Cat Facts

To gain the friendship of a cat is a difficult thing.
The cat is philosophical, methodological, quiet animal, tenacious of it's own habits,
fond of order and cleanliness, and it does not lightly confer its friendship.
If you are worthy of its affection, a cat will be your friend, but never your slave.
He keeps his free will, though he loves,
and he will not do for you what he thinks is unreasonable.
But if he once gives himself to you it is with absolute confidence and affection
- Theophile Gautier, 1850

About Cats  |  Behaviour  |   Myths

About cats

  • Cats have 30 vertebrae, which is 5 more than humans.

  • Cats have 230 bones, 24 more than humans.

  • Cats do not have a collarbone, which allows them to fit through any opening the size of their head.

  • Cats are great contortionists. Their forelegs can turn in almost any direction and both halves of their bodies can move in opposite directions!

  • Cats' hearing is much more sensitive than that of humans and dogs. (Cats' hearing stops at 65 khz whereas humans' hearing stops at 20 khz)

  • Cats have the largest eyes of any mammal (in relation to body size)

  • Cats can't see in total darkness, but their 'night vision' is excellent. Their eyes have a reflective layer (tapetum) which serves to enhance the light that reaches the retina.

  • A cats field of vision is about 185 degrees.

  • Cats has approximately 60 to 80 million olfactory cells; a human has between 5 and 20 million.

  • Normal pulse for cats is between 110-170 beats per minute (check for pulse on the inside of the back thigh, where the leg joins the body).


  • Cats take between 20-40 breaths per minute.

  • A cat's normal body temperature is 102 degrees F.

  • A domestic cat can run at speeds of about 31 miles per hour.

  • Cats have extremely sensitive nervous systems.

  • A cat is able to jump 5 times as high as its height.

  • Every cat's nose pad is unique, and no two nose prints are the same.

  • Cats are the only animals that purr. They purr at about 26 cycles per second.

  • Cats respond better to women than to men, probably due to the fact that women's voices have a higher pitch.

  • Purring does not always mean that a cat is happy; some cats will purr loudly when they are scared or hurt.

  • A litter of kittens is a kindle.

  • People who are allergic to cats are actually allergic to their saliva or their dander (regular bathing can help with the allergies).

  • It has been scientifically proven that stroking a cat can lower one's blood pressure.

  • In ancient Egypt, killing a cat was a crime punishable by death.

  • The average cat can be expected to live for an average of 15 to 16 years.

  • To determine how old your cat is in human years start with 20 years for your cat's first year, then add 4 human years for each cat year after that. For example, my 4 year old cat is equivalent to a 32 year old human.
  • Behaviour

  • Cats are the 'sleepiest' of all mammals. Most cats will sleep for about 16 hours a day. (I wouldn't mind that!)

  • If your cat rolls over on his back to expose his belly, he/she trusts you.

  • When your cats rubs up against you, you are being marked with his/her scent.

  • When your cat pushes his/her face against your head, it's a sign of affection.


  • Sometimes it can be hard to figure out if your cats are playing or fighting. Here are a few things to remember:
    1. Playing is fairly quiet compared to fighting. Sometimes cats may hiss or make other sounds during play, but there is usually no loud wailing and howling.
    2. There is rarely any injury in play (or if there is an injury, it's a minor one). When fighting, one or both cats usually ends up with an not-so-minor injury.
    3. If one or both cats seem to avoid each other for a while after the 'event', it was most likely a fight. With play, cats aren't afraid of each other after it's over.
    4. When cats play, they usually take turns in the offensive and defensive roles; when fighting, the roles don't shift.
    5. Cats that play together more often that fight together will show friendly behaviours (like sleeping close to one another).
  • Scratching is one behaviour that causes many cat owners some grief. Scratching serves several functions for the cat, like claw maintenance, stretching muscles and tendons, and marking territory. Without declawing the cat, it's very hard to stop a cat from scratching. The easiest thing to do is to encourage the cat to only scratch certain items. It's important to start this early because cats will develop favourite scratching places. From day one, go around the house and make all the potential scratching places 'un-appealing' (covering furniture in plastic, using double sided tape or aluminum foil), but make sure to leave a few objects around that the cats are allowed to scratch. Cats have personal preferences for the types of objects they'll scratch, so try to have a variety. If your cat doesn't have much interest in the objects you've left for him, try putting catnip on can either rub actually catnip on the object or spray it with a catnip spray. Adding a toy to a scratching post can also create interest. One thing not to do is take the cat and forcefully move its paws along the post. The cat will not like this and won't associate its natural scratching habits with the post.

  • All cats will misbehave at some point, but punishing them must be done in a way to stop the behaviour, not cause more problems. Punishments like hitting, slapping, and shaking will not break a habit and it's cruel. For any punishment to be effective, it's got to occur while the cat is in the act. A delay, even of a few seconds, will render the punishment ineffective.

  • There are a few things you can do to stop problem behaviour. Try a water pistol. The cat will become afraid of the pistol but not you, which is what you want. Another good trick is to shake a can filled with coins, marbles or anything else that will make noise.

  • Consistency is important when disciplining your cat. A common mistake people make is to play roughly with their cat one day, but get angry when the cat tries to do the same thing the next day. Cats will learn best with consistent rules and enforcement.

  • Myths

    Myth: Feed your cat as much as she likes; cats have a natural appetite control.
    Fact: Over feeding your cat can cause it to be overweight, which can shorten its life span.

    Myth: Cats that are spayed or neutered automatically gain weight.
    Fact: Cats gain weight from eating too much, not exercising enough or both.

    kitten with milk Myth: Cats should drink milk everyday.
    Fact: While most cats do like milk, they don't need it if they're properly nourished. Some cats can be lactose intolerant and milk will cause them problems. If you feed your cats milk at all, make sure it's in small amounts, infrequently.

    Myth: Cats always land on their feet.
    Fact: Cats may instinctively fall feet first, but they can also receive broken bones. Make sure to secure any windows or balconies to prevent a fall.

    Myth: Indoor cats cannot get diseases.
    Fact: Cats can be exposed to organisms that are brought into the house (in the air, on people's shoes, clothing, etc.). Get your cats vaccinated even if they remain indoors.

    Myth: Pregnant women should not own cats.
    Fact: Cats can be infected with a disease (toxoplasmosis) which can be spread to humans through litter boxes. This disease can cause problems to unborn babies. This can be controlled if the mother-to-be avoids contact with the litter box. (It should be noted that this disease can also be passed through the handling of raw meat, so litter boxes are not the only thing pregnant women should be weary of)

    I have tried to make all these facts as accurate as possible, although I have found different views on some of these topics. If you know that something I've included is wrong, please let me know!