We’re crazy about cat facts. Something about cats, especially cute kittens, never fails to pique our interest. In light of this, we’ve found the perfect list of facts about cats and cat statistics — random facts that make learning cat facts fun for kids and adults alike!
We’ve gathered a ferocious set of fun facts about cats, from facts about to domestic cats to facts about big cats, like mountain lions and cheetahs. You won’t find a more incredibly interesting list of cat facts anywhere.
55 Fun Facts About Cats
1. Cats Can Make Over 90 Different Sounds
Meow! Grrrr! Hisss! These are some of the noises we typically associate with cats. One of the most surprising cat facts is that cats can actually make almost 100 different sounds. Cats have a wide range of vocalizations from the peeps of kittens to the meows of adults.
Kittens typically meow to their mother for milk, but most adult cats are only known to meow in the presence of humans. Cat owners must be seen as cat parents after all!
Scientific studies of the noises cats make have mostly centered on classifying the various sounds. Some scientists have sought to learn the truth behind one of the most mysterious cat facts – how do cats purr?
The rhythmic vibration of the purr comes from the cat’s throat, but, as yet, there is no agreement on how exactly the sound is made.
Do you ever get the feeling your cats are talking to you? Maybe they are! Cats have been known to imitate the sounds of human babies to attract the attention of their owners.
They can also recognize the sound of their owner’s voice. However, cats lack the advanced mental capabilities of humans that enable language. So don’t worry – you’re still smarter than your cat.
2. Lions, Tigers, Jaguars, and Leopards Purr Too
When we think of purring, we often think of house cats, but big cats like cheetahs and mountain lions also purr. Even tigers, lions, jaguars, and leopards sometimes make a purr-like sound when they exhale.
The roar of a lion is actually closely associated with the purring sound all cats make. One cat species’ ability to purr and another species to roar is based on their anatomy, including specific features of the vocal folds and the length of the vocal tract.
3. Cats Can Move Their Ears 180 Degrees
Cats have amazing hearing that’s made possible by some incredible features of their anatomy. They can move their ears 180 degrees. We’ve heard of looking back, but cats can ‘hear back’ too! Cats can also hear higher frequencies than humans. Humans can hear frequencies up to 20kHz, while cats can hear up to 64kHz.
Cats have an array of over 30 different muscles controlling their ears. This gives cats incredible control over their ears and the ability to point each ear independently. One of our favorite cat facts is that cats actually have better hearing than dogs! Plus one for our feline friends!
Cats are incredibly good at hearing different tones and identifying the location of sounds. This leads us to another cat fact. Cats know when we’re talking to them. Our cats might look like they don’t hear us when they’re sitting in the middle of the stairs and we tell them to get out of the way, but they’re only pretending they don’t!
4. Milk Is Not Good For Cats! Most Cats Are Lactose Intolerant
Some people think that feeding cats milk is good for them. This supposed cat fact is really a myth. Perhaps it’s all those cartoons we’ve seen featuring kittens lapping milk from saucers, but cats are lactose intolerant and feeding them cow’s milk is not suitable for their digestive system.
It’s true, however, that kittens need milk to survive. The best milk a kitten can have is the milk from its own mother. When a kitten is orphaned, there is special kitten formula you can use to ensure the kitten develops into a healthy adult cat.
Despite the myth, cow’s milk doesn’t have the right set of nutrients to help a kitten grow. While some cats are not lactose intolerant, freshwater is the best thing for all cats to drink.
5. There Are Exactly 24 Whiskers On Every Cat
Cat’s whiskers are another amazing feature of their anatomy. There are exactly 24 whiskers on a cat, 12 on each side of their face. Cats use their whiskers for hunting and for sensing their surroundings. Veterinary neuroscientists have established some incredible cat facts relating to whiskers.
A cat’s whiskers connect to a part of its brain that is similar to the visual cortex. This means that cats can almost see with their whiskers.
When hunting in close quarters, a cat’s whiskers will point toward their prey. It’s also been shown that cats with damaged whiskers have difficulty catching their prey. Those whiskers are more than just a fashion statement! Cats also use their whiskers to sense whether or not they can fit into a tight space.
6. All House Cats are Descended from One Species, Felis Sylvestris
Recent studies show domestic cats are all descendants of one species, Felis sylvestris. It’s an incredible cat fact that all the different breeds of cats in the world are from one species that was domesticated in the Near East nearly 12,000 years ago! As humans developed agricultural societies, cats likely became helpful in controlling rodent populations.
The love affair of Egyptians and cats is perhaps one of the best-known cat facts in history. Some gods were portrayed as cats in Ancient Egypt. Cat owners in Egypt were even mummified with their cats so that they would have their pets with them in the afterlife. Some cat owners today still treat their pets like gods!
