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Fun Facts about Our Feline Friends

March 1 2024

Did you know that cats are among the sleepiest animals on the planet? Only a few creatures, including bats and possums, can catch more Z’s than Man’s Second Best Friend. This might not be surprising: we all know that our feline buddies are, for whatever reason, very, very drowsy. As it turns out, these little furballs possess many special quirks and charms, beyond their impressive talent for napping.  In this article, a local Conway, SC veterinarian reveals several things you might not have known about your furry companion.

Kitty’s Career Changes

Man’s Second Best Friend has dabbled in a variety of different fields. Fluffy has worked as a spy, smuggler, therapist, and even a politician. There’s even a furball in Japan who ‘supervises’ a train station!

One thing cats didn’t do particularly well? Postal delivery. Back in the 1870s, Belgium attempted to train cats to deliver mail. The experiment went as expected. (Spoiler: Belgian mail cats are not a thing today.)

When It’s Raining Cats And Dogs

This particular proverb appears to have originated back when thatched roofs were commonplace. It makes sense that kitties would climb roofs, as they are always looking for high observation points. If Fluffy did this during a storm, she could easily have fallen through a wet roof. The ‘catchphrase’ first appears in the Olor Iscanus, a collection of poems published in 1651.

The Tail Of The Cat Burglars

You may assume that the origin of the expression “cat burglar” came about due to the fact that cats are notoriously stealthy and quiet. However, it may have been a little more direct than that. Some felines have a habit of stealing items and then delivering the ‘goods’ to their humans. No one knows why kitties do this, but the list of items they have taken is rather interesting.

Some examples:

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

While this may seem amusing, there is a more serious note: many of the items Fluffy steals, such as hair ties and rubber bands, can be very dangerous to her if consumed. If your furry friend has red paws, ask your veterinarian for advice.

Every Move  You Make

We may never fully understand these adorable balls of fur, but we have made significant progress in recent years. According to one study, Fluffy creates a mental map of ‘her’ territories,  which she uses to track your location. Consider it a feline version of a GPS program, with you as the moving symbol. Kitties can get quite distressed when they don’t know where their humans are!

Our Feline Pals Left Their Mark On Language

There have been discoveries of medieval manuscripts with ink paw prints on beautifully-drawn pages. Apparently Fluffy hasn’t changed much in all that time.

Fluffy Might Be Allergic To You

You probably know somebody who is allergic to cats. But did you know that cats can be allergic to humans? According to a 2005 study, around one in every 200 cats suffers from feline asthma. This is one of the (very) few disadvantages of Fluffy’s indoor life: things like pollen, dust, fumes, and cigarette smoke can aggravate some kitties. However, this is quite rare. Your furry buddy is still definitely safer staying inside! 

If you suspect your kitty has allergies, contact your Conway, SC vet right away.

Putting Their Best Paw Forward

It’s no secret that our feline friends are extremely clean. Fluffy devotes a good chunk of time every single day to her beauty regime. Grooming cats not only improves kitties’ appearance, but it also helps reduce the scents they emit. That’s quite important, given that, in the wild, odors attract a large number of predators.

But wait, there’s more! Grooming also improves circulation. Plus, eliminating all of that dead fur and dander enhances the insulative properties of your cat’s fur, allowing her to stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

Cats and Catnip: The Perfect Match?

Fluffy’s catnip fixation is undoubtedly one of her more amusing quirks. It’s always fun to see a frisky furball enjoying her favorite plant. As it turns out, our feline pals have a very special relationship with this curious member of the Mint family. Kitties’ little noses include scent receptors that perfectly match the fragrance molecules released by catnip.

Nip It In The Bud

Does your cat go crazy when you give her catnip? If so, she is in the majority, but not by very much. As many as one-third of our feline friends are immune to its (hilarious) effects!

Now Wait A Meow-Ment …

Does your cat’s vocalizations sound like meows? It turns out that the word for Fluffy’s chatter does not differ that much between languages.

Here are several ‘translations’:

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

That’s Really The Cat’s Meow

In the 1920s, flappers used the term ‘cat’ to designate someone fashionable. This statement is still occasionally used in that way today!

Brown And Out

Have you ever noticed how rare it is to see brown cats? Actually, you may see them more than you realize. Black cats are actually brown: if your kitty has a black coat, look at it closely when she’s in direct sunlight. You’ll be able to see the brown color, and may even see patterns appear. 

However, this does not explain why we rarely see cats with lighter brown coats. Nobody truly knows why, and Fluffy, true to form, refuses to tell us. 

Fashion Furward

Our feline friends can wear a variety of colors and patterns, including tabby, parti-color, tortie, and calico. Fluffy’s skin color actually matches the patterns in their fur. So do her cute little ‘toe beans’.

Color Coding

The majority of redheaded cats—around 80%—are male. This is one of Fluffy’s interesting genetic traits. The gene for orange fur is carried on the X chromosomes. This means that female kittens must have copies of the gene from both parents. Boys, on the other hand, just need one of their parents to have red hair.

Kitties Don’t Really Love Milk

We’ve all seen those iconic photos of adorable kittens joyfully lapping up bowls of milk. However, most adult cats don’t have the ability to metabolize processed milk. In fact, drinking it may give Fluffy an upset stomach! The misconceptions could have stemmed from the days when many people raised their own livestock. Raw milk contains an enzyme called lactase, which helps cats metabolize the lactose in dairy products. Kittens also make this enzyme. However, once they stop nursing, their bodies cease producing it, rendering them lactose intolerant. Ask your Conway, SC veterinarian for more information on safe and unsafe treats.

A Cat Lover Under Any Other Name

Are you a cat lover? If so, you are an ailurophile. The word comes from ailouros, meaning ‘cat’ and phile, which means ‘lover’.

You Got To Be Kitten Me

 The Hungarian word for ‘cat claws’, macskaköröm, is also used to denote quote marks.

Do you have any queries concerning your cat’s health or care? Contact your nearest Conway, SC pet hospital today!

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