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Fun Facts about Our Feline Buddies

March 1, 2024

Did you know our feline companions are among the world’s sleepiest animals? Only a few animals, like bats and possums, and, of course, some human teenagers, are capable of catching more Zs than Man’s Second Best Friend. Kitties are notoriously drowsy! However, that isn’t their only adorable quirk. As it turns out, these little furballs have many unique characteristics. In this article, a local Carol Stream, IL veterinarian lists a few things about your furry friend that you may not have known.

Every Move You Make … She’ll Be Watching You

We may never fully comprehend these purring, charismatic little balls of fur, but we have made considerable strides in recent years. According to one study, Fluffy develops a mental map of ‘her’ kingdom that she uses to track your location. Consider it the feline equivalent of GPS software, with you as the moving sign. Kitties can become really worried when they don’t know where their humans are!

Our Feline Friends Left Their Mark on History

Kitty paw prints have been discovered on medieval manuscripts, and also in cement from ancient Roman roofs. It appears Fluffy hasn’t changed much in all that time!

Fluffy Could Be Allergic To Her Humans

You probably know people who are allergic to cats.  However, did you know that cats sometimes develop an allergy to humans? According to a 2005 study, around one in every 200 cats has feline asthma. This is one of the (very few) drawbacks of Fluffy’s indoor life: things like dust, pollen, and even scented cat litter do bother some kitties. However, your pet is still safer staying indoors. 

If you suspect that your feline pal has allergies, contact your Carol Stream, IL veterinarian immediately.

Fashion Furward Felines

Our feline companions can wear a wide range of colors and patterns, including tabby, parti-color, tortie, and calico. Fluffy’s skin color reflects the patterns on her fur. Her adorable little ‘toe beans’ also match!

Color Coded Kitties

The majority of redheaded cats, approximately 80%, are boys.  The gene for orange fur is carried on the X chromosome. This means that female kittens must inherit copies of the gene from each parent. Boys, on the other hand, only require one parent to have red hair.

Our Feline Pals Can’t Digest Milk

We’ve all seen the iconic photographs of cute kittens happily lapping up bowls of milk. However, most adult cats lack the ability to digest processed milk. In fact, drinking it may irritate Fluffy’s stomach! The confusion may have stemmed from kitties on dairy farms. Lactase, an enzyme found in raw milk, helps cats digest the lactose in dairy products. Kittens naturally produce this enzyme. However, after baby cats stop nursing, their bodies stop making it, leaving them lactose intolerant. For additional information on both safe and harmful treats, consult your Carol Stream, IL veterinarian.

 Putting Their Best Paw Forward

It’s no secret that our feline companions are incredibly clean. Fluffy devotes a significant amount of time every day to her beauty regimen. Not only does grooming enhance your cat’s appearance, it also helps minimize the amount of smells that she releases. That is important because, in the wild, scents attract many predators.

But wait—there’s more! Grooming additionally helps with circulation. Furthermore, removing dead fur and dander improves the insulative characteristics of Fluffy’s fur, allowing her to stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

Cats and Catnip: A Purrfectly Impurrect Match

Fluffy’s obsession with catnip is probably one of her most entertaining characteristics. It’s always amusing seeing a playful kitten reap the advantages of her favorite plant. As it turns out, our feline friends share a very particular bond with this curious Mint family member. Kitties’ lovely little noses include aroma receptors that precisely match the fragrance molecules generated by catnip.

Nip It In the Bud

Do your cats go nuts when you give them catnip? This actually isn’t universal. Up to one-third of our feline pals are immune to its (adorable) effects!

Kitty’s Career Change

Fluffy certainly enjoys the life of a pampered pet, but she has also dabbled in many different industries over the course of her nine lives. She has worked as a spy, smuggler, therapist, and politician. There is even a kitty in Japan that ‘supervises’ a train station!

Something Fluffy didn’t do really well? Postal delivery. Back in the 1870s, Belgium tried to train cats to deliver letters. As to how that went? Spoiler: Belgian mail cats do not exist today.

Sometimes It Just Rains Cats And Dogs

This saying appears to have come about back when thatched roofs were commonplace. Cats were most likely climbing roofs back then: they are constantly hunting for high vantage positions. If Fluffy had done this during a storm, she could have fallen through a soaked roof. (Side note: this ‘catchphrase’ originally appeared in the Olor Iscanus, a collection of poems published in 1651.)

A Tail of Cat Burglars

You might think that the term “cat burglar” originated from the fact that cats can be so stealthy and quiet. However, it might have been more straightforward than that. Some felines have a habit of stealing things and then bringing those goods back to their owners. Nobody knows why they do this, but the list of stuff that they’ve taken is quite lengthy.

Several examples:

  • Jewelry 
  • Socks
  • Inhalers
  • Keys
  • Keyrings
  • Money 
  • ID Cards
  • Underwear
  • Hair ties
  • Elastics
  • Stuffed Animals
  • Food

While this may seem funny, there is a more serious note: many of the items Fluffy takes, such as hair ties and rubber bands, are extremely dangerous to her if swallowed. If your furry friend has sticky paws, ask your vet for advice!

Now, Wait Just A Meowment…

Do your cat’s vocalizations sound like she is literally saying meow? It turns out kitties’ language is translated pretty much the same all over the world.

Here are several ‘translations’:

  •  Catalan: Meu
  •  Chinese: Mao
  •  Danish: Miaav
  •  Dutch: Miauw
  •  Finnish: Miau or Kurnau
  •  French: Miaou
  •  Greek: Naiou
  •  Hebrew: Miau or Miya
  •  Hungarian: Miaaau
  •  Japanese: Nyan
  •  Korean: Yaong or Nyaong
  •  Norwegian: Mjau
  •  Portuguese: Miau
  •  Spanish: Miau”

Cool Cool Kitty

In the 1920s, flappers used the phrase ‘cat’ to describe someone trendy. This phrase is still used today!

Brown Is Out

Have you ever noticed how unusual it is to see brown cats? Actually, you may see them more often than you think. As it turns out, black cats are actually brown. If your feline friend has a black coat, take a closer look at it when Fluffy is in direct sunshine. You’ll notice the brown tint, and maybe even detect some patterns. However, this does not explain why lighter brown coats are seldom seen in cats. No one really knows why, and Fluffy, being Fluffy, won’t say.

A Cat Lover By Any Other Name

Are you a cat lover? If so, you’re an ailurophile. The name is derived from the Greek words ailouros, meaning ‘cat,’ and phile, meaning ‘lover’.

You Gotta Be Kitten Me

The Hungarian word for ‘cat claws,’ macskaköröm, is often used to represent quotation marks.

Do you have any questions about your cat’s health or care? Contact your local Carol Stream, IL animal hospital now!