Anyone who has owned cats knows just how interesting an animal they are. But we don't know half of it!
We've put together our favorite 13 facts about cats to shed light on just how fascinating our furry friends are.
We'll explore three main categories: male, female, and wild cats. So stick around to learn a thing or two about our kitties!
Facts about male cats
Female cat facts
Facts about house cats
Facts about wild cats
Facts about male cats
Tomcats are loveable animals. The argument about whether female or male cats make better pets is common among pet parents. Let's take a look at some male cat facts and see what we think!
1. Male cats have a shorter lifespan than female cats
Recent research has found that, on average, female cats have an average life expectancy of 15 years, whereas male cats average 13 years (source). There are plenty of other factors that can impact your kitty's life expectancy, like:
Whether they are pedigree or moggie: Pedigree cats have a smaller gene pool, meaning health problems can be more likely, shortening their life expectancy. Whereas moggies have evolved with natural selection from a wide gene pool, meaning they are less likely to inherit health problems.
Whether they are indoor or outdoor: Cats with outdoor access have a shorter lifespan because of an increased chance of being in traffic accidents and catching diseases from catfights.
Whether they are neutered or not: Neutering both male and female cats can increase their life expectancy because it reduces the risk of certain cancers and other health problems.
2. Male cats have larger territories than female cats
Surveying their territory is an important element of their life, and recent studies have found that these territories can be up to 10 times bigger than female territories. This means male cats walk much further on average. (source)
This can be for a variety of reasons, including:
Male cats looking to mate: When a male cat is looking for a female cat to mate with, they can roam for miles. The bigger their territory, the more likely they are to find a female in heat. Castration has been proven to reduce their territory size and the distances they roam.
A male cat's territory can overlap with a female's: So a male cat knows when a female cat is in heat, they will ensure their territory overlaps with multiple territories of groups of female cats.
3. Most orange tabbies are male
Now, this cool fact comes down to genetics. The hair color gene is on the X chromosome, and, like other mammals, a cat's sex is determined by their genes. So, a male cat has XY chromosomes, and a female cat has XX.
This means that a female cat can inherit two hair color genes, like orange and black, and then have a mix of that color fur. This means it's fairly rare for a female cat to be fully orange because they'd have to inherit both orange hair color genes on both of their X chromosomes.
However, male cats only have one X chromosome. This means that if they have the orange hair color gene on that chromosome, then they will be fully orange. This increases the likelihood of male cats being orange because they don't have any other hair color genes on their other chromosome. (source)
4. Kittens from the same litter can have different fathers
A cat can have kittens from the same litter that are fathered by as many different male cats. This is called superfecundation.
This happens when a female cat in heat has her eggs fertilized by more than one sperm from different tomcats. It's quite common in outdoor cats because of how female kitties behave when they are in heat. Their instincts are to mate with as many male cats as possible to increase the chances of getting pregnant. (source)
If you have neutered males, then you don't have to worry!
Female cat facts
So, we've established some weird and wacky facts about tomcats, but what about our little ladies?
5. Heat cycles can change female cat behavior
Much like humans have hormone cycles, female cats have a similar experience with their heat cycles. They can go into heat, which is their fertile period, every two to three weeks if they aren't neutered. (source)
When a cat is in heat, they will act differently. They are more likely to be more affectionate and more vocal in an attempt to attract male cats to mate with. They may also urinate more and mark their territory around your house or garden more to try to signal to tomcats in the area that they are ready to mate.
6. In 7 years, two cats and their offspring can produce a total of 420,000 kittens
Because of how frequently female cats can be in heat, it means they can birth multiple litters in one year. A mother cat is only pregnant for two months, and they become fertile at just four months old.
This means the number of kittens they birth can quickly spiral. With an average of 4-6 kittens a litter who will all be able to reproduce within four months, you can see how the number of cats can increase significantly from just one pair of unneutered kitties. (source)
This is why capture, neuter, and release programs for feral cats by cat charities are so important!
7. Nearly all tortoiseshell cats are female
Similarly to the majority of orange cats being male, nearly all tortoiseshell cats are female. This is because only female cats can inherit two different color genes as they have two XX chromosomes.
