15 Cat Facts You Might Not Know Already

You're about to become a cat expert.

Cat parents are already aware that their cats are pretty cool creatures. But you probably have no idea just how cool your cat really is. These cat facts will not only blow your mind, but you’ll look at your cat in a totally different way — and better understand that it’s her world and you’re just living in it!

We found some of the coolest and least-known cat facts to broaden your knowledge of all things cats and help you become even more of a cat expert and historian. So if you’re ready to be amazed, then let’s get on to the facts.

15 amazing cat facts

1. Domesticated cats share over 95 percent of their DNA with tigers

Our house cats and tigers share a common ancestor who existed 10.8 million years ago, and because of that, modern cats and tigers share 95.6 percent of their DNA.

2. Cats only meow to communicate with humans

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Cats don’t actually meow to talk to each other. They only developed this form of communication to get humans’ attention. Kittens meow to tell their mothers when they’re cold or hungry, and adult cats who live with humans carry this form of communication with them — but cats will likely never meow to communicate with another cat.

3. The first cat was domesticated around 3600 B.C.

The Ancient Egyptians were the first to domesticate cats, and the earliest domesticated cat dates back to the ancient settlement of Hierakonpolis during the Naqada IC-IIB period (c. 3800–3600 B.C.).

4. More than 200 cats live at Disneyland

Soon after Disneyland opened in 1955, a group of feral cats took up residence in Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. Walt Disney and his staff adopted most of them into their homes, but a few remained in the park — and it was enough to start an entire clan of feral cats. It’s estimated that over 200 cats live in Disneyland, and there are feeding stations located around the park to keep the cats fed and happy.

5. About 40 percent of cats spend 18 hours per day in sleep mode

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Most cats sleep anywhere from 12 to 18 hours per day. The older a cat is, the more time she spends sleeping during the day.

6. Cats are actually lactose intolerant

That’s right — cats actually can’t digest milk. There’s no nutritional value for cats in drinking cow’s milk, and most cats actually lack the lactase enzyme that helps break down lactose, meaning that drinking milk can really hurt their stomachs.

7. Cats can’t climb down trees head-first

This is because their claws are hook-shaped, so if they were to attempt to climb down a tree head-first, they’d slip and fall! That’s why cats have to climb down from anything tail-first.

8. Studies show that neutered cats live longer than unneutered cats

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a 2013 study found that neutered male cats lived 62 percent longer than unneutered male cats. And spayed female cats lived 39 percent longer than unspayed female cats.

9. Cats have a special organ that allows them to taste the air

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You may know it as your cat’s “stink face,” but the face your cat makes after sniffing something — mouth open, a bit zoned out — is actually called the flehmen response, and it means her vomeronasal organ is working. This organ, located just above the roof of her mouth, processes scent and taste in a unique way.

10. When your cat rubs on you, she is marking you as her territory

Both wild and domesticated cats use scent marking to mark things (and people!) as their territory. Cats have scent glands on their faces that help them mark their property.

11. Cats aren’t nocturnal, but rather crepuscular

If you’ve ever wondered why your cat loves to wake you up at 4:30 a.m., it’s because she’s crepuscular, meaning she’s most active at dusk and dawn. Rather than nocturnal animals who are most active throughout the night, cats’ peak activity occurs just after sundown and right after sunrise.

12. It’s common for cats to be born with extra toes

These polydactyl cats can have up to nine toes on each paw. They’re also sometimes called Hemmingway cats because the famous author Ernest Hemingway was gifted a polydactyl cat named Snow White. She’s now a grandmother to over 50 cats who live at the Hemingway House and Museum in Key West, Florida, and nearly half of these cats have an extra toe!

13. Cat noses are just as unique as our fingerprints

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Cats and other animals, including dogs, have unique noseprints similar to our fingerprints. And no two noses are alike!

14. Cats can’t taste sweetness

A 2005 study confirmed that cats are “sweet blind,” meaning they are unable to taste sweetness. They lack the receptor that recognizes sweetness, which is a receptor that most likely got switched off in the cat’s genome a few million years ago.

15. Cats can drink salt water if they need to in order to survive

A study from 1959 found that cats will drink seawater when food is scarce or use it to supplement food intake when out in the wild. Further research has proven that cats’ kidneys can filter out the salt in dire situations, meaning cats can actually stay hydrated by drinking salt water, unlike most other creatures. Of course, salt water should never be a cat’s main source of hydration.

See? Your cat is a lot cooler than you originally thought. She definitely deserves a few extra treats and scratches for being so unique!