11 Scientific Facts Explaining Why We Live on Cats’ Terms and Not the Other Way Around
“A cat will try to stay on your lap even when you’re trying to stand up from your chair. Until the very last moment, it hopes that you will grow a conscience and sit back down.” It seems that this phrase explains a cat’s deep nature very well. But there’s a reason why these animals, that realize how perfect they are, behave this way.
We at Bright Side have found amazing facts about these furry animals that won’t only surprise you, but also prove that, as Alf said, life without cats would be boring and pointless.
11. The cat’s “meow” means nothing.
Cat’s don’t have a language. It may seem that cats’ meows actually mean something deep, but in fact, they use this sound to attract attention. In the beginning of their life, it’s only necessary for little kittens when they call their mother. Adult cats in the wild never use this sound.
Domestic cats found out that their meow works not only with their mothers but also with their owners. Later, they realized that if they change the tone of their meow, they could achieve different goals and even manipulate people successfully. Note: domestic cats never meow when they communicate with each other.
If you are one of those people who loves meowing back to the cat to watch its strange reaction, you should know that you just asked the cat to pay attention to you. And now it’s confused, wondering if it heard something wrong or if you actually need its help.
10. Cats are kind of near-sighted.
In Pop Science magazine, artist Nickolay Lamm shows us his study of how cats see the world: their field of view is wider than a human’s and they can see perfectly in the dark, but because of this, they don’t see colors as saturated as they are. Another sacrifice they had to make is changing focus from near objects to far objects and back. That’s why wild animals are usually far-sighted (because they need to hunt) and domestic ones are near-sighted (but not completely: they can’t focus on objects that are right in front of them).
Take a look at the same picture the way people see it (the upper one) and the way cats see it (the lower one).
9. Cats don’t have day and night modes.
Domestic cats don’t have a schedule, they live 24/7. They don’t have an actual night, they sleep at any time they want. So if your cat suddenly decides that it’s ready for a night adventure, it’s not because it’s a nocturnal animal or the schedule is wrong, it does it just because it wants to.
8. Domestic cats originated from this wildcat
Here it is, Felis silvestris lybica or wildcat. This is a breed of wild cats which had lived in deserts, near water, and in the mountains for 130 thousand years. But 10,000 years ago, around five wildcats were domesticated in the East and cats have been domestic animals eversince.
7. Cats have their own age system
The average life expectancy of domestic cats is 14 years, and stray cats live no more than 2 years. However, there are cats which live much longer. For example, a cat named Creme Puff is in the Guinness World Records because he lived for 38 years! Can you believe that? To compare the lives of humans and cats, see the below table:
6. Cats often ask their owners to open the door for them and don’t walk through it on purpose.
Despite the fact that the joke “they don’t enter because the textures don’t load” is pretty good, we found a different answer. Cat’s don’t really need to enter, they just need to control the territory. If the door is closed, it means that there is something unknown behind it — probably danger lurking. And if the door is open, everything is visible, so I can stay in the same room, thank you human for opening it, now go back to your place.
5. Cats took part in wars.
Persian cats get a special prize for being used in the most interesting way during war — they were used as shields during wars with ancient Egyptians. Egyptions considered cats sacred animals and couldn’t hurt this animal shield, so they didn’t attack.
Cats were also used for checking air quality. For example, they knew about an incoming gas attack in advance and could alarm soldiers about it. And their most important job was psychological support for soldiers. These furry little creatures reminded the soldiers of home and gave them hope of returning back to their families.
4. Cats need to sniff food for a long time before refusing to eat it.
This is a picture that many cat owners know: a cat sniffing food trying to decide whether it wants it or not. Even if the food is tasty. Even if the cat is terribly hungry. On the one hand, it seems that these animals are too picky. But this is not true. The thing is, cats can’t see what’s right in front of them (we wrote about this before), that’s why they check that it’s food and not something else, and figure out what temperature it is. The best temperature is the same as the cats’ body temperature (around 100°F).
3. Cats have dreams.
Have you seen people move their eyeballs while sleeping? And sometimes even hear them speak and make gestures. If you measure the brain activity of a sleeping person, you will see that the organ is actively functioning. The same measurements have been made on cats’ brains. And it’s shown that they work actively too. Besides, cat’s move their whiskers and ears and can also make sounds when they’re sleeping.
These are signs that these creatures also have dreams. We can even imagine what exactly they see:
2. Cats crumple things with their paws for a reason.
You’ve probably noticed cats massaging people, other cats, carpets, or other surfaces. It looks strange, doesn’t it?
As it turns out, this is a reflex that cats have from their childhood. They massaged their mothers’ belly to stimulate the milk supply. When they grow up, they still do that when they feel safe and comfortable.
So, if your cat massages you with its paws, it’s because it loves you! If it massages your blanket, it loves the blanket. And those who don’t have cats can see it here:
1. And the most important thing: how cats see people
A book by famous cat behavior researcher John Bradshaw called “Cat Sense,” answered the question that many people really want to know: “What do cats really think about people?” As it turns out, cats treat people like something in between a surrogate mother and just a big cat. More than that, they think that we are pretty dumb cats, because our behavior often seems strange and illogical to them: we spend days without hunting, we bother them for no reason, and we are really easy to manipulate. So, we are kind of big, caring, but mentally challenged mothers.
And we would like to end the article with a short story by Karel Čapek “From the Point of View of a Cat” which explains the last part very well.
This is my Man. I’m not afraid of him. He is very strong, for he eats a great deal; he is an Eater of All Things. What are you eating? Give me some!
He is not beautiful, for he has no fur. Not having enough saliva, he has to wash himself with water. He meows in a harsh voice and a great deal more than necessary. Sometimes in his sleep, he purrs.
Let me out!
I don’t know why he has made himself Master; perhaps he has eaten something sublime.
He keeps my rooms clean for me.
In his paws, he carries a sharp black claw and he scratches with it on white sheets of paper. This is the only game he plays. He sleeps at night instead of day, he cannot see in the dark, he has no pleasures. He never thinks of blood, never dreams of hunting or fighting; he never sings songs of love.
Often at night, when I hear mysterious and magic voices, when I can see that the darkness is all alive, he sits at the table with head bent and goes on and on, scratching with his black claw on the white papers. Don’t imagine that I am at all interested in you. I’m only listening to the soft whispering of your claw. Sometimes the whispering is silent, so the poor dull head does not know how to go on playing, and then I am sorry for him and I meow softly in sweet and sharp discord. Then my Man picks me up and buries his hot face in my fur. At those times he divines for an instant a glimpse of a higher life, and he sighs with happiness and purrs something which can almost be understood.
But don’t think that I am at all interested in you. You have warmed me, and now I will go out again and listen to the dark voices.Karel Čapek, 1919
Which of these cat facts amazed you the most? Tell us in the comment section below!