With the American cat population hovering around 75 million, its clear that cats are one of the countrys favorite pets. Despite their popularity, though, theres a lot that most people dont know about domesticated felines. Here are five fascinating facts about cats that will help you be a better-informed and more conscientious pet owner.
1. Cats hardly ever meow at one another. The familiar meow is a sound reserved almost exclusively for cat-human interaction; it is extremely rare for one cat to meow at another. Instead, they rely on looks, touching and scents for cat-to-cat communication. If your cat meows, you should assume that it is speaking directly to you.
2. Eating grass is healthy for cats. While your first inclination may be to stop your cat from grazing on your lawn, it actually aids its digestive system and helps it get rid of any fur thats collected in its stomach. However, if youre going to make an indoor garden for your cat, you should be aware that many plants are toxic to felines avoid tomato plants, ivy, daffodils and aloe vera, and ask your vet for a complete list of flora thats poisonous to cats.
3. Falling cats correct their positions in a particular order. Youve heard the old saying that a cat always lands on its feet, but have you ever wondered how they do it? A cat thats falling will always start by rotating its head to face forwards; then, it will twist its back to orient its spine upwards and align its legs accordingly. Finally, the cat will arch its back to minimize the impact of landing.
4. Cats have a distinctive walk shared by only two other animals. If you look closely, youll notice that your cat walks by moving both its left feet then both its right feet in unison, rather than alternating one left and one right the way dogs do. This promotes better agility and ensures silence when walking; after all, cats are predatory animals and their instincts havent been bred out of them. The camel and the giraffe are the only other four-legged animals in the world that walk this way.
5. Kittens are born deaf and blind. Its only after 5 days or so that a kitten will open its eyes, with vision and hearing capabilities beginning to develop around the 2-week mark. By adulthood, a cat will have an incredible hearing range, far beyond humans, with 285-degree peripheral vision and night vision thats six times better than ours.