Random Cat Facts
Ancient Egyptians may have first domesticated cats as early as 4,000 years ago. Plentiful rodents prob
ably drew wild felines to human communities. The cats' skill in killing them may have first earned the affectionate attention of humans. Early Egyptians worshipped a cat goddess and even mummified their beloved pets for their journey to the next world—accompanied by mummified mice! Cultures around the world later adopted cats as their own companions.
Cats can conserve energy by sleeping more than most animals, especially as they grow older. Durations of sleep are various, usually 12–16 hours, with 13–14 being the average. Cats, in some cases, can sleep as much as 20 hours in a 24-hour period. The term cat nap refers to the cat's ability to fall asleep (lightly) for a brief period and has entered the English vocabulary – someone who nods off for a few minutes is said to be "taking a cat nap".
Due to cats nocturnal nature, they are often known to enter a period of increased hyperactivity and playfulness during the evening, dubbed the 'evening crazies', 'night crazies' or 'mad half hour' by some (but not 'happy hour').
Indoor cats typically live 14 to 20 years although the oldest-known cat lived to an amazingly unbelievable age of 36. Domestic cats tend to live longer if they are not permitted to go outdoors (reducing the risk of injury from fights or accidents and exposure to diseases) and if they are spayed or neutered. Spaying and neutering cats also decrease the risk of testicular and ovarian cancer. Having female cats spayed before their first litter benefit from reduced risk of mammary cancer.
Cats have highly specialized teeth and a digestive system suitable for eating meat. The premolar and first molar together compose the carnassial pair on each side of the mouth, which efficiently functions to shear meat like a pair of scissors. While this is present in canines, it is highly developed in felines. The cat's tongue has sharp spines, papillae, useful for retaining and ripping flesh from a carcass. These papillae are small backward-facing hooks that contain keratin and assist in their grooming. Cats eat almost no vegetable matter. Whereas bears and dogs commonly supplement their diet of meat with fruits, berries, roots, and honey when they can get them, cats feed exclusively on meat, usually freshly killed. Cats, including the great cats, have a genetic anomaly that prevents them from tasting sweetness, which is probably related to their meat-only habits.
Domestic cats can't be adapted to an unsupplemented vegetarian diet because they can't synthesize several nutrients they need and that are absent or rare in plant food. This applies mainly to taurine, vitamin A (cats cannot convert the pro-vitamin A that is abundant in plants to vitamin A proper) and to certain fatty acids. The absence of taurine causes the cat's retina to slowly degenerate, causing eye problems and eventual irreversible blindness. This condition is called central retinal degeneration. Cow's milk is a poor source of taurine and adult cats are generally lactose intolerant. Lactose-free milk is perfectly safe, but still not a substitute for meat. This contrasts with domesticated dogs, who commonly are fed a mixture of meat and vegetable products and can be adapted to non-supplemented vegetarian diets (though supplementation may be better for dogs too). However, the majority of brand-name cat foods are primarily grain based, often containing large amounts of corn or rice and supplemented with meats and minerals and vitamins.
Cats have been known to munch on grass, leaves, houseplants and shrubs to regurgitate whatever is upsetting their stomach.
Cats usually weigh between 2.5 and 7 kg (5.5–16 pounds), although some breeds can exceed 11.3 kg (25 pounds).
Some cats have been known to reach up to 23 kg (50 pounds) due to overfeeding. This not healthy for the cat, and should be prevented through diet and exercise (playing), especially for cats living exclusively indoors.