7. The First Brand of Commercial Cat Litter Was Invented in 1947
Of course, no list of cat facts would be complete without a kitty litter fact. File this one under practical cat facts! Cat litter was originally mostly sand that was bagged and sold by pet stores until 1947 when Edward Lowe introduced his clay-based Kitty Litter. At first, Lowe had trouble convincing his local pet store to sell the product.
Lowe took a gamble and gave his cat litter away for free until people were willing to pay for it. Lowe’s gamble paid off, and Kitty Litter became such a household name that the trademark became generalized to refer to all cat litter. Lowe continued in the cat litter business and founded the company behind the Tidy Cat brand of cat litter.
8. Is It Time for a Catnap? Cat’s Spend 2/3rds of Their Life Sleeping
It’s almost always a good time for cats to take a catnap. Has it ever seemed like your cat is always napping? That’s because cats spend around two-thirds of their life sleeping, unlike humans who spend around a third of their time asleep.
For kittens, sleeping is an important part of their developmental process. Kittens produce a certain type of growth hormone only during their sleep cycle.
You might wonder whether it’s ok for your cat to sleep in your bed. Doctors caution against sleeping with animals if you have allergies. It’s generally ok to have a pet sleep in your bed as long as you aren’t allergic, and as long as they don’t hog the covers!
9. Snow Leopards, Cheetahs and More Big Cats are Endangered
One of the sad cat facts is that big cats are now endangered all over the world. Snow leopards, panthers, mountain lions, jaguars, cheetahs, and other big cats are being pushed to extinction. As humans use more and more natural resources, we are harming the habitats of big cats all around the world.
In addition to reduced habitats, these proud predators often don’t have enough prey to thrive either. Big cats are still revered for their hides in some cultures, and poaching further threatens the existence of these incredible animals.
You can do your part to prevent this sad cat fact from becoming a grim reality by refusing to buy any goods made from big cats’ fur. A real leopard print bag might sound cool, but it’s not cool for our big feline friends!
10. Owning a Cat Reduces Cardiovascular Disease and Lowers Cholesterol
Doesn’t it seem like cat ladies live forever? That’s because they do! Cat owners enjoy the companionship of a four-legged friend along with a lot of additional health benefits. It’s a heart-warming cat fact to know that owning a cat reduces the chance of cardiovascular disease and lowers your risk of a heart attack.
Another heartening fact is that owning a cat has also been shown to lower cholesterol and reduce high blood pressure.
Cats actually reduce allergies and asthma. While it may seem like a counter-intuitive cat fact — like the fact that cats can hear better than dogs — it’s true. Studies have shown that infants and kids exposed to cats are less likely to develop allergies and asthma later in life. Being exposed to cats early in life triggers a child’s immune system to begin developing immunity.
These little feline healers are holistic practitioners. Owning a cat is good for both your body and your mind. Cat owners frequently report lower levels of stress than other people, and cats have even been shown to help provide therapy for autistic children.
A cat a day keeps the doctor away! People who own cats also require fewer trips to healthcare professionals. No wonder the Egyptians adored cats and many people still treat them like gods today!
11. There is a Cat Mayor
Stubbs the Cat has been the honorary mayor of Talkeetna in Alaska since July 1997.
12. Whiskers can be rulers
Cats use whiskers to measure whether they can fit through a space.
13. The Siberian Tiger is the biggest wildcat in the world and it can weigh up to 423kg.
14. The tufts in cats ears keep them insulated.
These tufts also help them keep out debris and are sometimes called “ear furnishings”.
15. Cats can’t see directly in front of their noses.
16. Cats have both a short term and a long term memory.
Just like their humans, cats have both a long-term and short-term memory and can retain what has happened to them for 16 hours.
17. Cats can’t taste anything sweet.
In order to crave something sweet, you must be able to taste it. Cats lack one of the proteins needed to allow them to be able to taste anything sweet. As cats only eat meat they have never needed to be able to taste sweet items.
18. Mau is the Egyptian word for cat
The breed of Egyptian Mau cat is believed to be the oldest in the world (the Egyptians loved their cats).
19. Cats can drink seawater
Unlike their humans, a cat’s kidney can filter salt out of the water so they can drink seawater.
20. In Egyptian times, killing a cat resulted in the death penalty.
21. Cats walk with both left legs and then both right legs
Only giraffes, camels and Icelandic ponies also walk in this manner.
22. The purpose of Fur licking is weather dependent
Cats lick their fur in the winter in order to smooth it. This then acts as an insulation layer. In the summer licking their fur allows them to cool down.