This happens when a cat inherits the orange gene from one parent and the black gene from the other. The mix of colors creates the fur we now recognize as tortoiseshell. This is the same for Calico cats! This is also why a lot of black cats are male.
Facts about house cats
Let's take a look at some interesting cat facts about domestic cats. Since their first domestication by the ancient Egyptians, they have achieved a lot!
8. The oldest cat in the world was 38 years old
Creme Puff lived to the incredible age of 38 years old. With the natural life span of a house cat being around 12-15 years, this was truly remarkable.
Now, you may think you spoil your cat, but you haven't heard anything yet! Creme Puff was cooked a bacon and egg breakfast most days, served with coffee and cream. Every other day, they were given a little bit of red wine, too!
While this unconventional approach may make vets shiver in their boots, it seemed to work! Creme Puff never developed any health issues and passed away peacefully at 38! (source)
9. Cats spend 70% of their lives sleeping
This may not surprise the average cat lover, but it's still certainly impressive. An incredible 70% of a cat's life is spent sleeping, averaging 15 to 20 hours a day!
However, this doesn't necessarily mean they are in deep sleep. In fact, wild and domesticated cats enjoy cat naps. These are 15-20 minute naps where they won't fall deeply asleep but will get the rest they need.
Their deeper sleep occurs after they have hunted. This is when they will get REM sleep, like humans. (source)
10. A house cat can run 30mph
Cats are incredibly agile creatures. They are built for hunting, meaning fast speeds, impressive jumping abilities, and sharp cat claws are incredibly effective. On average, cats can run at 30mph. (source)
To put this into perspective, even the best athletes can only achieve 27mph! This is why it's so important that we let our kitties have the space they need to satisfy these hunting instincts. Indoor cats may be deprived of prey stalking, but ensuring they have lots of toys to interact with should help!
11. A cat has traveled to space
In 1963, the French decided to send a cat into space. Why? To see how the atmosphere would impact them. This would help decide whether sending humans was safe or not.
So, they collected 14 stray cats from Paris and then chose one, Felicette, to ride a rocket into space! She completed the mission successfully and returned back to Earth a hero! (source)
Facts about wild cats
We can't think about our loving domestic cats without considering their wilder counterparts. So, let's take a look at some big cat facts!
12. Leopards can run 36mph
These athletic and practical cats can sprint up to 36mph and also have incredible climbing abilities. And although this may sound incredibly fast, Cheetahs can reach up to 80mph at their top speeds.
It's no shock, then, that wild cats are fantastic hunters. So, next time you're watching your feline friend chase a silly laser toy, think about where they get their agility from!
13. Big cats can't purr
We love it when our cats purr. It shows us they are content and happy, which makes us feel like we've done our job as loving pet parents well! However, unlike a pet cat, wild cats can't purr!
This is because they have tough cartilage around the bones that surround the skull, meaning they're more suited to producing loud roars rather than quiet purrs. However, some big cats meow! It may come as a surprise, but Cheetahs, Lion cubs, and Cougars can all meow.
What are 5 cat facts?
There are plenty of fun cat facts, our top five include: A cat has been to space, a cat can run at 30mph, A cat has lived until they were 38 years old, most orange cats are male, and most tortoiseshell cats are female.
What is a silly fact about a cat?
A silly fact about a cat is that a Parisian stray cat has been to space and returned safely to Earth.
Are cats color blind?
No, most cats aren't color blind. While they can't see the full spectrum of colors humans can, they can still see more than black and white.
Why do cats lick you?
When a cat licks you, it's their way of showing affection. This is the behavior they would have learned from their mum when they were kittens.
How fast can a cat run?
Most adult cats can run 30mph.
What are three fun facts about cats?
Here are three fun facts about cats: The oldest cat lived until she was 38 years old, whereas other cats usually live until they are around 15 years old, a cat has been to space and back, and they can run 30mph.
While other animals make interesting pets, our feline friends are truly fascinating. Their history and path to domestication is one that we are all thankful for. So, whether you're a Siamese cat owner, a Calico lover, or a rescuer of shelter cats, we hope these facts have been interesting!
Head to our blog to find endless articles about our furry friends.