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19 fascinating facts about cats

As a cat lover, you know there’s something special about your feline companion — and scientists agree. Here are 19 fascinating fun facts about cats that may surprise you...

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1) Cats were worshipped by the ancient Egyptians

In ancient Egypt, cats were often mummified after their death by their rich owners, and killing a cat – even accidentally – incurred the death penalty! When a cat died, its owner would usually shave off their own eyebrows as a mark of respect.

2) Cats love to sleep

This one won’t surprise you! Chances are you’ve envied your cat’s ability to spend all day asleep – especially after a busy week at work. But you may be surprised to learn that most cats spend between 12 and 15 hours asleep on the average day – a figure that increases with age.

3) Your cat has more bones than you do

While we humans have 206 bones in our bodies, cats have more than 230. A lack of collar bone and a small chest cavity help to give your cat the ability to squeeze into small spaces, while the extra bones in your cat’s spine and tail give her added flexibility.

4) Just as you are right or left-handed, your cat favours a right or left front paw

Most female cats are believed to be right pawed – up to 90 per cent, in fact – while male cats are more likely to be left handed than their female counterparts.

5) Your cat has a third eyelid

Like many mammals, cats have a third eyelid, called a palpebra tertia. This inner membrane helps to keep your cat’s eyes clean and healthy, by removing dust and dirt, and helping to supply moisture.

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6) Just like a fingerprint, no two cat noses are alike

Every cat’s nose has its own pattern, and is as unique as a human fingerprint.

7) Your cat’s purr could have healing powers

Sound frequencies of between 25 and 150 Hertz have been found to promote healing. And guess what – your cat’s purr consistently falls within this range. As well as helping cats to self-heal, these soothing vibrations can improve the health of their human family. No wonder they say cat ownership helps to reduce stress!

8) Your cat is faster than Usain Bolt

The average running speed of a domestic cat is around 30 miles per hour. The average speed of Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt is 27 miles per hour. That’s furry fast! (Sorry).

9) The average cat spends around a third of her waking hours grooming

Grooming has many benefits to your cat’s health and wellbeing – stimulating her blood flow, providing protection against parasites, and helping to keep her temperature regulated, so it’s a good job she takes the activity seriously. Some experts estimate the amount of time cats spend on self-cleaning to be even higher.

10) Unlike their canine counterparts, cats can’t taste sweet foods

You may have noticed that your cat doesn’t have a sweet tooth, and can’t be tempted by sugary foods. All cats – from your beloved pet to the fiercest tiger – are obligate carnivores, and lack the gene to taste sweet foods.

11) Cats can jump five times their height

Watch in amazement next time your cat effortlessly leaps onto high furniture. It’s like having your own household superhero.

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12) Cats use their whiskers to "see" in the dark

Your cat’s whiskers are so sensitive, they help navigate their surroundings, especially in the dark, making them the perfect nocturnal companion.

13) Cats were once mayors — really!

Imagine a cat running your town! In Talkeetna, Alaska, a cat named Stubbs was the honorary mayor for 20 years, charming locals and visitors alike.

14) Cats can perform tricks on command

Who says you can't teach an old cat new tricks? Didga the cat holds the record for performing 24 tricks in one minute.

15) The rich and famous? Cats qualify too

Blackie, once the world's richest cat, was left a whopping £7 million by his owner. Who needs a financial advisor when you have nine lives and a hefty inheritance?

16) Cats have a biological musical talent

With the ability to make over 100 different sounds, your cat might just be the next big music sensation – step aside, bird song!

17) Ancient astronauts? Cats almost qualify!

In 1963, a French cat named Félicette became the first and only feline to travel to space, paving the way for astro-cats everywhere.

Read more: How to clip your cat's nails

18) Cats have fewer taste buds than dogs or people

Less interested in variety, your cat's taste buds are tailored to their carnivorous habits, focusing on the meaty flavors they love.

19) Cats don't get cavities like we do

Though they're not prone to cavities, cats can still suffer from other dental issues, so regular check-ups are a must to keep those pearly whites healthy.

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Need help or advice on cat ownership?

For expert advice on all things feline, get in touch with your local vet. 

Find your nearest vet using our find a vet page, or speak to a vet online using our video vets service.

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