Ten amazing cat facts
You may be able to tell your Persian from your Siamese, but how well do you really know your cats? Find out with our selection of feline facts – it's a list of things that every self-respecting ailurophiliac should know.
1. As the Eleanor Farjeon poem goes, "Cats sleep anywhere, any table, any chair." But did you know that the average adult cat sleeps between 13 and 15 hours per day? In fact, only opossums and bats sleep more. Lazy moggies!
2. Ginger cats are most likely to be male, but the chances of finding a male tortoiseshell is 200 to one.
3. Many people think that cats are nocturnal, seeing as they seem to sleep all day and stay out to hunt at night. But cats are actually crepuscular – meaning they are at their most active at dawn and dusk. That explains those bursts of crazy energy in the early mornings and evenings.
4. A kitten will meow at its mother, but an adult cat will almost never meow at another cat. The sound is reserved solely for humans.
5. Many common house plants are toxic to cats, but did you know that lilies are particularly dangerous? Consuming even small amounts of the beautiful plants can make your cat extremely sick indeed and, if not seen by a vet in time, could even lead to life-threatening kidney failure.
6. A cat's tongue may feel rougher than sandpaper, but it's actually an amazing piece of kit. When the cat drinks, it turns its tongue into a spoon by curling the tip backwards to create a hollow shape. Not only that, that cat can change its tongue into a washcloth, comb or towel to tackle whatever grooming job it needs to do.
7. Cat turning his nose up at your food? Try heating it slightly. Cats have a weak sense of taste, with only 473 taste buds compared to our 9,000, but make up for this deficiency with a superior sense of smell. Heating food will intensify the aroma and make it more appealing to cats – just try not to gag.
8. Does your cat love to bring home little gifts of dead mice? Chances are it's a spayed female. Scientists believed they may be redirecting their instinct to bring food home for their kittens to their human companions.
9. Need a good reason to get a cat? Think of your health. Research has found cat owners suffer less cardiovascular disease, while children born into cat-owning families have a lower risk for developing symptoms of asthma and tend to take fewer days off school.
10. Cats vie closely with dogs for the title of most popular pet in Britain - there are about 8 million of each owned nationwide. The Persian is the most popular purebreed, followed closely by the Siamese.
11. We may feel we're a nation of cat lovers, but in ancient Egypt cats were worshipped as gods (many owners believe it's something cats have never forgotten!). Historians think this was because of their grace, poise and ability to control vermin which protected vital corn supplies. Killing one even by accident incurred the death penalty. As befitting their status, cats were mummified after death and their Egyptian owners would shave off their eyebrows as a sign of mourning for their feline chums.
Find out more facts about felines at PetHealthcare.co.uk