Facts about cats

Interesting cat facts

Sir Isaac Newton invented the cat flap.

Domestication of cats is believed to have occurred in the Fertile Crescent, between 9,000-10,000 years ago. They evolved in a symbiotic relationship with farmers, helping to protect grains by keeping rodent populations down. Cats had a plentiful supply of food while being protected from predators.

An ailurophile is a person who loves cats. The word ailuro is the ancient Greek word for cat.

Ailurophobia is a fear of cats

At their fastest, cats can run at 30mph.

A group of kittens is called a kindle.

litter of kittens known as kindle

A group of cats is called a clowder.

The cat is the only domesticated animal NOT mentioned in the bible.

Male cats used to be called rams or boars, however, in 1760, an anonymous author wrote a book entitled “The Life and Adventures of a Cat” in which the central character was a male called Tom the Cat. This book was hugely popular and the name tom cat quickly replaced ram or boar.

Cats have existed longer than humans.

Cat urine glows under black light. Clay cat litter came about by accident. In 1948 a neighbour by the name of Kay Draper went into her local sawmill to pick up some sawdust for her cat’s litter tray. She had been using ash but was fed up with it being tracked all over her house. Ed Lowe, the son of the owner offered her some clay, known as Fullers Earth which was used to absorb grease. Ed realised he was onto something and started marketing the product in pet shops and at cat shows. It took a while to take off, but eventually, it became a multi-million dollar business.




Calico and tortoiseshell cats are almost always female.

A litter of kittens is called a kindle.

A group of cats is called a clowder.

The largest breed of cat is the Maine Coon.

The smallest breed of cat is the Singapura.

The oldest breed of cat is the Egyptian Mau.

The most popular breeds of cat are; Persian, Maine Coon, Exotic, Siamese, Abyssinian, Ragdoll, Birman, and Oriental.

Cats sleep between 12 – 18 hours a day.

Cats are good for human health. It is said they help to lower blood pressure, depression, cholesterol, and cat owning heart attack patients have a higher survival rate.

Cats transfer feel-good pheromones from their face onto you, furniture and objects.

A cat’s meow is reserved for to humans, they don’t meow to other cats or animals.

Cats walk in what is known as a directly register. Their hind foot lands in the same spot that the front foot was. This reduces tracks and reduces noise both of which help cats to remain less visible to predators.

How a cat walks

Cat anatomy facts

Cats are digitigrade, meaning they walk on their toes.

They are also quadruped, as they have four feet.

Cats have 18 toes in total. 5 toes on each front foot and 4 toes on each rear foot. Some cats have more than the “normal” number of toes, these are known as polydactyl or Hemingway cats.

Polydactyl cat
Image courtesy Trish Hamme, Flickr

The cat’s front claws partially retract into their sheath when not in use this helps to prevent the claws becoming snagged when walking as well as blunting them. The back claws aren’t as retractable as the front claws, this explains why the front claws are much sharper than the rear.

Cats can jump 5 times their height.

The domestic cat is the only species of cat that can hold its tail vertically while walking.

Cats have the largest eyes in proportion to their body size of all mammals.

Cats usually have 12 whiskers on each side of its nose.

Cats don’t kill their prey with their claws, the claws are used to hold onto the prey, the teeth are used to kill the prey.

The claws on the cat’s back feet aren’t as sharp as the claws on the front feet because they can’t retract into the toe, therefore they’re continually being worn down by walking.

The two folds of skin at the bottom outside of the cat’s ear are known as Henry’s Pockets, or medicaly cutaneous marginal pouches.

More cats are left handed than right handed. Out of every 100 cats, approximately 40 are left-pawed, 20 are right-pawed, and 40 are ambidextrous.

The ridged pattern on a cat’s nose pad is as individual as a human fingerprint.

All kittens are born with blue eyes. They change colour around the 8th week of life.

Cats can run around 48 kph (30 mph), but only over short distances.

Cats sweat through their paws.

Cats don’t only purr when they are happy, they also purr when they are in pain. It is thought to be soothing to them.

A cat’s tongue contains a number of backward facing hooks known as filiform papillae. These assist with grooming and help to remove flesh from the bones of prey.

Whiskers are the same width as the cat’s body, helping it determine if a space is wide enough to walk through.

Adult cats have 30 teeth which are known as permanent or adult teeth.

Kittens have 26 teeth which are known as deciduous teeth or baby teeth.

Cat teeth

Cat health facts

A cat’s pulse is between 130 – 240 beats per minute.

A cat’s gestation is between 61 – 70 days.

The normal body temperature is 102 degrees F.

Like humans, kittens have baby teeth, which are replaced with their adult teeth from around 6 months of age.

Cats perspire through their paws.

Cats breathe at a rate of 20 – 30 breaths per minute.

A female cat is pregnant for approximately 63 days.

A pregnant cat is known as a queen.

Cat bones facts

There are approximately 244 bones in your cat’s body.

Cats have 30 vertebrae. Humans have 25.

Cats have between 20-23 bones in their tail.

The cat’s front paws have 5 toes and their back paws have 4. However, some cats have more than this number of toes. When a cat has more than 18 toes, it’s called a polydactyl. Poly comes from the Greek word “polys” which means many or more than one. Dactyl also comes from a Greek word daktylos or finger.

Male cats have a bone in their penis called a baculum.

Also see:

Cat questions What do cats like What don’t cats like