Ah, the wonderful world of cats. Lovely and adoring, sweet and innocent, hostile and sometimes terrifying. Yes, cats can more often than not display a Jekyll and Hyde type mentality. And there’s definitely more to these furry friends than meets the eye.
Here are 10 weird, wonderful and slightly alarming facts about kitty-cats that guarantee it won’t just be her gentle paw pat keeping you up at night…
- They can’t taste sweetness
Aside from being natural born predators, there’s another reason why your puss is so intent on finishing every last morsel of their meaty treat. They have no time for sweet things.
In 2005, scientists from the Monell Chemical Senses Centre, in Philadelphia, discovered that due to a genetic deficiency in felines, they have no sugar detectors on their taste buds. In other words, cats do not possess the genetic “hardware” needed to taste sweets. So, as much as your puss can be picky when it comes to her food, she’s not necessarily being the stereotypical feline snob.
- Cats and humans have nearly identical sections of the brain that control emotion
If you ever feel like you and your kitty pal have so much in common that it could go deeper, then you could be onto something.
Aside from your joint love of of sleep, cuddles, judging and erm squirrel chasing? There’s another similarity in the mix – your brain structure is almost identical to that of your kitty’s, meaning that they can experience emotions and feels things in the same way we can.
- They leave their poo for all to see
Ever noticed your kitty doing a large and smelly poo and deciding rather than to cover it with that odour disposing litter you’ve been shelling out for, she just leaves it there for all to see?
Well it’s more than just forgetfulness, this is actually a sign of feline aggression.
The underlying message being – ‘I don’t fear you, mere human’.
- Your feline recognises your voice
Frustrating isn’t it? One minute Fluffybootikins recognises your parental tones whilst the next, she hasn’t a clue who you are.
Contrary to popular belief, your cat can absolutely recognise your voice, it’s whether or not they choose to. Sensing a theme here? Cats – 1 Humans – 0.
- Newton invented the ‘cat flap’
Or so is believed to be the case. Rumour has it Newton couldn’t stand many friendships, the one thing he did have tolerance for was cats and dogs.
It has never been confirmed however, the story goes that whilst at the University of Cambridge, Newton’s experiments were constantly being interrupted by his cats scratching at his office door (sound familiar?) so he summoned the Cambridge carpenter, which had him saw two holes in his door; one larger hole for mummy cat and a smaller hole for her kittens. Pretty delightful if true, huh?
- Whiskers are used as a radar
Cat’s whiskers are in fact touch receptors. And they have a much fancier name, by way of ‘vibrissae’. They’re also more than just skin-deep, as they are connected to the sensitive muscular and nervous systems, they work by sending information directly to the cat’s sensory nerves. This gives the cat a more finely tuned sense of feeling, helping to detect changes in its surroundings.
And if you’ve ever wondered how they are able to get themselves out of a sticky situation in the timeliest of fashions, this is because they also use their whiskers to measure distance and so can speedily (and, of course, gracefully) eject themselves out of any situation.
- A house cat is essentially an Olympic gold medal winner
Whenever your cat has their ‘mad hour’ and regales in springing from the sofa to the dining room table, to the kitchen worktop and back to the sofa again within around 10 seconds, you may find yourself in shock over said speed.
And for good reason!
House cats can run at top speeds of roughly 30 miles per hour. Aside from being on par with deer and grizzly bears, it’s also the top speed reached by Olympic gold medalist; Usain Bolt.
- They have mad drinking skills
Have you spent more time than you should analysing the way in which your cat laps up its water from its bowl? I mean, seriously, HOW is gravity allowing this to happen??
Get this – not only does your four-legged friend lap up their liquids at the rate of 4 times per second, but they employ a fluid process to efficiently soak up the water from their dish. Moving in a ‘J’ shape, as soon as their tongue hits the water and in the blink of an eye, they pull their tongue back at an incredibly high speed, causing a column of water to jet into their mouth. At just the moment when gravity should interfere, they snap their mouth shut, trapping their watery prey.
Never one to look a mess, this technique contains the utmost in finesse.
- They are credited authors
1n 1975, a physics professor; Jack Hetherington wanted to publish some of his findings for a scientific journal. But he was informed that this particular journal did not publish submissions from a sole author.
Not one to be deterred, Hetherington saw an opportunity by way of ‘Chester’ – his beloved Siamese cat. Obviously Chester wouldn’t quite cut it in the world of physics, and so he took on the cat’s name who sired him and became ‘Felis domesticus Willard’, or ‘F.D.C. Willard’ for short.
Who’s a clever boy then?
- …And Soviet spies
In the 1960’s, the CIA spent a total of 20 million dollars and 5 years to train ‘spy cats’. They surgically implanted a transmitter inside a female cat and spent hours training the cat to follow directions. For all cat owners out there, it can be mutually agreed that this in itself is a marvel.
When the time was right, they released spy kitty, also known as ‘Acoustic Kitty’ into the world of CIA targets, however the plan was severely misjudged, as no sooner had her undercover paws hit the pavement, she was sadly struck and killed by a taxi. Not cool at all!