9 Interesting Cat Facts

Orange Cat? Probably a Boy

Orange female cats are fairly rare. 80 percent of cats with orange fur are males. Furthermore, there are no solid orange felines. They all have markings of some sort, often a faint “M” on their foreheads.

Cats: Successful Manipulators


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Cats know how to get what they want. According to a 2009 study, they do it by mimicking babies crying. Cats wanting to be fed will make an urgent cry or meowing sound in the 220 to 520-hertz frequency range. Babies’ cries, which humans find difficult to ignore, are also in this frequency range, usually between 300 and 600 hertz.

Cats Can Get Alzheimer’s Disease

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Ageing cats can develop a feline form of Alzheimer’s disease. A 2006 study identified a key protein that can build up in the feline brain, causing mental deterioration and compromising neural pathways in a similar way to that seen in human Alzheimer’s sufferers. 

Fancy a Little Nip?

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Is your cat indifferent to catnip? Not all cats respond to it. In fact, half of cats don’t respond to Nepeta cataria at all. Sensitivity to catnip is inherited. Cats with one catnip-sensitive parent have a one in two chance of developing the sensitivity. If both parents respond to catnip, the chances of their kittens being sensitive to catnip rise to three in four.

Your Cat Is Herding You—and It’s Working

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Does your cat rub and dart between your legs as you walk? Your cat is herding you. “While cats are certainly not bred to be herding animals like some dogs, they do learn to direct human behaviour—and motion—when their behaviour is reinforced,” Dilara Goskel Parry, a cat behaviour expert at Feline Minds, told The Dodo. “For example, ‘I do this, and my person is going to feed me.’ Many cat owners inadvertently reinforce these behaviours by moving faster and feeding the cat.”

Cats—Unique as Snowflakes

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The ridges on a cat’s nose are as unique as a fingerprint.

More “Toe” Love

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Cats are supposed to have 18 toes—five toes on each front paw and four toes on each back paw—but polydactyl cats are six-toed, thanks to the polydactyl gene. The resultant extra “thumb” on their paws gives the impression of wearing mittens. The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West, FL is famously home to approximately 60 polydactyl cats. Ernest Hemingway was given a six-toed white cat, named Snow White, by a ship’s captain. Some of the cats who live on the museum grounds are descendants of that original cat.

Eye See You

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Cats are nearsighted, but their peripheral vision and night vision are much better than ours.

Cats Buy Into Timeshares

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Cats have developed strategies for sharing space. Professor Alan Wilson of Royal Veterinary College and a team of other scientists attached GPS trackers and cameras to 50 felines. They found that the cats appeared to timeshare territory to avoid conflict with other felines.

This article originally appeared in the award-winning Modern Cat magazine. Subscribe today!

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