Today is International Cat Day, and as an owner of two kitties, I thought it would be fun to sum up a couple of facts, some rather weird, about our favourite, purring darlings. As a little extra, I’ve included a very Cat-y playlist at the end of this post, to celebrate their Highnessnesses (because that IS what they are) fittingly. Here goes!
1. cats can make you live longer
It’s quite simple, really: evenings or nights spent alongside a purring, snoozing cat end up adding a serene, calming touch to your life. Ergo less stress, ergo a happier life, ergo a longer one!
2. they sweat through their paws
Like most (if not all) non-primate animals, of course, and because of their fur, cats have few sweat glands throughout their body, with most on their paw pads. That’s why sometimes, in Summertime, you’ll see little, wet paw prints on the floor. This rarely happens as they are extremely capable of cooling themselves down, however, so when you do notice this, your furry friend could use a good cool-down!
3. they CAN get affectionate as can be
It’s a common misconception (I wouldn’t be surprised if they started this themselves, just for their reputation you know...) that cats are not that affectionate, especially compared to dogs. And while it’s definitely true that cats are a bit more independent, they can develop an affection that’s quite equal to that of a dog’s. IF you take care of them the same way, that is. If you play with them (which they need often, by the way) and give them all the attention they deserve, you’ll notice their attentiveness towards you will grow to the point where – well – they can’t miss you. Signs your cat loves you? The question mark tail whenever they see you, them coming a-running whenever you call, following you wherever you go, etc.
4. they are extremely self-sufficient
From being able to drink salt water (they would NOT be screwed when stuck on a deserted island) and that impressive umbrella (= cat righting) reflex, to – uhm – forcing everything they can't digest out of their very capable system; cats are superheroes when it comes to surviving. Although you’ll have to help indoor cats a nudge with that last one, seeing as they need grass for them hairballs.
5. they don't have a sweet tooth
Or rather: sweet tongue. Literally. It's a genetic thing, poor buggers. They can't taste it.
6. they spend about half of their lives cleaning themselves
And the other half sleeping, am I right? They’re absolutely right to do so, though, because it makes their fur super soft, helps them cool down AND it’s a sign of affection. So, yes, it’s actually quite an honour if your cat decides to give you a good wash.
7. those sweet-sounding purrs serve more than one purpose
They most commonly purr when they’re happy (and it’s the best sound in the world, right?), but also do it when they’re stressed out. And lastly, it might also be one of their awesome survival tactics. Why? Because a cat purrs at a frequency from 25 to 150 Hertz, which is apparently the frequency at which muscles and bones best grow and heal themselves. And we thought we were the dominant species, huh?
8. changes in routine can make them (act) sick
There’s no bigger drama queen than a cat, believe me. From changing your furniture to having people stay over; if they don’t like it, they puke. Or forget to use the litterbox. Or... Well, you catch my drift. Mind you, it IS quite possible that they're actually ill and need a vet, but I'm just saying... they might not be. Just so you know the next time yours does something weird. Just ask yourself “was it something I did?”
9. their nose prints are the equivalent of human fingerprints.
Totally unique, how cool is that?
10. they can be right- or left-pawed
Yup, dominant paws is a thing and it probably depends on your cat’s gender. Research tells us that male cats are usually left-pawed, while females are usually right-pawed, so... what are you waiting for? Go ahead and test it with some play-time!
11. Calicos and Torties (Tortoiseshells) are almost exclusively female
Males are extremely rare and are usually sterile, actually.
12. they have no faith in your human survival skills
I mean, that’s why your cat brings you mice, spiders and birds. She/he thinks you suck at hunting and wants to help you survive because you’re her/his human. That’s… Sweet? Right?
13. most cats are lactose-intolerant
Cats stop developing the right enzyme to digest milk soon after they are weaned, so, yep, no milk, people. It will upset your cats’ stomach so let's just let go of that movie image. More no-can-do's: grapes, raisins, avocados, yeast dough, raw meat and more houseplants than you think.
14. black cats are actually good luck
Repeat after me. They. ARE. Good. Luck. We seriously need to get rid of this superstition, as it leads to black cats barely being adopted, regardless of how cute and sweet they are. In the UK and China = good luck. Let the rest of the world follow.
15. you truly are the cat's meow to them
Because when they do – meow, that is – it’s especially for you and it means you should listen (you don’t have a choice, really, because they often won’t stop until they get what they want). With the exception of kittens meowing to their mother for milk, cats rarely meow at each other, so they’ve developed it as a special communication method for their humans. They’re really quite the talkers, by the way. They can make up to 100 different sounds, which is ten times as much as a dog.
So there you go! Did you know all fifteen of them? I sure didn't before I adopted Strummer & Leia, but they've definitely taught me a thing or two this past 1 1/2 year.
Now all that's left for me to do is leave you with this playlist! And if you have cats yourselves: go spoil them like you always do. Because you have no choice. Literally. They own you.
Just as it should be.
Q: what have you learned from your cats? Do they have funny habits? I'd love to hear about them!