Cats and humans have been living in symphony for more than 10,000 years. If you take a look at history, the ancient Egyptians held cats in the highest esteem. They worshipped a Cat Goddess, often represented as half feline, half woman, and punished anyone who injured a cat. Since their domestication, there has been mutual advantages on both sides. Humans feed and provide a place for them to live and they hunt down pesky rodents. This system has been around for centuries and today, they are mostly our beloved pets.
1. Cats sweat through their paws.
Since cats bodies are covered with fur, they comparatively have few sweat glands. Since they aren’t heavily equipped with eccrine sweat glands like we humans are, they lick themselves to cool down. Felines’ sweat glands are found only in their paws, and when a cat becomes overheated (or frightened), they secrete sweat through their paws. Unlike dogs, a cat’s panting is usually more stress-related than heat-related.
2. They can drink seawater.
If you are thirsty and ever stranded in the middle of the ocean, do not ever consume seawater. This is because human kidneys can only make urine that is less salty than salt water. Therefore, to get rid of all the excess salt taken in by drinking seawater, you have to urinate more water than you drank. Eventually, you die of dehydration.
Cats however, don’t have this problem. Their kidneys are so efficient that they can filter out the salt and use the water content to hydrate their bodies.
3. They can’t taste sweet things.
It might come as a surprise to you that cats can’t taste sweet things. The tongues of most mammals hold taste receptors and depending on the incoming substance, the receptors send signals to the brain. After carefully studying cats, scientists discovered that a mutation in a key taste receptor has prevented cats from being able to taste sugar.
4. The furry tufts on the inside of cat’s ears are called “ear furnishings”.
They insulate the ear, and help filter out direct sounds and debris. Their ears also play a major role in controlling their body temperature. Cats, however, combine several techniques to cool down during hot weather, such as finding a shady spot to relax, panting or licking their fur. Your cat may hang out on the cool tile floor of the laundry room, or under the bed where they can stay out of the direct sunlight. If that doesn’t work, they try panting or licking their fur. If you notice your cat breathing rapidly or struggling to find comfort, you may need to intervene.
5. Cats can hear the ultrasonic noises that rodents (and dolphins) make to communicate.
They can hear higher-pitched sounds than humans or most dogs, detecting frequencies from 55 Hz up to 79 kHz. Scientists believe that the ability is not used for communication, but rather an evolutionary trait. The ability to detect such frequencies allows them to hunt rodents that make ultrasonic calls.
6. Declawing is a relatively common process in the US but many countries have outlawed the practice since it’s seen as animal cruelty.
Here in the US, it is a relatively common practice to declaw cats when they start scratching things. A shredded couch is enough of an excuse to make an appointment to get your cat declawed. But have you ever thought of the process or how complicated it is? The nails grow out of the bone and removing them is equal to cutting off our fingers.
The following is a list of countries in which declawing cats is either illegal or considered extremely inhumane and should only be performed under extreme circumstances: England, Scotland, Wales, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia Slovenia, France, Germany, Bosnia, Malta, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Belgium and Israel.
7. The ridged pattern on a cat’s nose is as unique as a human fingerprint.
Much like human fingerprints, a cat’s nose is a pattern of ridges and bumps. Every cat’s nose is different, and could be used as a form of identification. Next time you are cuddling with your fluffy friend, take a closer look at your cat’s nose. You will notice little bumps and ridges. (Dogs have this same unique trait and since their noses are bigger than cats’ it is easier to see on a dog.) The prints are exclusive to each animal and can be used for identification, just like your fingerprints can.
8. Cats sleep so much that by the time a cat is 9 years old, it will only have been awake for three years of its life.
If an average human receives eight hours of sleep a night (i.e. one third of a day), they sleep for one third of their life. If you live, say, 75 years, that’s 25 years asleep, or 9,125 days. The average cat sleeps anywhere from 12-16 hours a day. They are crepuscular — which means that they are most active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk. On average, cats spend 2/3 of every day sleeping. That means a nine-year-old cat has been awake for only three years of its life.
9. Cats have a third eyelid called a “haw”. It’s generally only visible when they’re unwell.
Cats have a third eyelid called the palpebra tertia or haw, that plays an important role in maintaining the health of their eye surface. The third eyelid is large enough to completely cover the cornea and acts much like a windshield wiper blade by removing debris from the surface and redistributing tears over the cornea. Although the exact function of the third eyelid in cats is not completely understood, it is believed that they help protect the cornea from injury as cats move through tall grass to capture prey.
10. Cats land on their feet using a sort of internal gyroscope called “aerial righting reflex”.
No matter their size or the height they are jumping from, cats have the unusual ability to land on their feet. The technique known as aerial righting reflex or cat righting reflex allows them to land (most of the time) on their feet when they fall. While falling, cats reflexively correct their course so that by the time they arrive on the ground, their feet are in position to hit first. That’s not to say cats land without harm. Falling cats do sometimes suffer injuries, and not all cats survive falls, particularly older, less agile ones. In 2009, a Manhattan cat fell an astonishing 26 floors, landed on its feet and managed to survive. This fortunate feline’s name? “Lucky.”