23. The oldest living cat in the world is 31 years old.
The average lifespan for a cat is between 12 and 18 years.
24. Some cats have extra toes.
Maine Coon cats are sometimes born with six toes.
25. Cats have more bones than humans.
Humans have 206 bones, cats have 244 bones.
26. There are more cats than dogs in the United States
It is estimated that there are 78 million dogs in the United States and nearly 86 million cats.
27. Cats can jump six times their body length.
Or put another way cats can jump up to five times their own height.
28. Cats sweat through their paws.
29. We don’t know why cats meow
To this date, no one has been able to work out exactly why cat’s meow. If you own a cat you’ll know that it is a method of communication. It is most likely that this originates from their time as a kitten and that the meow was a means of getting their mother’s attention.
30. Cats don’t like getting wet because it is a loss of control, not because of wet fur.
If a cat is submerged in water, it will become buoyant and most cats can’t swim so they’ll lose control. But not all cats hate water. Certain breeds, including Siamese, Siberians, Bengals and Maine Coons, don’t mind a bit of water.
31. Not every cat has fur
There are several cat breeds including Sphynx and Peterbald cats that don’t have fur. Instead they often have a fine down on their skin.
32. The first cat show was in 1871.
The first cat show was held in London at Crystal Palace in 1871. The Crystal Palace cat show still takes place every year.
33. There is a cat who runs a train station
At the Kishi train station near Wakayama City in Japan the station master is a calico cat.
34. Cats don’t always land on their feet.
Cats have an amazing sense of balance and they react fast. If a cat realizes it is falling, it will twist its flexible backbone during the fall so it doesn’t land on its back. Cats can also spread their legs out to land like a parachute. Most of the time cats land on their feet but not every time.
35. Cats have gone into space.
In 1963 a French scientist put a cat called Felicette into a rocket and sent her into space. She successfully re-entered the earth’s orbit and landed on her paws via a parachute.
36. A group of kittens is called a Kindle
I have no idea if this is where Amazon came up with the name for their e-reader but a group of kittens is called a Kindle. A group of full grown cats is called a clowder.
37. Most cats don’t like catnip
At least half of the world’s cats don’t care about catnip. No one knows why one cat loves catnip and the next isn’t fussed. However, scientists have worked out that the enjoyment of catnip is genetic so if your cat had catnip-crazy parents the odds are they will love catnip too.
38. Cats spend between 30 and 50% of their time on grooming themselves.
Between grooming and sleeping it is fantastic that cats find time to do anything else! Self-grooming serves several purposes for cats. It cools them down, it promotes blood flow, and distributes oils across their coat to help them stay warm and dry, it can be a sign of affection between two cats and it also helps to reduce their scent to help avoid predators.
39. The scientific name for hairballs is trichobezoar.
Tricho means hair, and bezoar is a lump of material that can’t be digested.
40. Male cats tend to be left pawed, female cats right pawed.
41. Cats have to turn around to come down a tree.
Cats can’t walk down a tree headfirst. They have to go down it backward so that their claws face the same way.
42. Cats were introduced into America from Europe as a form of pest control in the 1750s.
43. Cats can recognize human voices.
They generally choose not to listen to them.
44. Cat noses have a unique print, like a fingerprint
45. The section of the brain that controls emotions is almost identical in cats and in humans.
46. If your cat doesn’t cover its poop it is a sign of aggression.
This means that your cat no longer fears you.
47. Cats have nearly twice the amount of vertebrae as humans.
Have you ever wondered why your cat is so good at yoga? It is because it has 53 vertebrae and you only have 34.
48. Cat’s jaws can’t move sideways.
49. Disneyland is home to 200 feral cats.
These cats have been neutered or spayed and receive medical care and food. This is because they help to control the rodent population of Disneyland.
50. Cats are nearsighted, but their peripheral and night vision are much better than those of humans.
51. Cats have an extra organ that allows them to taste scent in the air.
This is why your cat may sometimes stare at you with its mouth open.
52. Cat’s tails help them balance when walking on narrow spaces or when they jump.
53. A cat can lick all the meat of a bone with just its tongue.
54. Cats are Crepuscular.
This means they are most active at dusk and dawn.
55. Indoor cats live longer than outdoor cats
Outdoor cats face considerably more danger from other cats, humans and cars than those kitties who stay indoors.
56. Cats have a unique vocabulary with their owners
Every cat will have different purrs, noises, and behaviors with its owners.
57. Cats find direct eye contact threatening.
There are so many amazing cat facts about these pluperfect companions. To learn more, visit a cat near you!