15 Fascinating Cat Facts
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.
- In 1871, the first cat show was organized in London’s Crystal Palace.
- Sir Isaac Newton’s claim to fame includes describing gravity — and the cat flap. One version of the story suggests that Newton was conducting experiments in a dark room, but his cat Spithead kept opening the door and ruining his experiments. To resolve this problem in a way amenable to both cat and scientist, Newton invented the cat flap.
- Cats are believed to be highly sensitive to vibration and thus able to detect earthquakes 10 to 15 minutes prior to humans.
- Unlike other cats big and small, the clouded leopard has pupils that never get fully round nor morph into slits. Rather, they stay oblong in shape.
- Most cats have 24 whiskers in four rows on each cheek. The upper rows can move independently from the bottom rows.
- A cat’s nose pad has ridges and grooves just like human fingerprints. And like human fingerprints each cat has it own signature nose print.
- For approximately every 30,000 Tortoiseshell cats all will be female except one.
- If you love cats you are an ailurophile. If you have a cat phobia you are ailurophobia.
- If you read all of these facts – and are now reading this one – you must truly be an ailurophile!