Only 1 in 16 People Know All of These Cat Facts. Do You?

Maria Trimarchi

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Think you know a lot about cats?  Do you know what they're really doing, when cats rub their cheeks or whiskers on you? 

Did you know that your cat's brain is, structurally at least, about 90 percent similar to your own brain? If you've lived with a cat, their intelligence, much like their antics, is probably of no surprise -- they have a bad reputation for being, let's say, self-absorbed. In fact, back among the ancient Egyptians, cats, which were called "mau," were highly-revered creatures -- and worshiped in the form of a half-feline goddess, Bastet. Hurting a cat could result in the death penalty, in their culture.

Today, cats also enjoy certain esteemed roles. No opposable thumbs? No problem. For instance, in October 1963, about two years after Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to go into space, a French feline named Félicette was the first cat launched into space (and, yes, she did make it safely back to the ground, in a kitty-friendly parachute). And, there are the animated and beloved cats, such as Tigger (from "Winnie the Pooh"), Figaro (from Disney's "Pinocchio") and the Cheshire Cat (from "Alice in Wonderland"). There's also the famous mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska -- for the 20 years between July 1997 and July 2017, the mayor of the town was a yellow cat with a missing tail, named Stubbs (OK, he was an honorary mayor, content giving out advice from his office located at Nagley's Store).

From head to tail, let's find out how much you know about our feline overlords, er ... companions.

Do cats always land on their feet?

Most of the time, yes, cats will land on their feet from a fall. In the instances when they don't, it's most often because the cat didn't have enough time to position himself feet-first.

Which can't cats taste?

A few mammals can't taste sweet flavors, and cats are one of them -- but it's not because they don't like it. They lack the taste receptors to recognize it. And while they can taste them, cats are likely to avoid bitter and very sour flavors.

Why do cats purr?

Cats do purr because they're happy or content, but that's not the only reason. Because a cat's purr has a consistent pattern and a frequency between 25 Hz and 150 Hz, it's been found to promote healing and even improve bone density. They're also known to purr when they're giving birth, nursing, sick or wounded, and when they feel stressed out.

How much of their day do most indoor cats, typically, spend sleeping?

By the time a cat is 15 years old, he's spent about 10 years of his life asleep -- because that's what happens when you sleep away 70 percent of your day.

Of all the purebred cat breeds, which is the most common in homes across the U.S.?

Everyone knows the Persian cat not because it's one of the oldest cat breeds, but for its long, silky coat and its squished face. Persians are calm and affectionate, and because their coat is prone to matting, they need to be groomed daily.

What is a male cat known as?

Male cats who aren't neutered are called "toms," or "tomcats." Neutered? Then he's known as a "gib."

What is a female cat called?

A female cat who has been spayed is called a "molly." But if she's unaltered, pregnant or nursing, she's known as a "queen."

What is a group of cats called?

When cats get together, their group is called a "clowder" -- although you could also refer to them as a "pounce" or a "glaring," too. When it comes to kittens, "litter" may be the most common collective noun, but "a kindle" or an "intrigue" of kittens is also correct.

How high can a cat jump?

The average domestic house cat is 18 inches long, not including its tail, which means it could jump up to 108 inches, or 9 feet -- which is six times its length.

A house cat's genome is 95.6 percent the same as what other animal?

Although domestic cats and tigers split on the evolutionary tree about 10 million years ago, according to the cat genome, a house cat shares about 95 percent of its DNA with the biggest member of the feline family.

The average cat's purr is about as loud as what?

The loudest purr ever recorded was Smokey, whose 92-decibel purr was as loud as a Boeing 737. Most cats, though, purr at around 25 decibels, which is quiet as a whisper.

While some cats are ambidextrous, how many cats prefer their left or right paw for getting things done?

As many as 40 percent of cats have a handedness (or, should we call it pawness?) preference. Additionally, female cats are more likely to be right-pawed, whereas male cats are more likely to prefer their left.

Pure white cats with what color eyes are often born deaf?

The majority of pure white cats with blue eyes are born deaf. In fact, odd-eyed pure white cats with one blue eye are commonly deaf in the ear that's near that eye.

Do all cats love catnip?

Only about half of cats are affected by catnip -- in herb or oil form. If yours doesn't go crazy, it's because he didn't inherit a sensitivity to it from his parents. And if your cat does go nuts for the stuff, storing it in the freezer will help keep it potent.

Most cats have 18 toes. What are cats who have more than 18 toes called?

Most cats have 18 toes -- five on each front paw and four on each back paw. Some cats have extra digits on one or more of their paws, and they're known as "polydactyl."

What breed of cat is known for its lack of a furry coat?

Although they aren't completely hairless -- some do grow a fine fuzz or fuzzy patches, Sphynx cats are hairless cats. And because they have no fur to absorb their skin oils, they need to be bathed more frequently than furry cats.

Why do cats have whiskers?

