Thursday, October 7, 2010

Today's Trivia - Cats

Seeing that we have two cats in the house, with the second one being a recent adoptee from the local humane society, I thought it would be nice to make this week’s trivia all about cats.

So let it be written; so let it be done...

This famous quote was made (in the movie the Ten Commandments) by Pharaoh Rameses II (played by Yul Brynner) whenever he made a declaration.

Let’s get started...

- Cats have been associated with humans for at least 9,500 years, and are currently the most popular pet in the world.

- Cats are a common companion animal in Europe and North America, and their worldwide population exceeds 500 million. A 2007 report stated that about 37 million US households owned cats, with an average of 2.2 cats per household giving a total population of around 82 million.

- The ‘cat-o-nine-tails’ is a leather whip once used as a method of severe punishment. Probably given its name by the claw like effect on the recipient, it may also provide one explanation for the expression, ‘…no room to swing a cat.’ Known to have been a popular punishment on board Royal Navy ships, where space would have been limited, it’s thought the saying may have referred to the amount of space needed to swing ‘the cat’ to administer the punishment.

- Cats use the length of their whiskers to judge whether the rest of their body will fit through a gap.

- Cats are said to have 9 lives: this probably originates from ancient Egyptian times when it was believed that gods took feline form.

- Cats have an innate ability to rotate their bodies during a fall, allowing them to land on their feet. This often makes it seem as though they survive the unsurvivable, adding fuel to the fire of belief that cats have 9 lives.

- The oldest cat on record is Puss from England who died in 1939, 1 day after his 36th birthday.

- Neutering a cat can extend its life by 2 or 3 years.

- A lonely old woman living with a black cat in the 17th Century would probably have been accused of witchcraft.

- Cats were often hung at the gallows in the 17th Century along with those accused of witchcraft.

- The early Christian Church believed all cats to be in cahoots with the devil, especially black cats. (Such ignorance...)

- Anti-cat hysteria reached fever pitch in the Middle Ages when cats were hunted down and persecuted for no reason other than being a cat. (Unbelievable...)

- In ancient Egyptian times, the killing of a cat was punishable by death.

- In 500 BC a Persian king besieged an Egyptian city by ordering each of his men to carry a cat as they advanced. The Egyptians dared not strike a blow for fear of killing a sacred cat - they surrendered!

- Ancient Egyptians shaved off their eyebrows when mourning the death of a beloved cat. (Okay...)

- The Christian persecution of the cat allowed the European rat population to grow unchecked, contributing to the spread of many diseases, most notably the plague. (Looks like the persecuted cats got their revenge from the grave...)

- The cat with the world record for catching the most mice is Towser who ‘worked’ at the Glenturret Distillery in Scotland for 24 years. A long-haired tortoiseshell, she is reported to have caught 28, 899 mice in her lifetime - that’s 3 a day!

- The skin of a cat’s nose has a unique individual pattern, just like a human fingerprint.

- A cat has larger eyes than any other mammal.

- Sir Isaac Newton is often credited with the invention of the cat door. In the UK, 90 per cent of indoor cats have access to a cat flap.

- Pure white cats are rare and white cats with blue eyes are almost always deaf.

- A kitten’s stomach is the size of a walnut. (Hard to believe when you see how much my kitten eats.)

- A female cat can have as many as 420 kittens in her lifetime.

- Cats sleep anywhere from 13 to 20 hours a day. (They can compete with the ferrets on this.)

- The term cat nap refers to the cat's ability to fall asleep (lightly) for a brief period and has entered the English lexicon. Someone who nods off for a few minutes is said to be "taking a cat nap".

- During sleep cats experience short periods of rapid eye movement sleep accompanied by muscle twitches, which suggests that they are dreaming. (I’ve no doubt that mine dream about catching the blue jays in our backyard.)

- A cat can jump over 7 times its own height.

- The earliest known picture of a cat was painted in an Egyptian tomb about 2600 BC.

- In Bubastis, Egypt, archaeologists discovered 300 000 embalmed cats.

- Unlike human arms, cat forelimbs are attached to the shoulder by free-floating clavicle bones, which allow them to pass their body through any space into which they can fit their heads.

- When cats walk, they use a "diagonal" gait; that is, they move the two legs on one side of the body before the legs on the other side. This trait is shared with camels and giraffes.

- Cats are able to tolerate quite high temperatures: they show no discomfort until their skin reaches around 52 °C (126 °F), and can tolerate temperatures of up to 56 °C (133 °F) if they have access to water.

- Cats conserve heat by reducing the flow of blood to their skin and lose heat by evaporation through their mouth. They do not sweat, and pant only at very high temperatures.

- Their kidneys are so efficient that cats can survive on a diet consisting only of meat, with no additional water, and can even rehydrate by drinking seawater.

- Cats have excellent night vision and can see at only one-sixth the light level required for human vision.

- Domestic cats have rather poor color vision and can only see two colors: blue and green, and are less able to distinguish between red and green.

- Cats have excellent hearing and can detect an extremely broad range of frequencies. They can hear higher-pitched sounds than either dogs or humans

- In captivity, an average life expectancy for male indoor cats at birth is 12 to 14 years, with females usually living a year or two longer.

- Domestic cats use many vocalizations for communication, including purring, trilling, hissing, growling, snarling and several different forms of meowing.

- Cats are ready to go to new homes at about 12 weeks old, or when they are ready to leave their mother.

That’s it for this week, folks. Hope you all learned something new!


  1. Love kitties! All animals actually, but kitties have a special place in my heart. And yes, my white cat is totally deaf. And loud...

  2. I once had a white cat, but she wasn't deaf. I often wonder if she was spared that by the fact that her eyes weren't both the same colour (one was blue, one green). Makes me go hmmmm...

  3. Wow .. so much information on our little loves !
    That is a cute picture of Mocha : ) .. I love the name by the way girl ! LOL
    Joy : )

  4. Joy, we finally named the poor thing! We had so many names on our list that I was wondering if we'd ever settle on one. She's a sweetheart; much more comfortable now than she was when we first brought her home. And her and Nacho are getting along great!