The Ultimate Domestic Cats Quiz

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

The Ultimate Domestic Cats Quiz
Image: Marga Frontera/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

So you think you're an expert on cats because you've had Sylvester for 10 years. Well, you might be amazed at how much there really is to know. Do all cats purr? What dialect is "meow"? Do they really have nine lives? Take this quiz and learn more.
How many cats are kept as pets in the United States?
20 million
67 million
Americans own approximately 67 million pet cats.
150 million

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What is the name of the wild ancestor of the domestic cat?
African tiger
Tasmanian Devil
African wild cat
It is known as the African wild cat (or Felis Libica in Latin), a species that is active at night and rarely seen.

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In the process of domestication, many animals have changed anatomically or behaviorally from their wild ancestors. Is this also the case with cats?
yes
no
No, this is not the case at all. Domesticated cats have least changed from their wild ancestors than other domesticated animals.
yes, depending on the region

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What enables cats to silently stalk their prey?
padded feet and flexible muscles
It is their padded feet and flexible muscles that enables them to stalk silently.
retractable claws and fine coordination
strong hind legs and finely-attuned whiskers

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While sleeping, how often do cats purr?
They purr two to three times a night.
They don't purr during sleep.
They might purr for all sorts of reasons and occasions, but the only time they never purr is during sleep (day or night).
They purr during rapid eye movement (REM) and when they're having a nightmare.

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Why are cats that fall from higher stories likely to suffer less injury than those that fall from lower ones?
because they are instinctively geared for higher falls
because they form a parachute with their bodies at the greatest rate of descent (above four stories)
Cats use their bodies (and specifically, their legs) to make a parachute effect upon falling. This is optimized at the maximum rate of descent (about four stories).
because they have more time to prepare their emergency landing from a greater height

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In 1987, it was discovered that giving cats taurine supplements _____ the disease of dilated cardiomyopathy.
had no effect whatsoever on
caused
reversed the effects of
Taurine supplements not only were discovered to reverse the effects of dilated cardiomyopathy, but were seen to allow the cats a complete recovery from the disease.

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How is feline AIDS transmitted?
by means of contact with an infected cat
by means of a bite from an infected cat
Feline AIDS, first diagnosed in 1988, is transmitted from one cat to another by means of a bite that pierces the skin.
by means of a scratch from an infected cat

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According to animal behaviorists, which animal's intelligence and learning ability is greater -- a cat's or a dog's?
they are the same
They believe that the intelligence and learning ability of cats is equivalent to that of dogs; no more and no less.
a cat's
a dog's

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Researchers have discovered that cats can learn complex tasks, especially if the reward is:
warm shelter
petting
food
If the reward is food, all the more likely that the cat will perform complex tasks.

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When a cat licks its fur to clean itself, an ingredient in its saliva conditions the fur. What is this ingredient?
an enzyme
a certain protein
The mystery ingredient is a protein and it is this that is apparently what cat-sensitive people are allergic to.
a hormone

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How do cats that live in the wild mark out their territory?
by scratching their claws on particular trees
They usually scratch their claws on particular trees, which leaves a distinct odor in that territory.
by urinating on particular trees
by leaving droppings in particular areas

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How can one stop a domestic cat from scratching a piece of furniture?
by giving it a smack whenever it tries to scratch there
by putting up signs that say "No scratching allowed"
by replacing it with a scratching post in the same place
Try putting a special scratching post there in the same area and covering the already scratched-up furniture with upholstery.

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Why does a cat sometimes spray urine when you introduce another pet cat into your home?
because it is welcoming the new cat in a cat-like manner
because it feels anxious or threatened
A cat will sometimes feel not so welcoming to another pet cat. In response it will spray urine, because it feels anxious or threatened.
because it is warning the new cat to beware

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One treatment for urine spraying is the drug diazepam. What is another name for this?
Ritalin
Valium
It is commonly known as Valium and it is a tranquilizer also used for humans.
Viagra

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One German animal behaviorist discovered that it took about _____ attempts before a cat caught one mouse.
three
It usually took about three attempts, with the odds generally favoring the prey.
five
eight

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Why do cats often play with mice before killing them?
in order to torture them
the reason is not known
The reason for this is not known, although a number of theories abound.
because they get feline pleasure out of it

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In order to hunt prey successfully, what do cats need to have?
agility
strong claws
experience
It seems that the factor that outweighs the others is experience with that type of prey. Offer a cat an unfamiliar form of prey and the cat might not succeed.

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In a study of 77 pet cats in Bedfordshire, the cats claimed 1,100 prey over the course of a year. What proportion of these were birds?
one quarter
one third
About one third were birds and the other two thirds were small mammals.
two thirds

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Why do ecologists claim that the Bedfordshire study was only half the story?
because some of the victims were actually killed by dogs but were afterward claimed by the cats
because the cats were not studied from morning to night but only during human work hours
because house cats only bring home about half of their victims
Apparently, house cats don't always bring their victims home. In fact, they only bring about half of them.

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You Got:
/20
Marga Frontera/Moment/Getty Images

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