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There are over 500 million domestic cats in the world
While it is commonly thought that the ancient Egyptians were the first to domesticate cats, the oldest known pet cat was recently found in a 9,500-year-old grave on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. This grave predates early Egyptian art depicting cats by 4,000 years or more
Cats conserve energy by sleeping for an average of 13 to 14 hours a day
Cats have flexible bodies and teeth adapted for hunting small animals such as mice and rats
A group of cats is called a clowder, a male cat is a tom, a female cat is called a molly or queen, while young cats are called kittens
Domestic cats usually weigh between 4 and 5 kilograms. The heaviest domestic cat on record is over 21 kilograms
Cats can be lethal hunters and very sneaky, when they walk their back paws step almost exactly in the same place as the front paws did beforehand, this keeps noise to a minimum and limits visible tracks
Cats have powerful night vision, allowing them to see at light levels six times lower than what a human needs in order to see
Cats have excellent hearing and a powerful sense of smell
Domestic cats love to play, this is especially true with kittens who love to chase toys and play fight. Play fighting among kittens may be a way for them to practice and learn skills for hunting and fighting
On average cats live for around 12 to 15 years
Cats spend a large amount of time licking their coats to keep them clean
Feral cats are often seen as pests and threats to native animals
Unlike dogs, cats do not have a sweet tooth. Scientists believe this is due to a mutation in a key taste receptor
When a cat chases its prey, it keeps its head level. Dogs and humans bob their heads up and down
The technical term for a cat's hairball is a "bezoar"
Female cats tend to be right pawed, while male cats are more often left pawed. Interestingly, while 90% of humans are right handed, the remaining 10% of lefties also tend to be male
A cat's brain is biologically more similar to a human brain than it is to a dog's. Both humans and cats have identical regions in their brains that are responsible for emotions
Cats are North America's most popular pets: there are 73 million cats compared to 63 million dogs. Over 30% of households in North America own a cat
The first cat in space was a French cat named Felicette (a.k.a. "Astrocat") In 1963, France blasted the cat into outer space. Electrodes implanted in her brains sent neurological signals back to Earth. She survived the trip
Approximately 40,000 people are bitten by cats in the U.S. annually
According to Hebrew legend, Noah prayed to God for help protecting all the food he stored on the ark from being eaten by rats. In reply, God made the lion sneeze, and out popped a cat
A cat's hearing is better than a dog's. And a cat can hear high-frequency sounds up to two octaves higher than a human
A cat can travel at a top speed of approximately 31 mph (49 km) over a short distance
A cat can jump up to five times its own height in a single bound
A cat rubs against people not only to be affectionate but also to mark out its territory with scent glands around its face. The tail area and paws also carry the cat's scent
When a family cat died in ancient Egypt, family members would mourn by shaving off their eyebrows. They also held elaborate funerals during which they drank wine and beat their breasts. The cat was embalmed with a sculpted wooden mask and the tiny mummy was placed in the family tomb or in a pet cemetery with tiny mummies of mice
Most cats give birth to a litter of between one and nine kittens. The largest known litter ever produced was 19 kittens
Smuggling a cat out of ancient Egypt was punishable by death. Phoenician traders eventually succeeded in smuggling felines, which they sold to rich people in Athens and other important cities
The most popular pedigreed cat is the Persian cat, followed by the Main Coon cat and the Siamese cat
The smallest pedigreed cat is a Singapura, which can weigh just 4 lbs (1.8 kg), or about five large cans of cat food. The largest pedigreed cats are Maine Coon cats, which can weigh 25 lbs (11.3 kg), or nearly twice as much as an average cat weighs
Some Siamese cats appear cross-eyed because the nerves from the left side of the brain go to mostly the right eye and the nerves from the right side of the brain go mostly to the left eye. This causes some double vision, which the cat tries to correct by "crossing" its eyes
Cats hate the water because their fur does not insulate well when it's wet. The Turkish Van, however, is one cat that likes swimming. Bred in central Asia, its coat has a unique texture that makes it water resistant
The Egyptian Mau is probably the oldest breed of cat. In fact, the breed is so ancient that its name is the Egyptian word for "cat"
The first commercially cloned pet was a cat named "Little Nicky." He cost his owner $50,000, making him one of the most expensive cats ever
A cat usually has about 12 whiskers on each side of its face
A cat's eyesight is both better and worse than humans. It is better because cats can see in much dimmer light and they have a wider peripheral view. It's worse because they don't see color as well as humans do. Scientists believe grass appears red to cats
Perhaps the most famous comic cat is the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. With the ability to disappear, this mysterious character embodies the magic and sorcery historically associated with cats
In the original Italian version of Cinderella, the benevolent fairy godmother figure was a cat
