This month, it’s all about your purr-fect felines! Why? Well, it’s National Adopt a Cat Month, of course! Every year in June is Adopt a Cat Month, a special occasion celebrated by the American Humane Organization to promote awareness about the numerous lovable cats in shelters. These felines are patiently waiting for their chance to be adopted by caring families and find their forever homes. As the first national humane organization in the U.S, American Humane is committed to promoting "the safety, welfare, and well-being of animals".
This holiday encourages individuals to visit nearby animal shelters and welcome a new feline companion into their household. With many shelters facing struggles to maintain their operations, people are urged to consider lending a helping hand to save an innocent cat’s life. Making a significant impact is within everyone's reach, and one way to achieve it is by volunteering at a nearby shelter or donating essential supplies. Don't hesitate to join the cause today!
To celebrate this national observance, let's explore some interesting facts that you may not be aware of about your beloved cats!
1. Cats spend 70% of their lives sleeping
Did you know cats spend more than 70% of their lives sleeping? That’s right! Cats are known to spend long proportions of the day in slumber. In particular, adult cats spend about 15 to 20 hours—on average—sleeping! Of course, the amount of sleep a cat receives varies depending on their age, breed, diet, and activity level. This is as compared to humans who need at least seven hours of sleep per night.
It is not uncommon for cat owners to find their little feline friends snoozing. In fact, a common trait that many people associate cats with is laziness due to how much time they spend resting. This leaves pet parents asking one question—why does my cat sleep so much?! Well, it turns out that sleeping is a survival trait for cats and helps them to conserve energy and stay alert. Not to mention, cats are crepuscular animals! While some are awake at night, they typically “come alive” and are more active at dusk and dawn. Other reasons why your cat sleeps include because they’re bored, stressed, or anxious. But be mindful! Excessive sleeping can mean the possibility of a potential illness or that they are in pain. Always contact your veterinarian if you notice other peculiar changes along with their sleeping habits.
2. A cat’s rear end in your face is a sign of trust
If there is one thing cats don’t care about, it’s personal space! I’m sure every cat owner has experienced coming home from a long day of work and having their relaxation time interrupted by their cat nudging them for cuddles or jumping on their laps. However, others are interrupted by a much more peculiar (and perhaps unpleasant) sight—their cat’s rear end in their faces. Though this might have you feeling weirded out and thinking “eww” that may quickly turn into “aww” once you realize your feline’s intentions behind this otherwise odd gesture. One of the ways that cats communicate is through body language, and it turns out this specific action is a sign of trust and affection! Cats use their tails to express their emotions and your furry friend is displaying their love, trust, and affection towards you by, yes—shoving their butts in your face. It’s also their way of saying “Hello” and being polite—which is quite the contrary to how we would normally introduce ourselves to others!
3. The oldest cat to ever live was 38 years old!
Creme Puff, a mixed Tabby domestic cat, was born in Austin, Texas, and was set to make history! Born on August 3, 1967, Creme Puff lived an incredible 38 years before passing away on August 6, 2005. To put this into perspective, the average life expectancy of most domestic cats is between 12 to 18 years old, with many living up until their early 20s. Not to mention, 38 cat years is equivalent to 168 human years! According to the 2010 edition of Guinness World Records, Creme Puff is recorded to be the oldest cat to have ever lived—what a record breaker!
4. House cats share 95.6% genetic makeup with tigers
Yes, you read that correctly! Your cute and precious furry feline shares 95.6 percent of their genome, or DNA, with tigers—one of the world’s most powerful, fearless, renowned and largest big cat species. Other than body posture and physical characteristics, domestic cats and tigers share various similarities. In fact, they have more in common than not. In regards to their diet and sleeping patterns, domestic cats and tigers are both obligate carnivores that survive on high protein diets and can sleep up to 20 hours every day. They also share commonalities in behavioral habits such as kneading, scratching, scent and urine marking, and their innate desire to hunt. If you’ve ever seen your little kitten quietly and stealthily make an approach before pouncing on something (their ultimate sneak attack!) or the way they use their stalking and hunting instincts to chase mice or other toys—they are using skills similar to that of their wild counterparts. So for cat parents, beware! You just might have a “little tiger” on your hands.
