These fun facts about cats will make you feel all fuzzy inside.

You may love your cat, but you may not be fully aware of just how cool your she — and her overall species — really is. For example, did you know that cats have an extra organ that allows them to taste scents? Or that they developed meowing as a way to communicate exclusively with humans?

Clearly, there’s more to your little feline friend than meets the eye. So, to help you fully appreciate how awesome cats are, we asked cat care professionals on — namely, cat sitters, boarders, and groomers — to share their favorite fun facts about these mystical creatures. We then pulled together a list of the 101 most amusing cat facts that you can share with your friends and family.

Facts About Cat Anatomy & Physiology

Facts About Cat Health & Wellness

  • A cat’s average lifespan increased by a year over the span of time between 2002 and 2012, according to a study by Banfield Pet Hospital.
  • According to The Huffington Post, cats typically sleep for 12 to 16 hours a day.
  • Cats are crepuscular, which means that they’re most active at dawn and dusk.
  • Cats are fastidious creatures about their “bathroom.” If you have more than one cat, you should have one litter box for each.
  • Cats can spend up to a third of their waking hours grooming.
  • Cats live longer when they stay indoors.
  • Cats’ purring may be a self-soothing behavior, since they make this noise when they’re ill or distressed, as well as when they’re happy.
  • Cats will refuse an unpalatable food to the point of starvation.
  • Despite popular belief, many cats are actually lactose intolerant.
  • Female cats have the ability to get pregnant when they are only 4 months old!
  • Grapes and raisins, as well as onions, garlic, and chives, are all extremely harmful foods for cats. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure — although the reasoning behind that isn’t clear. Meanwhile, onions, garlic, and chives wreak havoc on your cat’s gastrointestinal system and can cause anemia.
  • If you keep your cat active during the day, he will sleep better at night. If you’re not free-feeding your cat, you can also help her get a good night’s sleep by providing her with a substantial evening meal.
  • It’s believed that catnip produces an effect similar to LSD or marijuana in cats. The effects of nepetalactone — the chemical in catnip that can makes cats crazy — wears off within 15 minutes, and won’t surface again for a few hours, even if your cat remains in sniffing distance.
  • Kittens can be spayed or neutered when they are only eight weeks old. If possible, these procedures should be performed in the first 5 months of your cat’s life.
  • Male cats who have been fixed need fewer calories to maintain their weight.
  • Spaying and neutering can extend a cat’s life. The Banfield Pet Hospital study found that neutered males live an average of 62 percent longer than unneutered cats and spayed females live an average of 39 percent longer than unspayed cats.
  • Your cat’s grooming process stimulates blood flow to his skin, regulates his body temperature and helps him relax.

Facts About Cat Communication Cues

  • A cat with a question-mark-shaped tail is asking, “Want to play?”
  • According to Wilde, a slow blink is a “kitty kiss.” This movement shows contentment and trust.
  • Cats have a unique “vocabulary” with their owner — each cat has a different set of vocalizations, purrs and behaviors.
  • Cats have up to 100 different vocalizations — dogs only have 10.
  • Cats find it threatening when you make direct eye contact with them.
  • Cats mark you as their territory

    when they rub their faces and bodies against you, as they have scent glands in those areas.

  • Cats may yawn as a way to end a confrontation with another animal. Think of it as their “talk to the hand” gesture.
  • Hissing is defensive, not aggressive, says Wilde. “It’s an expression of fear, stress or discomfort of a threatened cat communicating ‘stay away,'” she says.
  • If cats are fighting, the cat that’s hissing is the more vulnerable one, says Wilde.
  • If your cat approaches you with a straight, almost vibrating tail, this means that she is extremely happy to see you.
  • Kneading — which some people refer to as “making biscuits” — is a sign of contentment and happiness. Cats knead their mothers when they are nursing to stimulate the let-down of milk.
  • Meowing is a behavior that cats developed exclusively to communicate with people.
  • When a cat flops over and exposes his belly, it’s not always an invitation for a belly rub. A cat does this when he’s relaxed and showing trust.
  • When cats hit you with retracted claws, they’re playing, not attacking.
  • When dogs wag their tails, they may be expressing happiness. But this isn’t the case for cats! When your cat wags her tail, it’s her way of warning you that you are getting on her last nerve.
  • When your cat sticks his butt in your face, he is doing so as a gesture of friendship.
  • Whiskers are also good indicators of a cat’s mood. When a cat is scared, he put his whiskers back. But when a cat is in hunting mode, he puts his whiskers forward.
  • Your cat drapes its tail over another cat, your dog, or you as a symbol of friendship.

Facts About Quirky Cat Behaviors — And Why They Happen

Facts About Cats Who Made History

  • A green cat was born in Denmark in 1995. Some people believe that high levels of copper in the water pipes nearby may have given his fur a verdigris effect.
  • It turns out that Abraham Lincoln was a crazy cat president! He had four cats that lived in the White House with him.
  • Maria Assunta left her cat, Tomasso, her entire $13 million fortune when she died in 2011.
  • President Bill Clinton’s cat, Socks, was a media darling during the Clinton administration and was said to receive more letters than the President himself.
  • Stubbs, a 17-year-old orange tabby, is mayor of the historic district of Talkeetna, Alaska.

Other Surprising Cat Facts You Didn’t Know

Originally written by Amy Kuras. Updated by Alexa Gahan, Katie Bonadies, and Kayla King on 30 June 2017.


101 Amazing Cat Facts: Fun Trivia About Your Feline Friend