In Holland's embassy in Moscow, Russia, the staff noticed that the two Siamese cats kept meowing and clawing at the walls of the building. Their owners finally investigated, thinking they would find mice. Instead, they discovered microphones hidden by Russian spies. The cats heard the microphones when they turned on
The little tufts of hair in a cat's ear that help keep out dirt direct sounds into the ear, and insulate the ears are called "ear furnishings"
The ability of a cat to find its way home is called "psi-traveling." Experts think cats either use the angle of the sunlight to find their way or that cats have magnetized cells in their brains that act as compasses
Isaac Newton invented the cat flap. Newton was experimenting in a pitch-black room. Spithead, one of his cats, kept opening the door and wrecking his experiment. The cat flap kept both Newton and Spithead happy
The world's rarest coffee, Kopi Luwak, comes from Indonesia where a wildcat known as the luwak lives. The cat eats coffee berries and the coffee beans inside pass through the stomach. The beans are harvested from the cat's dung heaps and then cleaned and roasted. Kopi Luwak sells for about $500 for a 450 g (1 lb) bag
A cat's jaw can't move sideways, so a cat can't chew large chunks of food
A cat almost never meows at another cat, mostly just humans. Cats typically will spit, purr, and hiss at other cats
A cat's back is extremely flexible because it has up to 53 loosely fitting vertebrae. Humans only have 34
All cats have claws, and all except the cheetah sheath them when at rest
Two members of the cat family are distinct from all others: the clouded leopard and the cheetah. The clouded leopard does not roar like other big cats, nor does it groom or rest like small cats. The cheetah is unique because it is a running cat; all others are leaping cats. They are leaping cats because they slowly stalk their prey and then leap on it
A cat lover is called an Ailurophilia
In Japan, cats are thought to have the power to turn into super spirits when they die. This may be because according to the Buddhist religion, the body of the cat is the temporary resting place of very spiritual people
Most cats had short hair until about 100 years ago, when it became fashionable to own cats and experiment with breeding
Cats have 32 muscles that control the outer ear (humans have only 6). A cat can independently rotate its ears 180 degrees
One reason that kittens sleep so much is because a growth hormone is released only during sleep
Cats have about 130,000 hairs per square inch (20,155 hairs per square centimeter)
A commemorative tower was built in Scotland for a cat named Towser, who caught nearly 30,000 mice in her lifetime
In the 1750s, Europeans introduced cats into the Americas to control pests
The first cat show was organized in 1871 in London. Cat shows later became a worldwide craze
A cat has 230 bones in its body. A human has 206. A cat has no collarbone, so it can fit through any opening the size of its head
A cat's nose pad is ridged with a unique pattern, just like the fingerprint of a human
Foods that should not be given to cats include onions, garlic, green tomatoes, raw potatoes, chocolate, grapes, and raisins. Though milk is not toxic, it can cause an upset stomach and gas. Tylenol and aspirin are extremely toxic to cats, as are many common houseplants
A 2007 Gallup poll revealed that both men and women were equally likely to own a cat
A cat's heart beats nearly twice as fast as a human heart, at 110 to 140 beats a minute
Cats don't have sweat glands over their bodies like humans do. Instead, they sweat only through their paws
In just seven years, a single pair of cats and their offspring could produce a staggering total of 420,000 kittens
Cats spend nearly 1/3 of their waking hours cleaning themselves
Grown cats have 30 teeth. Kittens have about 26 temporary teeth, which they lose when they are about 6 months old
A cat called Dusty has the known record for the most kittens. She had more than 420 kittens in her lifetime
Cats are extremely sensitive to vibrations. Cats are said to detect earthquake tremors 10 or 15 minutes before humans can
The richest cat is Blackie who was left £15(GBP) million by his owner, Ben Rea
The claws on the cat's back paws aren't as sharp as the claws on the front paws because the claws in the back don't retract and, consequently, become worn
In tigers and tabbies, the middle of the tongue is covered in backward-pointing spines, used for breaking off and gripping meat
When cats grimace, they are usually "taste-scenting." They have an extra organ that, with some breathing control, allows the cats to taste-sense the air
Owning a cat can reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack by a third
Your cat recognizes your voice but just acts too cool to care (probably because they are)
Most cats are lactose intolerant and should not be given cow’s milk
Cats have a lower social IQ than dogs but can solve more difficult cognitive problems when they feel like it
Cats have a longer-term memory than dogs, especially when they learn by actually doing rather than simply seeing
A cat's cerebral cortex (the part of the brain in charge of cognitive information processing) has 300 million neurons, compared with a dog's 160 million
A cat has five toes on his front paws, and four on the back, unless he's a polydactyl
Polydactyl cats are also referred to as "Hemingway cats" because the author was so fond of them
A house cat is faster than Usain Bolt
When cats leave their poop uncovered, it is a sign of aggression to let you know they don't fear you
Cats use their whiskers to detect if they can fit through a space
