These 19 things are the result of over thirty years of research, watching and talking with cat lovers. That is, watching these mesmerizing characters at home and reading countless stories. My net conclusion is that cats are individual to the hilt, but they do have a handful of common, if inexplicable qualities. Committing them to memory is wise, although imagining you can figure them out is exhaustingly useless.
by David Stone
for Assorted Ideas, Large & Small/The Thing About Cats
19 Things You Didn’t Know About Cats
1. Cats come in all shapes and sizes. Just like people, no two cats are exactly alike. Some are small and sleek, while others are larger and have more of a fluffy appearance.
Sometimes, their fur and the designs it creates bring a false sense of similarity, but make no mistake – each cat is an individual. Take nothing for granted. It’s utter folly.
2. While most cats enjoy a good nap, some dislike sleeping altogether. These “wide-awake” cats tend to be more active and playful, and may even stay up all night!
But, hey, didn’t that nice lady at the shelter say that cats sleep sixteen hours a day and would adjust to my schedule? How come she never returns my phone calls?
3. Cats have an incredible sense of balance. This comes in handy when they’re climbing trees or leaping to high places. It also helps them when they’re walking on thin surfaces, like ledges or windowsills or your skull at night.
4. Cats can jump really high! Some can jump as high as seven feet into the air – which is more than twice their height!
This makes them great at catching prey, escaping danger, and reaching high places. And for getting into spots where you can’t reach them when it’s tooth brushing time.
5. Cats can swim! Surprisingly, cats are natural swimmers and often enjoy taking a dip in a body of water. They’re especially good at swimming in rivers and streams. But they think your soaking in a tub is the sure mark of insanity. Some resolve their disgust by pretending it’s tea. If You have such a cat, you are firmly advised against bubble baths. The results are too horrible for description.
6. Cats can see in the dark! One of the things that makes them such great hunters is their ability to see in low light conditions. This means they can easily navigate around at night or in other dark places.
But no one has yet discovered why they don’t get out of your way when you stumble toward the bathroom in the middle of the night. Current research suggests that they just don’t see that as their responsibility.
7. Cats have a sixth sense. Cats are known for being able to “smell” fear, and they sometimes know when something is going on before it happens. They can also sense when someone is sick or in danger. In many cases, though, they have been known to finish off a nap or check things out behind the couch before sharing their insights.
8. Cats have sharp claws and teeth. These are used for hunting, climbing, and defending themselves. While they can be dangerous to humans, they’re usually only used when a cat feels threatened. Or enjoys shredding your furniture.
9. Cats purr when they’re happy. This is a way of communicating their contentment and showing that they’re comfortable and safe. Purring is often associated with nursing mothers and kittens, but it can also be a sign of happiness in adult cats. For many cat lovers, it’s more soothing than meditation, although you can’t schedule them.
If your cat ain’t in the mood, moving heaven and hell won’t make him or her purr. They are not, as their expressions sometimes convey, attention whores.
10. Not all cats are domestic. The majority of cats in the world are not domestic- they’re wild! There are estimated to be around 600 million wild cats living in the world today. Some personal estimates insist that all of them are wild, but some are indulged and lazy.
11. Cats have different personalities just like people do. Some cats are playful and active, while others prefer to relax and take things easy. But none of them ever seek jobs or believe they should have one. They’re sorta like your charming cousin who everybody likes but can’t figure out how he pays his rent. If he pays his rent.
12. Cats can be very vocal creatures, and each cat has its own unique set of meows, chirps, and purrs. They expect you to understand every word of it, but they usually don’t get miffed when you fail. A grave fear of many cat guardians is that their best feline friends think they are idiots.
13. Cats enjoy playing with toys, and will often spend hours chasing a ball or string around. Others expect you to toss bright, shiny objects or drag the string around until they finally tire of it.
14. Cats are natural hunters, and will often stalk and pounce on small prey. At night, some routinely mistake your moving toe under the covers as small prey. Nightmares are not the only cause of cat lovers waking up screaming.
15. Cats groom themselves regularly, using their tongues to lick their fur clean. But an unfortunate side effect is that hair turns into balls in their stomach which must be ejected indiscriminately as called for. These gifts may be found anywhere. Under your bare foot, for example.
16. Cats typically live for around 15 years, although some have been known to live for 20 years or more. Indoor cats live much longer because of being catered to by servants. (That’s you.) This also yields a salubrious effect on birds and rodents residing in the neighborhood.
17. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they require animal protein in their diet to stay healthy. That’s why they should always eat wet food. Most cat dry food is so disgusting that manufacturers treat it with “…extremely enticing animal digest sprays.” Does this sound like something you want to feed your cat? Or touch.
18. Cats are known for their love of napping, and can often be found curled up in a sunny spot taking a nap. They can be weirdly possessive about their favorite locations. Some try staring you out of the desired location and will race in if you make the mistake of getting up for a drink of water. If you don’t take a bio break or get up voluntarily, they pout until your afternoon is ruined.
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19. Many people think of cats as being independent creatures, but they can be very affectionate and loving animals. Especially if you are well-behaved and have the smarts to meet their demands.
So the next time you see your cat lounging around or playing with one of their toys, remember that they’re amazing creatures with a lot of interesting features and behaviors.
But look, a lot of otherwise mentally healthy people – like me – love sharing living quarters with all sorts of cats. The jokes above flavor the facts, but cat lovers know that cats hate being bossed. They prefer being treated as equal or – really – better than you. Successful cat lovers surrender eventually to that notion.