The feline classification covers everything from lions and jaguars to the domesticated house cat. And it's those that I want to feature today because it's National Cat Day. I have assembled a few fascinating feline facts for you. So go ahead and test your knowledge. How many do you know?
1. Cats spend 30% to 50% of their day grooming themselves. I swim all the time and even I'm not that clean! "This behavior serves several purposes: It helps cats tone down their scent so they can avoid predators, it cools them down, it promotes blood flow, and it distributes natural oils evenly around their coat, allowing them to stay warm and dry. Grooming also serves as a sign of affection between two cats, and it’s thought that saliva contains enzymes that serve as a natural antibiotic for wounds."
2. A cat's nose has catnip receptors. The herb contains several chemical compounds, including one called nepetalactone, which a cat detects with receptors in its nose and mouth. The compounds trigger the typical odd behaviors you associate with the wacky kitty weed, including sniffing, head shaking, head rubbing, and rolling around on the ground. But not all cats react the same to catnip. Scientists tell us that over 50% of the world's cats don't respond at all to catnip. Why? Catnip sensitivity is hereditary. If a kitten has one parent who is catnip-sensitive, he has a one-in-two chance of liking it (or not) himself.
3. Cats generally don't like music. That said, music composer David Teie, partnered with animal scientists to make an album called Music for Cats. It was released in 2015. The songs are “based on feline vocal communication and environmental sounds that pique the interest of cats.” (Or so Teie’s website claims.)
4. Kindles aren't just a digital way to read books. It's also a word that’s used to describe a group of kittens born to one mama cat. Meanwhile, a group of full-grown cats is called a clowder.
5. If you'd like to increase your vocabulary, here's a new word for you; ailurophile. It's a fancy word for cat lover. Conversely, an ailurophobe is a person who hates cats.
6. The record for the longest living cat goes to Creme Puff. This cat belonged to Jake Perry of Austin, TX. Creme Puff lived to be 38 years old and 3 days. In 2010, Creme Puff made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's oldest cat.
7. The poet, T. S. Eliot believed that cats were more poetic than dogs. The musical CATS is based on Eliot's book of poems, "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, published in 1939.
8. Many humans are allergic to cats. But many cats are allergic to humans, as well. One in 200 cats are believed to have asthma—and this number continues to rise among indoor kitties as they're more frequently exposed to cigarette smoke, dust, human dandruff, and pollen.
9. Cats can't taste sweet. Cats are genetically predisposed to not be able to taste sweets. They will likely nibble off your plate if it contains meat, but they’ll leave it alone if it’s laden with cake.
10. People who go to college are more likely to own a cat than a dog. In 2010, researchers from the University of Bristol surveyed 3000 people about their pets, geography, and scholastic history. They found that people with university degrees were 1.36 times more likely to own a kitty than other pet owners. This phenomenon might be attributed to the fact that cats are low-maintenance, and therefore better companions for accomplished people with busy careers.
And for being such a wonder reader...here's a bonus fact!
11. Cats have more bones than do humans. While the human skeleton is comprised of 206 bones, the cat's skeleton has 244!
I must admit, I didn't know very many of these facts at all. How did you do?
Tomorrow is Wednesday so that means my teacher, the wise and kindly Dharma Frog will be here will another valuable life lesson. So, until tomorrow, I wish you and your cat(s) a Happy National Cat Day!
Oh, and I dedicate this blog to two very special kitties, both recently departed; the late great Dagwood and kitten Tiny Tim. R.I.P. You are missed.