Cats have scent glands along their tail, their forehead, lips, chin, and the underside of their front paws
Cat owners are 17% more likely to have a graduate degree
Cat owners who are male tend to be luckier in love, as they are perceived as more sensitive
A cat has been the mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska for 15 years
The CIA spent US$20 million in the 60s training cats to spy on the Soviets
In Japan, New Zealand and other cool countries, there are Cat Cafes where you can go to drink coffee and hang out with cats for hours
Cats have three eyelids
There's a theater in Russia where all the actors are cats
A female cat carries her kittens for about 58-65 days before they are born
Unlike most other cats, the Turkish Van breed has a water-resistant coat and enjoys being in water
A cat's heart beats almost double the rate of a human heart, from 110 to 140 beats per minute
In one litter of kittens, there could be multiple "father" cats
The color of York Chocolates becomes richer with age. Kittens are born with a lighter coat than the adults
Despite appearing like a wild cat, the Ocicat does not have an ounce of wild blood
Blue-eyed cats have a high tendency to be deaf, but not all cats with blue eyes are deaf
A cat's field of vision does not cover the area right under its nose
A kitten with green fur was discovered in Denmark in 1995. Originally thought to be a genetic mutation, scientists later determined it was due to high copper levels in the water supply
Cats show affection and mark their territory by rubbing on people. Glands on their face, tail and paws release a scent to make its mark
Eating grass rids a cats' system of any fur and helps with digestion
If your cat's eyes are closed, it's not necessarily because it's tired. A sign of closed eyes means your cat is happy or pleased
The Snow Leopard, a variety of the California Spangled Cat, always has blue eyes
Cats have over 100 sounds in their vocal repertoire, while dogs only have 10
Cats who eat too much tuna can become addicted, which can actually cause a Vitamin E deficiency
As temperatures rise, so do the number of cats. Cats are known to breed in warm weather, which leads many animal advocates worried about the plight of cats under Global Warming
When cats are asleep, they are still alert to incoming stimuli. If you poke the tail of a sleeping cat, it will respond accordingly
Cats step with both left legs, then both right legs when they walk or run. The only other animals to do this are the giraffe and the camel
Lions are the only big cats to live in groups (known as prides) while adult male cheetahs live in pairs
Cubs of big cats, like cheetahs, are born with their eyes closed and don't open them until they are up to two weeks old
Tigers have been reported to live as long as 26 years in the wild, longer than any other big cat
Female lions will generally leave the pride while having a litter and will move their dens to avoid being found by predators
Lions live up to about 12 years in the wild
Tigers are the world's largest cat, with females weighing up to 180kg and males weighing as much as 320kg
The majority of surviving tigers are Bengal tigers, many of them living in India
Each tiger has a unique set of stripes, which is how researchers are able to tell them apart
Tigers have been spotted in altitudes as high as 4500m (15,000 feet)
According to researchers, these cats kill as many as 50 large animals a year for food
At one time, tigers lived across Asia from Turkey to as far as east Indonesia, but now only survive in 13 countries across Asia
Lions can get their water from plants and prey, so can go days without drinking
An adult lion's roar can be heard up to 8km (5 miles) away
Female lions do almost all the hunting for the pride
Ironically, thought the nickname of the lion is "King of the Jungle", one of the few habitats on the continent where they don't live is the rain forest of Central Africa
Currently, a small population of Asian Lions that live in the Gir Forest of India are the only wild lions outside of Africa
Though jaguars are the largest cat in the Americas, they are one of the smaller big cats, weighing between 80 and 250 lbs
Jaguars range from five to eight feet in length
Jaguars are the only terrestrial animal known to eat sea turtles, which has been documented on green turtle nesting beaches
Shamans are believed to be able to become jaguars in some indigenous communities
Jaguars are the only big cat living in the Western Hemisphere
There are more than 70 cat breeds, though different associations proclaim different numbers according to their standards
Like most other mammals, cats have poorer colour vision and a better sense of smell than humans
Under controlled breeding, cats can be breed and shown as registered pedigree pets. This hobby is known as cat fancy
Failure to control the breeding of pet cats has resulted in large numbers of feral cats worldwide, requiring population control
Feral cats have contributed, along with habitat destruction and other factors, to the extinction of many bird species
Cats have been known to extirpate a bird species within specific regions and may have contributed to the extinction of isloation island populations
Cats are thought to be primarily responsible for the extinction of 33 species of birds, and the presence of feral and free ranging cats makes some locations unsuitable for attempted species reestablishment in otherwise suitable locations
There may have been instances of cat domestication as early as the Neolithic from around 9500 years ago (7500BC)
A genetic study in 2007 concluded that domestic cats are descended from Near Eastern wildcats, having diverged around 8000BC in West Asia
