Fifty Fun Feline Facts

BarbaraALane / Pixabay


by Nomi Berger

As fascinating as felines are, and as fanciful as some features seem, these chosen fifty prove that sometimes facts are stranger than fiction.


  • Cats are North America’s most popular pets: 88 million cats compared with 74 million dogs.
  • The most popular pedigreed cat is the Persian, followed by the Maine Coon and the Siamese.
  • The eyes of newborn kittens are always blue, changing color over several months until they reach their final color.
  • One of the reasons that kittens sleep so much is because a vital growth hormone is released only while they’re sleeping.
  • A group of kittens is called a “kindle.”
  • Contrary to popular belief, cats don’t see the world in black and white, but can see variants of red, green and blue.
  • Most cats don’t have eyelashes.
  • Cats have three eyelids.
  • Cats are the mammals with the largest eyes.
  • Cats usually have about 12 whiskers on each side of their face.
  • Cats use their whiskers to gauge whether or not they will fit through an opening.
  • A cat’s taste buds cannot detect sugar, due perhaps to a mutation in a key taste receptor.
  • Cats can drink seawater to re-hydrate themselves due their kidneys’ ability to expel the salt.
  • Cats lack sweat glands on their bodies and sweat through their paws.
  • A cat’s heart beats at a rate of 110 to 140 times per minute.
  • Cats purr around 26 times a second — much like an idling diesel engine — and they purr continuously.
  • Cats can vocalize close to 100 different sounds.
  • Cats spend nearly 1/3 of their waking hours cleaning themselves.
  • The technical term for a cat’s hairball is a “bezoar.”
  • Cats spend 2/3 of every day sleeping, meaning that a nine-year-old cat has been awake for only three years of its life!
  • Cats dream, and begin dreaming when they are a week old.
  • Cats lack true collarbones, allowing them to generally squeeze their bodies through openings the size of their heads.
  • Cats have five toes on each front paw, but only four toes on each back paw.
  • Female cats are mostly left pawed and male cats are right pawed.
  • Cats cannot climb headfirst down a tree because their claws are curved the wrong way, and therefore, must back down.
  • Cats can jump up to five times their height (app. 5 feet) in a single bound while their footpads absorb the shock of each landing.
  • Cats can run at a speed of 31 mph.
  • Some cats have survived falls onto concrete from over 32 stories up due largely to their “righting reflex.”
  • Cats seldom “meow” at other cats as they do with people, but will typically spit, purr, or hiss instead.
  • Cats can hear ultrasonic sounds, and since rodents use ultrasonic sounds to communicate, cats make perfect mouse catchers.
  • Cats are extremely sensitive to vibrations, and are reputedly able to detect earthquake tremors 10 or 15 minutes before humans.
  • The physical structure of the brains of humans and cats is very similar.
  • Cats have 230 bones in their bodies; humans have 206.
  • Cats’ backs are extremely flexible with up to 53 loosely fitting vertebrae, compared with humans who have 34.
  • Cats have 32 muscles that control their outer ear while humans have only 6.
  • A fingerprint is to a human what a nose is to a cat.
  • A group of adult cats is called a “clowder.”
  • A female cat is called a “queen” or a “molly.”
  • While most females give birth to litters of between one and nine kittens, the largest known single litter born to a cat was 19 kittens, of which 15 survived.
  • A cat named Dusty holds the breeding record for having more than 420 kittens in her lifetime.
  • The oldest cat to give birth was Kitty who, at the age of 30, gave birth to two kittens, after having already given birth to 216 in her life.
  • A healthy cat can typically live up to 20 years, which is the equivalent of about 96 human years.
  • The oldest cat on record was Crème Puff of Austin, Texas, who died on August 6, 2005, three days after her 38th birthday.
  • Ancient Egyptians shaved off their eyebrows to mourn the death of their cats.
  • A cat was the mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska for over 15 years.
  • One very lucky cat in Italy inherited a $13 million fortune from its owner.
  • The first cat in space was a French cat named Felicette (a.k.a. “Astrocat”) in 1963.
  • The first cloned cat was called “CC” short for “Carbon Copy.”
  • Approximately one third of cat owners think their cats can read their minds.
  • A cat lover is called an ailurophile, (from the Greek: ailuros (cat) + phile (lover), as well as felinophile, philofelist, and philogalist.



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