15 Crazy Cat Facts That You Never Knew


Garima Singhal
We cherish our feline friends for their distinctiveness, curiosity, grace and flexibility and strange sleeping habits. Here are 15 quirky Cat Facts.
Cats usually fall on their feet due to their righting reflex, and did you know that their tongues are covered with tiny barbs, which is why it feels like sandpaper rubbing against our skins when they lick us. In proportion to the body, their eyes are relatively huge, which gives their body a perpetual child like appearance.
1. Cats can drink seawater. Because unlike humans, they can filter out salt and use the water content to hydrate their bodies.
2. They can’t taste sweet things because they have a mutation in their taste receptors that prevents them from being able to taste sugar and hence will never know the joy of a cupcake.
3. Isaac Newton invented the cat flap door because when he was sitting in the garden ‘waiting’ for the apple to fall on his head, his cat kept interrupting him to get inside or outside.
4. Cats can happily see in the dark, as they need one-sixth the light level required for human vision.
5. Cats purr at the same frequency as an idling diesel engine, which is about 26 purrs per second. They purr continuously by flowing air past the voice box during both inhalation and exhalation.
6. Cats’ ears can hear ultrasonic sounds, which is what rodents use to communicate. Cats can hear these sounds but dogs and humans cannot.
7. Cats are made a bit like ragdolls, because their pelvis and shoulders are only loosely attached to the spine, which makes them flexible and they squeeze into tight spaces.
8. Cats are awake for only one third of the day, which averages to 16 hours a day of sleep. This is because they are carnivoures and their body is nurtured for intense, brief bursts of energy to catch prey, followed by a meal, and then followed by long period of rest to prepare for the next hunt.
9. Cats spend one third of their awake time grooming themselves.
10. They use their mouths to smell things. When they smell something distinctive, they open their mouth slightly, crinkle their nose and pull back on the upper lip, performing what is known as the ‘Flehmen’ response. She is drawing in air, capturing the scent and moving it to her Vomeronasal Organ or the Jacobson’s Organ, a small sac located in the roof of the mouth. This organ traps scent molecules and sends information to the kitty’s brain regarding the scent.
11. They are sharp tongued, that is they have barbs on their tongues, which are rear facing. These barbs help them lap up water and pull food into their mouths and also help them groom themselves effectively by pulling off loose fur and debris.
12. They have whiskers everywhere, not just on their cheeks, but also on chin, eyebrows, and front legs. They are sensitive touch receptors that help in orientation. It is important to never trim the whiskers as cats can become disoriented and unable to navigate.
13. They walk and run on their toes, not on their feet. Also, instead of a left-right or right-left movement, they move both left legs or both right legs simultaneously.
14. Most pet parents of black cat discover that they have one or more white spots on their body. The reason for this has a lot to do with the middle age persecution that cats suffered. They became associated with black magic and sorcery and hence, the church purged pure black cats and their relatives with white spots increased. The church mimicked natural selection.
15. In 2008, police in Misiones, Argentina found a boy amongst eight wild cats. The cats must have snuggled up to the boy at night during freezing temperatures and kept him warm and alive. The one year old ate scraps of food the cats dragged in. The cats licked him and bathed him as if he were their own. The child was discovered by a canal in a gutter surrounded by cats. As the police tried to approach the boy, the cats got protective and spat at the officers.
You need to understand them with an open heart!
(Garima Singhal is a behaviourist, neurobiologist, school teacher and a long-term pet parent of her pooch Dobie).