A 2016 study found that leopard cats were undergoing domestication independently in China around 5500BC, though this line of partially domesticated cats leaves no trace in the domesticated populations of today
Cats are the second most popular pet in the United States by number of pets owned, behind the freshwater fish
The male progenitor of a cat, especially a pedigreed cat, is its "sire" and its female progenitor is its "dam"
In Early Modern English, the word 'kitten' was interchangeable with the now obsolete word 'catling'
While asleep, cats experience rapid eye movement sleep often accompanied by muscle twitches, which suggests they are dreaming
Feral cats can form colonies around a food source, based on groups of cooperating females. Within such groups, one cat is usually dominant over the others
Sexually active males will control territories which are about 10 times larger than those of female cats and may overlap with serveral females' territories
Despite some domestic cats cohabiting in colonies, they do not have a social survival strategy or pack mentality and always hunt alone
Though cats and dogs are believed to be natural enemies, they can live together if correctly socialised
Life in proximity to humans and other domestic animals has lef to a symbiotic social adaption in cats, and cats may express great affection towards humans or other animals
The human keeper of a cat may funciton as a sort of surrogate for a cat's mother, and adult housecats live their lives in a kind of extended kittenhood
The high pitched sounds housecats make to solicit food may mimic the cries of a hungry human infant, making them particularly hard for humans to ignore
Nose to nose touching is a common greeting for cats, and may be followed by social grooming, which is solicited by one of the cats raising and tilting its head
Big cats also produce sounds similar to purring, but only when exhaling
Cats play with their prey to weaken or exhaust them before making a kill, to make sure the prey isn't capable of endangering the cat
When cats become aggressive they try to make themselves appear larger and more threatening bu raising their fur, arching their backs, turning sideways and hissing or spitting
Cat fights usually consist of grappling and delivering powerful slaps to the face and body with the forepaws, as well as bites
Cats can throw themselves to the ground in a defensive posture to rake their opponents belly with their powerful hind legs
The theory that cats bring home food to feed their humans or to teach them to hunt is inconsistent with the fact that males cats also do this while they have no involvement with raising kittens
Domestic cats select food based on its temperature, smell and texture. They dislike chilled foods and respond most strongly to moist foods rich in amino acids, which are similar to meat
Since cats cannot fully close their lips around something to create suction, they use a lapping method with the tongue to draw liquid into their mouths
Lapping at a rate of four times a second, the cat touches the smooth tip of its tongue to the surface of the water, and quickly retracts it, drawing water upwards
Kittens engage in play fighting with each other and with humans as a way to practice the skills needed for real combat, and might also reduce the fear they associate with launching attacks on other animals
Cats prefer to play with objects resembling prey, but rapidly lose interest in a toy they have played with before
Lazers are not recommended toys for cats, as they do not get the reward of catching the dot and become frustrated
Several ancient relgions believed cats are exalted souls, companions or guides for humans, that are all knowning but mute so they cannot influence decisions made by humans
In Japan, the maneki neko cat is a symbol of good fortune
According to a myth in many cultures, cats have nine lives, but in Italy, Germany, Greece, Brazil and some Spanish speaking regions, they are said to have seven, while in Turkish and Arabic traditions, the number of lives is six
Bengal cats were developed by selective breeding of domestic cats crossed then backcrossed and backcrossed once more with hybrids from the Asian leopard cat and a domestic cat
Bengal cats are generally a bright orange or light brown colour, although pale or off-white 'snow' Bengals also exist
In 2013, long haired Bengals were granted "preliminary" breed status in the New Zealand Cat Fancy registry under the breed name Cashmere
A Bangal's rosetted spots occur only on the back and sides, with stripes elsewhere. The breed typically also features "mascara" and foreleg striping
Cats that live together sometimes rub each others heads to show that they have no intention of fighting. Young cats do this more often, especially when they are excited
Cats come back to full alertness from the sleep state faster than any other creature
The largest breed of cat is the Ragdoll with males weighing in at 1 5 to 20 lbs. The heaviest domestic cat on record was a neutered male tabby named Himmy from Queensland, Australia who weighed 46 lbs. 1 5 oz
The domestic cat is the only species able to hold its tail vertically while walking. You can also learn about your cat's present state of mind by observing the posture of his tail
The color of the points in Siamese cats is heat related. Cool areas are darker
The oldest cat on record was probably "Puss", a tabby owned by Mrs. Holway of Clayhidon, Devon. Having celebrated his 36th birthday on November 28, 1939, Puss died the following day
In Auckland, New Zealand, there is no limit to the number of cats you can own. But resource consent must be obtained to open a cattery