Cats have four rows of whiskers, and, generally, each cat's whiskers are about as wide as her body. Whiskers may also grow along the jaw, above the eyes, and on the back of the front legs. They use all of these touch receptors, called vibrissae, to "feel" what's around them, like GPS and radar systems. Whiskers also help cats gauge if they'd be able to fit in a tight or awkward space, measure distances, and also can provide some clues into your cat's mood.

Can cats see color?

Despite what many people think, cats don't just see the world in shades of gray. Like humans, they are trichomats, which means their eyes have three kinds of cones with which they can see color. But unlike humans, they best see colors in the blue-violet and greenish-yellow ranges. Additionally, the colors that cats see aren't as saturated and don't have the same rich hues as what people see.

How fast can a cat sprint?

With speeds of up to 30 miles per hour, cats who are in a hurry can sprint 3 mph faster than Jamaican sprinter and world record holder Usain Bolt.

Cats, on average, have about 40 more bones in their skeleton than we do. Twenty of them are located where?

The average length of a male's tail is 11 inches, and just shy of 10 inches for females. A cat's tail is actually an extension of its spine, and is made up of up to 20 bones (depending on the breed of the cat).

Cats with tortoiseshell coats are almost always female. Which other coat also appears almost always on females?

Both the tortoiseshell coat and calico coat are linked to the cat's sex -- almost all cats with these two coats are female. Males are occasionally born, but because of the genetic abnormality, they are born sterile.

Why do cats meow?

Whether it's "meow" in English, "miaou" in French, or "meo-meo" in Vietnamese, adult cats don't meow to each other. "Meow" -- in every language -- is saved only for communication with humans, and can mean many things based on inflection.

Most cats dislike getting wet. Which breed enjoys a dip from time to time?

While the majority of cats are averse to taking a bath or swim, certain breeds are just the opposite. The Turkish van, for instance, is known as "the swimming cat," and Bengals and Maine coons are also known to enjoy a dip.

What type of diet do cats eat?

Cats are strict carnivores, also called "obligate carnivores" because they need to eat meat in order to get certain life-essential amino acids and vitamins, such as taurine and vitamin A.

A cat has what type of vision?

Cats have superior peripheral vision and night vision when compared to how well humans see. For instance, while the visual field of our human eye is approximately 120 degrees of an arc, feline peripheral vision is about 280 degrees. However, because of their large eyes, they can't focus in on anything that's 12 inches or close to them.

How much of their day do cats spend grooming themselves?

Cats are self-cleaning, for the most part, and give grooming a lot of attention -- as much as half of their days are spent on it. And when your cat decides it's time to groom you, consider it a gesture of love; you're now part of the family.

What do cats use their tails for?

Ever wonder how your cat can walk along a narrow ledge with perfect balance and grace? He can thank his tail for that -- and along with his tail, a cat's ears, too, are an integral part of its balancing system. Although balance is the tail's No. 1 purpose, it's also used in cat-to-cat communication.

Cats have an organ, called a vomeronasal organ, in the roof of their mouth that allows them to do what?

Their vomeronasal organ, also known as Jacobson's organ, sits in the roof of the mouth but has ducts accessing both the mouth and the nose. And this is how cats analyze scents via pheromones, fine-tuning what their nose or mouth alone could tell them.

What is it about cats that some people are allergic to?

Itchy, red eyes and a lot of sneezing when you're around cats? Don't assume it's cat hair that's to blame. Allergic reactions are most often triggered by a protein found in a cat's dander, saliva and urine.

What does it mean if your cat's holding her tail high?

You can gain a lot of information from a cat's tail. For instance, when a cat twitches her tail, it's a warning sign. When she tucks it close to her body, she's insecure about something. But when she holds her tail high, you can be sure she's happy.

Cats walk like what other kind of animal?

Cats, believe it or not, walk like giraffes -- and camels, too. When walking, the first step is with both front and back right feet, then both left -- and, each cat step taken is directly on their claws rather than the pads of their paws, which is called digitigrade walking.

How many house cats have "human" names, rather than names like Fluffy or Tigger?

More than half of all house cats in the U.S. have what we'd consider a "human" name. For instance, some of the most popular names male cats are Oliver, Jack and Charlie. And top female cat names include Chloé, Lucy and Sophie.

A person who loves cats is called an ailurophile. What do you call a person who dislikes cats?

Cat lovers are known as ailurophiles. And on the other side of things, those who may dislike or have a phobia of cats are called ailurophobes.

How do cats cool off on a hot day?

Cats cool off with a few different tricks. The time cats spend grooming themselves isn't just for cleaning purposes. While you'll see them lounging in the shade on a hot day, cats also rely on their saliva to act as sweat on their bodies, cooling them down as it evaporates. And despite how hot you think it must get under that furry coat, their fur actually helps with their temperature regulation, even in the summertime. Unlike dogs who pant, panting isn't normal for a cat and could be a sign of something serious.

How can your cat's purr help your health?

Not only can cats help heal their own health issues through purring, their purr can help humans, too. For instance, your cat can help lower your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol level, and reduce your risk of having a heart attack by as much as 30 to 40 percent. And having a cat companion, according to some studies, may also add a few years to your life.

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