted by the cat’s sebaceous glands. More interesting, someone who is allergic to one cat may not be allergic to another cat. Though there isn’t (yet) a way of predicting which cat is more likely to cause allergic reactions, it has been proven that male cats shed much greater amounts of allergen than females. A neutered male, however, sheds much less than a non-neutered male.
  • Cat bites are more likely to become infected than dog bites.
  • In just 7 years, one un-spayed female cat and one un-neutered male cat and their offspring can result in 420,000 kittens.
  • Some notable people who disliked cats:  Napoleon Bonaparte, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Hitler.
  • Both humans and cats have identical regions in the brain responsible for emotion.
  • A cat’s brain is more similar to a man’s brain than that of a dog.
  • A cat has more bones than a human; humans have 206, but the cat has 230 (some cites list 245 bones, and state that bones may fuse together as the cat ages).
  • Cats have 30 vertebrae (humans have 33 vertebrae during early development; 26 after the sacral and coccygeal regions fuse)
  • The cat’s clavicle, or collarbone, does not connect with other bones but is buried in the muscles of the shoulder region. This lack of a functioning collarbone allows them to fit through any opening the size of their head.
  • The cat has 500 skeletal muscles (humans have 650).
  • Cats have 32 muscles that control the outer ear (compared to human’s 6 muscles each). A cat can rotate its ears independently 180 degrees, and can turn in the direction of sound 10 times faster than those of the best watchdog.
  • Cats’ hearing is much more sensitive than humans and dogs.
  • Cats’ hearing stops at 65 khz (kilohertz); humans’ hearing stops at 20 khz.
  • A cat sees about 6 times better than a human at night, and needs 1/6 the amount of of light that a human does – it has a layer of extra reflecting cells which absorb light.
  • Six-toed kittens are so common in Boston and surrounding areas of Massachusetts that experts consider it an established mutation.
  • The silks created by weavers in Baghdad were inspired by the beautiful and varied colors and markings of cat coats. These fabrics were called “tabby” by European traders.
  • Cat families usually play best in even numbers. Cats and kittens should be acquired in pairs whenever possible.
  • Cats lived with soldiers in trenches, where they killed mice during World War I.

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