If you are a cat owner, a cat admirer, or simply cat curious, you are in the right place. Regardless of your feline feelings, you likely agree that these creatures can be quite mysterious. Our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Groves team adores our curious kitty clients, and we’re taking a deep look at the feline mystique. Since cats were first domesticated, owners have been trying to figure them out. Read the following interesting cat facts to better understand your favorite feline. 

The Egyptians were big fans of cats

Cats were very important to the ancient Egyptians. Cats protected the crops, and by killing rodents, hindered the spread of disease. In addition, for Egyptians, cats represented the divine aspects of their gods. Bastet—the goddess of protection and pleasure, and the bringer of good health—was regarded as a fierce protector of the home and depicted as having a cat’s head and a slender female human body. Cats were so highly regarded that members of the Egyptian royal class dressed their cats in gold and let them eat from their own plates. No wonder our current-day kitties are so particular about their dining habits.

Cats are natural athletes

Cats are known for their agility and athleticism. They can jump up to six times their body length in a single bound and rotate their supple spine more than many other animals. The limber feline spine allows cats to perform their elegant acrobatic feats and contributes to their speed as runners. A cat can reach a top speed of nearly 30 miles per hour by alternately extending and flexing their backs, which lengthens their stride and increases their speed. In addition, only muscles—no bones—attach the feline shoulder blade to the rest of their body, which provides a tremendous range of motion, further extending their running stride. 

Cats always land on their feet 

This popular idiom—which describes the process of bouncing back after a difficult situation—has arisen from felines’ ability to right themselves during a fall, landing safely on their feet. While cats don’t always land on their feet, the saying does have a basis in truth. The righting reflex—cats’ uncanny ability to land on their feet—is achieved because of their unique skeletal structure. The feline skeleton has no collarbone and an extremely flexible backbone with 30 vertebrae, which helps them correct their position easily and quickly during a fall. Cats’ low body-to-weight ratio also helps them land on their feet as this body composition type slows their velocity while falling. Although cats usually land on their feet, they can still be injured in a fall. Always take steps to keep your cat safe, such as keeping them away from the ledge of a high place from which they could fall.

Cats have the largest eyes of any mammal, relative to their size

Your cat’s wide-eyed look—which may make you feel they are secretly judging you—is actually a genetic adaptation for hunting at night. Their slit pupils open wider and change size more quickly than other mammals’ circular pupils, allowing cats to see better in various light levels. Cats can see in one-sixth the amount of light that humans can, because our feline friends have more rods in their retinas and a tapetum lucidum (i.e., the reflective tissue layer at the eye’s back), which creates the eerie glow of their eyes in the darkness. 

Cats cannot taste sweetness

Your cat may be a picky eater because they can’t taste sweet things. Unlike other mammals, cats don’t have taste buds for sweetness, likely because they are obligate carnivores, requiring only meat in their diet and having no need or use for carbohydrates. So, the next time your cat turns their nose up at a sweet treat, do not take the snub personally.

Cats need veterinary care too

All cats—including indoor cats—should receive regular, preventive veterinary care at least once per year. Wellness care, including exams, vaccines, and parasite preventives, keeps your pet healthy. In addition, keep in mind that many common feline conditions, such as diabetes, dental and kidney diseases, arthritis, and thyroid conditions, are more treatable when detected in the early stage—before they cause severe damage. 

We hope you have gained a new appreciation for your fabulous feline. Always ensure your cat is in good health and make their wellness care a priority. Schedule your cat’s routine preventive care appointment with our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Groves team.