They are the most beloved pets in America, with millions of devoted owners who pamper them with toys, treats and cuddles. But cats are more than just adorable furballs – they are also mysterious and fascinating creatures with a rich and surprising history.
Here are some of the astonishing secrets of cats that will make you see them in a whole new light:
– They can hear a mouse squeak from 20 feet away. Cats have over 30 muscles that control their ears, which they can rotate 180 degrees to pinpoint sounds. They can also communicate with over 100 vocal sounds, from purrs and meows to hisses and growls.
– They spend most of their lives sleeping – and sometimes snoring. Cats sleep 70% of their lives, or about 16 hours a day. They do this to conserve energy for hunting and playing. Some cats even snore when they sleep, which is a sign of relaxation and trust.
– They were revered by the ancient Egyptians – and feared by the medieval Europeans. Cats have been worshipped and feared in different civilizations throughout history. The ancient Egyptians loved cats so much that they gave them jewelry and mummified them when they died. They also had a goddess named Bastet who had the head of a cat. On the other hand, the medieval Europeans associated cats with witchcraft and evil, and often killed them or burned them at the stake.
– They have inspired some of the greatest writers of all time. Cats have influenced art and literature for centuries. Some famous examples are the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland, the Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss, and Garfield by Jim Davis.
– They have conquered the world (and a few Viking ships) with their charm and adaptability. Cats have traveled across continents and oceans, either as companions or stowaways. They have also evolved to suit different environments, such as the Siamese cat from Thailand, the Maine Coon from America, and the Norwegian Forest cat from Scandinavia.
– They have a unique sense of taste – and a sweet tooth is not one of them. Cats are believed to be the only mammals who don’t taste sweetness. This is due to a mutation in a key taste receptor that makes them indifferent to sugary foods. Instead, they prefer meaty flavors that suit their carnivorous nature.
– They have a special way of drinking water – and it involves physics. Cats don’t lap up water like dogs do. Instead, they use their tongues to create a column of liquid that they then catch in their mouths. This process involves a delicate balance between gravity and inertia that allows them to drink without getting wet.
– They have a secret weapon – their whiskers. Cats have whiskers on their faces, legs and even ears that help them sense their surroundings. Whiskers are sensitive to changes in air currents, vibrations and textures that help cats navigate in the dark, hunt prey and avoid obstacles. Whiskers also indicate cats’ mood: when they are relaxed, they point sideways; when they are angry or scared, they point forward; when they are curious or playful, they point backward.
These are just some of the astonishing secrets of cats that will make you see them in a whole new light. Next time you see a cat, remember that they are not only cute and cuddly, but also smart and mysterious.