October 29 is National Cat Day. For all the cat lovers out there, here are some fun feline facts that many cat fanatics may not be aware of:
1. Cats can make approximately 100 different sounds.
2. A group of cats is called a clowder.
3. In keeping with the spirit of Halloween, black cats are considered to be lucky in Britain and Australia.
4. Cats spend approximately 1/3 of their time awake grooming. They spend on average 15-17 hours per day sleeping.
5. Cats do not have the ability to taste “sweet” flavors.
6. The average domestic cat can run at a speed of approximately 30 mph.
7. Cats are crepuscular pets, meaning they are most active late at night and early in the morning.
8. The Maine Coon breed and American Shorthair breed arrived on the Mayflower.
9. Purebred cats mature slower than domestic shorthair cats.
10. Not all cats will respond to catnip. The ability to respond is actually a trait that is inherited in cats. The reaction that cats have to catnip is speculated to be “hallucinogenic.”
11. The “color points” located at the face, tail, and feet of the colourpoint breeds (such as the Siamese or Himalayan) is due to a temperature recessive gene expressed in hair located in cool parts of the body. Therefore, it is important to remember that any hair shaved on these cats may grow back darker for some time due to the decrease in temperature in that region of hair growth!
12. The longest whiskers on a cats face are called the mystacial tufts. These are used for sensing location close to the face, especially prey, as cats have poor vision up close.
13. The reason that only females are typically calico is that the gene coding for red or black color can only be expressed on the “x” chromosome, which makes female cats more likely to have multiple colors (XX vs XY of males).
14. There are 4 distinct tabby patterns: mackerel (striped), spotted, classic, and ticked (agouti). The tabby coloration is actually dominant to solid colors in gene expression.
15. The “tabby” color pattern is thought to be the original color of domesticated cats.
16. All tabby cats have a “M” marking on the forehead.