cats have a similar range of hearing when it
comes to low-pitched sounds, but cats have a
much greater ability to hear very high
notes-better, even, than dogs.
All the big cats, including
lions and tigers, react to catnip just the way
our little cats do. In fact, some zoos give
their big cats catnip as part of a general
program of environmental enrichment.
Cats like to be a lot warmer
than we do. We start to feel uncomfortable when
our skin temperature gets higher than about
112(F (44.5(C), but cats don't start to feel
uncomfortable until their skins reaches about
In the language of the ancient
Egyptians, the word for cat was miou. The name
has been somewhat revived in the modern breed
the Egyptian Mau.
Cats can judge within three
inches the location of a sound being made one
yard away. This is an essential skill for a
predator who needs to catch a mouse hiding in
More than 20 muscles in each ear
enable a cat to move her ears like radar dishes
and pinpoint the source of a sound. The two
ears can rotate in different directions, as
The Ragdoll and the Maine Coon
are the biggest breeds. Both can weigh 20
pounds or more.
A cat's heart beats about twice
as fast as your heart—about 110 to 140
times a minute in the average cat.
Cats seem to have an instinctive
ability to find their way home; tests have
shown that they use the earth’s magnetic
fields to navigate.
Our beloved housecats are
descended from the African wildcat, a small
brown tabby that today is an endangered
Cats can compress or elongate
their spine, making them smaller to sleep in
snuggly places or longer to leap across wide
Protruding eyes give cats a
wider angle of vision than we have. They also
have great peripheral vision. Both these
adaptations are advantages to animals who are
both predator and prey in the wild.
The Persian is the most popular
breed of cat, followed by the Siamese and the
Maine Coon Cat.
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Pouncing is powered by a cat's
thighs. These muscles are so powerful that if
you had a cat's thigh muscles, your thighs
would be as big as your waist and you could
jump from the ground to the top of a house.
Of all the parts of the body,
the cat's paws have the most sensitive touch
receptors. They are exquisitely
pressure-sensitive, and some researchers
believe they can even sense tiny
Cats walk by moving their front
and back legs on one side, then the other side.
That is, the right hind leg moves forward, then
the right foreleg; then the sequence is
repeated on the left side. Only camels and
giraffes move in the same way.
Cats spend about 70 percent of
their day sleeping and 15 percent grooming.
This is not only true for domestic cats. In the
wild, a lion will sleep 20 hours a day.
The most common eye colors in
cats are in the middle of the eye color
spectrum (greenish-yellow to gold). The colors
at the ends of the eye color spectrum (deep
green or brilliant copper) are usually seen
only in pedigreed cats who have been
selectively bred for dramatic eye color, but
they may sometimes appear in non-pedigreed
In the Siamese cat, a lower
temperature causes more dark coloration in the
growing hairs. This is why newborn kittens,
warm from their mother's womb, are white all
over. As they grow up in normal temperatures,
the hottest areas of their body, around the
stomach and back, remain pale in color, while
their cooler extremities gradually become
The first cat show took place in
1871 at the Crystal Palace in London. The first
cat show in North America was held in New
England in the 1870s for Maine Coon Cats.
The orange gene that results in
the tortoiseshell coat pattern is linked to the
gene that determines a cat's sex. This means
nearly all tortoiseshell cats are female, and
the rare male tortie is usually sterile.
A cat has 250 bones in his body,
compared to 206 in our bodies. Think about how
much bigger you are than your cat, and you'll
understand why cats have a lot more places
where they can bend and twist than we do
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