5. Cats have an advanced sense of hearing
Cats have an astonishing 32 muscles in each ear! This is as opposed to dogs who on average have about 18 muscles in each ear. Cats are able to rotate their ears up to 180 degrees and the muscles in each ear enable them to move independently of one another to hone in and pinpoint which direction a sound source is coming from. Your feline friend also has excellent hearing! Were you aware that felines possess the ability to detect sound waves of much higher frequencies than the human ear—and even a dog— is capable of perceiving? That's right! Cats can hear sounds up to 64,000 Hz, which is about three times greater than people, and about one octave above the range of a dog. On the other hand, their ability to hear lower-pitched sounds falls within a range similar to that of humans. With such great hearing, cats are able to detect even the smallest of prey!
6. Cats can be left-handed or right-handed
Like humans, cats can be left-handed or right-handed. If you’ve ever noticed your cat using one paw over the other, for instance, when they knock things over or step into their litter boxes, they are most likely displaying a lateral bias. Essentially, this means that they prefer one paw over the other. Interestingly, this can also be linked to their gender in which each sex exhibited different dominant paw preferences. According to researchers, male cats generally favor their left paws when initially taking a step, while female felines tend to favor their right. A cat’s handedness—or pawedness—can help pet parents gain a better understanding of their needs, behaviors, and emotions. Scientists have also stated that understanding paw preference can be used to gain insight into an animal's vulnerability to stress. So the next time you see your cat going down the stairs, reaching for food, or engaging in any other activity, pay attention to which paw they constantly use. You may find it interesting!
7. Spayed and neutered cats have a longer life expectancy than those not
According to a study conducted by Banfield Pet Hospitals, it was concluded that female cats that were spayed live an average of 39 percent longer than unspayed cats, while neutered male cats live an average 62 percent longer than unneutered cats. The Humane Society of the United States encourages cat owners to have their cats spayed or neutered as it can minimize roaming, alleviate certain types of aggressive behavior, help prevent infections and cancer, and more.
8. A cat’s purr can help them self-heal
When cats purr, we often associate it with them being happy, relaxed, and content. You might even find your cat purring when they are trying to communicate hunger or if they want your attention. However, come to find out, there is much more to it. Cats seem to have self-soothing mechanisms and self-healing capabilities through purring that can help them to maintain their health. In a study published within the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, researchers found that cats purr at a frequency between the ranges of 25 and 150 Hz. This also happens to be the same vibrational frequency used to help aid in treatment for healing bones, joints and tendon repair, wound healing and more. Therefore, it is believed that purring enhances their ability to heal and is an internal healing mechanism. Purring releases endorphins that help cats relieve pain, promote bone growth, reduce stress, and cope with any illnesses. For instance, when a cat is giving birth or dying, the endorphins released from them purring can help them ease any feelings of discomfort, lower blood pressure, and ease labored breathing.
9. The average house cat can run up to speeds of 30 mph!
Fascinating, right? This is even faster than Usain Bolt, an 11-time Olympic World Champion hailing from Jamaica and the fastest man in the world, whose max speed was approximately 27 mph—slightly under the top speed of a house cat. Cats have flexible spines and are known for their remarkable agility. With muscular back legs packed with power, they can propel forward effortlessly. Several other factors determine just how fast your feline can bolt. These factors include their age, breed, weight, health, and most importantly, motivation!
10. Cats can jump up to 6 times their height!
If you’ve dangled a toy above your cat, just out of their reach, then you are no stranger to witnessing just how high they can jump. At some point, I'm sure you have even seen a cat on a high fence and wondered how it got up there—nonetheless, how it even came down! Well, despite their small stature, cats are very elegant and graceful animals whose nimble footing allows them to land on all fours graciously. Healthy adult cats are able to jump up to 5 to 6 times their height, which is approximately 6 to 8 feet vertically. The ability for cats to jump so high stems from the power in their hind legs, along with fast twitch muscle fibers which help in supporting short bursts of movement. Cats also possess a "righting reflex" which enables them to twist their flexible bodies in order to right themselves and correct their balance in the air as they fall back to the ground on all fours—with their front legs and claws providing more stability.