Anthony Baraya

Pet Insurance

15 Sep 2015

Surprising Cat Facts You May Not Know

Cats make loving pets for people of all ages, but do you know everything about our feline friends? Here are some surprising cat facts you may not know.

Cats are silent, deadly hunters

Cat owners are well aware of their cat’s adeptness at being invisible, but cats will also go to great lengths to not be heard. When they walk their back paws will step in the same place as their front paws to keep them moving as soundlessly as possible and able to evade the notice of their prey. Felines are incredible hunters and will watch and wait before chasing. If you've ever had a kitten you may have noticed how strong their instincts are in the way they play. Play fighting is how kittens practise their hunting skills.

They will only meow at humans

Communication between felines is usually limited to body language and scent with very little need for sound, unless it’s a territorial fight when yowling and hissing are common. Domestic cats will meow at humans to indicate their needs, whether they’re hungry, want to go outside or want you to go away. Different meows have different meanings and cat owners are often able to distinguish their cat’s meows. Usually a short meow is a standard greeting, while multiple meows indicate your pet is trying to get your attention.

They have three eyelids and no one knows why

If you've ever examined your cat’s eyes closely, you may have discovered that they have an inner eyelid that can become visible when your cat is relaxing with her eyes half open. This eyelid is a nictitating membrane, and is also present in other animals such as reptiles, sharks, dogs and birds. When the cat is alert most of the third eyelid is hidden in the eye socket and only a small section is visible in the eye’s inner corner. Its exact function remains a mystery but it is believed to protect the eye as the cat moves through tall grass or shrubbery while hunting.

Spaying or neutering your cat can extend its lifespan

This is true for any pet you may have. The surgery eliminates the risk of many cancers as well as lowering your cat’s desire to roam and find themselves in danger. A cat in its peak of fertility will often put itself at risk just to find a mate, and it is very difficult to keep a cat like this indoors. Animal shelters deal with many stray kittens and puppies as a result of excessive breeding and owners unable to take care of the needs of the litters. If you don’t want to breed from your cat it is important to ensure your cat is desexed. Ultimately this means a happier and healthier pet cat and peace of mind for you.

Singer Katy Perry is a cat lover

Katy is the owner of a cat named Kitty Purry and two designs for her signature perfumes “Purr” and “Meow!” were inspired by her feline companion. She is even reported to have given Kitty Purry a dramatic, lion inspired haircut. Other cat loving celebs who regularly pose in photos with their kitties include Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Kim Kardashian.

Cats have a built-in GPS

There are many fascinating true stories of lost cats returning to their owners after significant time and distance away from their original home. Perhaps most notably is Howie the Persian cat, who travelled from Queensland to Adelaide, South Australia, covering over 1,600km after being left in the care of relatives when his family went on holiday. Howie’s fate didn’t look good since he was a house cat with very little experience in the real world. However, he made the long journey back home, returning a year later to the complete surprise of his owners. There are many similar cases of cats being reunited with their families making Howie’s case more than just a happy coincidence.

Domestic cats have an incredible homing instinct that enables them to use a combination of internal clocks, angles of the sun and the earth’s magnetic field in order to return to their homes. It is believed that this is not a product of thought, but of instinct and this instinct is certainly crucial to a cat’s survival.

Cats are curious and fascinating creatures and can make loyal pets. These are just a few surprising facts about cats that you may not have known. Of course, each cat has its own personality that will continually surprise its owners.