If you’re a bona fide cat lover, you are an ailurophile, and you will love this interesting collection of lesser-known feline facts. Enjoy!
- The first kitty to get launched into space was a French kitty named Felicette. Felicette was blasted into outer space in 1963 and she thankfully survived the trip. Interestingly, the cat originally chosen for the expedition was named Felix and on his launch day he managed to escape (who can blame him?). Felix and Felicette were both commemorated in France on a postage stamp.
- Cats have reportedly survived falls of over 65 feet thanks to their “righting reflex.” A cat’s eyes and special inner ear “guide” a falling cat in space so that it can twist, turn and land on all four feet. It is interesting to note that shorter falls can be more damaging to a cat as they may not have enough time to prepare for their landing.
- Cat urine glows under a black light.
- Biologically, a cat’s brain is more similar to a human’s brain than you might think. For example, the area of grey matter that controls emotion is very similar in cat and human brains.
- The word “tabby” likely comes from Attabiyah, a Baghdad neighborhood famed for silk weaving. The warm rich colors and the famous wavy patterns were thought to look like the cats that are now referred to as tabbies.
- You are highly unlikely to ever see a house cat climb down a tree head-first. A cat’s claws all face the same direction and thus to get down a tree a cat must back down, tail first. The arboreal clouded leopard is one cat that does have the option to climb down trees head first in addition to climbing upside down along thick tree branches — thanks to their flexible joint ankles and specialized paw pads. To see the cute Tigger-like antics of two clouded leopard cubs from the San Diego Zoo click here.
- Cats lack sweat glands, so the only way they can actually sweat is through their paws.