11 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Pet Cat

Discover 11 fascinating facts about felines and get to know your cat better. For instance, did you know cats have the biggest eyes of any mammal?

Jul 4, 2024byDonna Hobson

things you did not know about your pet cat


We all love our feline companions, but that doesn’t mean we know everything about them. For example, did you know that cats share 95.6% of their genes with the tiger, or have an extra organ that enables them to taste scents in the air?


These enigmatic creatures have fascinated humans for millennia; some civilizations (such as the Egyptians) even worshipped these four-legged furballs as Gods. Get to know your feline friend better by learning astonishing new facts about them.


1. Cats Can “Taste” Scents

cat looking up senses
Credit: Image by congerdesign on Pixabay


Cats possess fewer taste buds than humans, and scientists believe they may be the only mammals who cannot taste sweet foods. Still, cats have a unique way of sensing the world around them. This sense comes from an additional sensory organ known as the vomeronasal organ or Jacobson’s organ.


This sense receptor allows them to “taste-smell” aromas such as food and pheromones. Cats inhale odors onto their tongue. These odors are then transferred to the roof of the mouth, where the cat can have a sensory experience beyond humans’ capacity.


A cat’s tastebuds are around the edges of its tongue, with the barbed center reserved for grooming. They possess around 480 tastebuds (compared to a human’s 9,000), and do not enjoy bitter flavors.


2. Groups Are Called Kindles or Clowders

group of kittens kindle
Credit: Image by congerdesign on Pixabay


People most commonly refer to a group of kittens as a litter, but they are also called a kindle. On the other hand, a group of cats is known as a clowder. In general, cats are solitary animals who prefer their own company, but many domestic cat breeds form strong bonds with their humans and other pets.


3. Cats: The Biggest Eyes of Any Mammal

cats eyes green
Credit: Image by Pexels on Pixabay


Cats’ eyes are so striking that even humans try to mimic these sensory organs by applying “cat’s eye” makeup styles. The reason for this, perhaps, is that the cat possesses the largest eyes – relative to body size – of any mammal in the animal kingdom.


4. Cats Have Been Beloved Pets for Centuries

queen cat wearing crown
Credit: Image by CatVills


Cats were divine symbols (and beloved pets) in ancient times; the Egyptians believed they possessed magical powers that could bring them good fortune. In honor of these treasured pets, wealthy families would feed them treats and dress them in jewels. Archives even state that when a cat died in Egypt, its owners would shave off their eyebrows.


Still, the oldest recorded pet cat preceded the Egyptians by 4,000 years! In 2004, archaeologists in France uncovered a cat grave that was 9,500 years old in Cyprus. Throughout history, cats have remained sacred to their owners; in 1988, one owner bequeathed his million-dollar fortune to his cat Blackie – excluding his children and making his pet cat the richest in the world.


5. Cats Are FAST 

bengal cat running across the grass
Credit: Image by Jeannette1980 on Pixabay


It’s easy to underestimate your pet cat’s sporting prowess when they spend most of the day lounging around (up to 70% of a cat’s life is spent sleeping), but your pet cat could reach 29.8 mph at top speed. Compare this to a human who runs at an average maximum speed of around 6.2 mph, and you can appreciate how fast this is – they could even beat Usain Bolt in a sprint! They’re among the fastest animals on Earth.


6. Cat’s Tongues Could Lick a Bone Clean

cat tongue papillae
Credit: Image from Reddit


If you look at your cat’s tongue, you’ll see it’s covered in hollow little spines known as papillae. They help to transfer more significant amounts of saliva from the cat’s mouth to its fur, which serves two purposes. Firstly, it helps groom your cat, and secondly, it lowers their body temperature (as the saliva evaporates). Still, these papillae give the cat such a rough tongue that they can lick meat clean from a bone.


7. Cats Have Phenomenal Ears

cat lying down head upside down
Credit: Image by Surprise on Pixabay


When it comes to anatomy, the cat has some impressive features – one of which is its ears. Each of these sensory organs contains 32 muscles and rotates 180 degrees. Cats can also move their ears independently of one another to help them distinguish the origin of a sound. These felines can hear lower and higher frequencies than both dogs and humans, with a range of approximately 45hz to 64khz


And their ears are helpful for more than one purpose. The ears are critical for a cat’s balance; three canals inside the ears are lined with hairs and filled with fluid. As the fluid moves over the hairs, it tells your cat which way they’re moving, and the vestibule transmits information on their position (such as right way up, upside down, etc.).


In addition, these animals use their ears for communication, with their body language telling a lot about a cat’s emotions. For example, forward-facing ears signal that your cat is relaxed; ears twisted backward signify aggression, while flattened ears indicate fear.


8. Cats Can Jump Six to Eight Feet 

cat jumping through the air
Credit: Image from goodfon.com


In another impressive display of athleticism, your cat can jump up to six times its own height. Their bodies possess more than 500 muscles, which they employ to reach these impressive heights. This ability is thanks to strong hind legs and “fast twitch” muscle fibers which support quick bursts of movement. In addition, the angle of the back legs helps to absorb the impact when they land.


9. Cats Can Be Fussy Eaters

cat eating from food bowls
Credit: Image by Luisella Planeta on Pixabay


A cat’s diet is an integral part of its overall health, and there are a number of foods that you should never feed your cat (including garlic, onion, chives, grapes, and raisins). Still, cats can be picky about what they eat, so choosing the right cat food (and the right amount) is essential for maintaining a healthy weight. If they find the food you provide unpalatable, they will refuse it to the point of starvation.


10. Cats Are Among the Most Intelligent Creatures 

clever cat wearing glasses
Credit: Image from The Scotsman


Scientific research suggests that cats may have an intelligence level comparable to that of a two-year-old human toddler. Cats can often fall short compared to their canine companions, but this is not due to a lack of intelligence – it’s because scientists have studied dogs far more thoroughly, so there is a more significant body of evidence to support their intelligence. In addition, dogs like to please humans, so they can be easier to train and more responsive to human commands.


But cats are far more intelligent than they’re given credit for. Their brains contain 300 million neurons (dogs possess around 160 million). Similarly to humans, cats learn through observation and action with tasks such as turning on a light switch, ringing a bell, or opening a door. They also have an excellent short-term memory that helps them locate prey in the wild.


11. Cats Can’t Walk Down Headfirst

cat climbing up a tree
Credit: Image by Pavel on Pixabay


The downward curve of a cat’s claws means they cannot climb headfirst down a tree. Hence, several cats become stuck up trees – they don’t realize that they must walk backward to get back down again.


Felines walk like giraffes and camels moving both right feet first, followed by both left feet. They are among the only species to walk this way.

Donna Hobson
byDonna Hobson

Donna believes that keeping a pet is the key to a happy life. Over the years, many creatures have passed through her home - Sooty the cat, Millie the rabbit, Stuart (Little) the guinea pig, and Trixie the tortoise, alongside her pet goldfish, Zippy, who lived to the grand old age of 24 years! She currently resides with her black kitten Jinx and an aquarium full of fish and snails to entrance them both. When she is not looking after her pets, Donna enjoys researching and writing the answers to all your pet-related wonders.