• Yolanda M. Blake

Cat Quirks

Did you know that cats have an extra organ that allows them to taste scents or that adult cats only meow when communicating with humans? Cats are adorable, mischievous, and aloof. And although they're popular pets, cats are still often mysterious and sometimes downright confusing.

So, what’s the first thing you do when you have a question that you’re begging to know the answer to? You Google it! Amazingly, the age of technology allows us all to have the vast world of knowledge right at our fingertips. Google recently put out a list of the most frequently asked questions about our favorite feline friends, and we decided to take a look and share some of them with you in this two part series.


Most Frequently Asked Questions


What is a group of cats called?


A group of cats is called a clowder. The term originates from the term “clodder,” which is a Middle English term that originated in the late 1700s used to describe a “clotted mass.” The term evolved over the years to the current term, clowder.


More adorably, a kindle is the word that’s used to describe a group of kittens.


How long do cats live?


The average lifespan of an indoor cat is 13 to 17 years. And, with yearly veterinary exams and routine care, our feline friends are living longer than ever. In fact, the percentage of domestic cats 6 years old and above has doubled over the last 25 years. This is due in part to the growing appreciation for cats as a whole, as well as an increased understanding of domestic cats’ health needs and instinctual behaviors.


How long is the pregnancy cycle for a female cat?


The gestation period of a cat is between sixty and sixty-seven days. In other words, a pregnant cat will give birth in just a little over two months’ time.


Why do cats meow?


You might be surprised to know that the reasons why cat’s meow change as they grow. Kittens meow to get their mother’s attention when they are hungry, scared, or cold. However, once a cat reaches adulthood, their vocalization changes to purrs, yowls, hisses, and growls to communicate within their species.


Full-grown felines only continue to meow when communicating with humans. Of course, domesticated cats quickly learn that their comforts are dependent on human interaction, so they’ve had to adapt a “second language” of sorts to see that their needs are met.


Why do cats purr?


According to Somerzby, this is the most popularly searched question related to cats on Google.


Purring is one of the most iconic sounds in the animal kingdom. It is a unique vocal feature shared by most small-breed cats, including the domestic cat, bobcats, cheetahs, lynx, and pumas. Larger breeds of cats, such as lions and tigers, do not exhibit true purring behavior. Which leads to another interesting fact—purring and roaring are mutually exclusive.


Also, purring isn’t always a sign of contentment. Although it is tempting to believe that cats purr simply because they are happy, it is more plausible that purring represents a broader means of communication. For instance, older cats sometimes purr when in play and even when they are distressed, afraid, or sick. Purring has been proven to release endorphins in cats and has been shown to aid in the healing of broken bones, joint and tendon repair, and wound healing.


Why does my cat lick me?


It is believed that cats lick both humans and other felines as a way to groom, as well as a way of displaying trust and affection. When your cat licks you, they are both cleaning and claiming you, just as they would for a feline friend or litter mate.


Also, some cats become so stressed that they start licking themselves or others compulsively as a means of self comfort. The key to understanding this behavior is to pay attention to your cat's body language and environment to decipher what your pet is communicating.


Why does my cat drool when petted?


No one knows for sure why some cats display this behavior, but it appears that they get so wrapped up in the euphoria of being gently stroked that they forget to swallow.


Why do cats get hairballs?


Hairballs are the unpleasant by-product of a healthy and normal feline habit. While they may be disgusting, hairballs develop as a result of your cat’s fastidious grooming routine.


When your cat grooms themselves, the tiny hook-like structures on their tongue catch loose and dead hair, which is then swallowed. The majority of this hair passes through the digestive tract with no problems. But if some hair stays in the stomach, it can form a hairball. Usually, your cat will vomit the hairball to get rid of it.


Aside from the inconvenience presented as a pet parent, this is nothing to worry about. If only cats had opposable thumbs and could clean up after themselves!


Why do cats like cardboard boxes?


The predatory behavior exhibited by cats dictates that boxes are great for hiding, stalking, and retreating for safety as needed. Cats instinctively enjoy small enclosures due to the predatory nature of their species, and cardboard boxes provide the perfect refuge.


Why do cats sleep so much?


A typical cat spends 15 hours or more per day sleeping. Domestic cats are crepuscular, meaning that they are most active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk. Moreover, as predatory animals, cats are hard-wired to hunt and roam. Such voracious activities, whether directed at a bird in the yard or a feather squeaky toy in your living room, consume a large amount of energy. Because of these natural cat behaviors, the majority of their day is directed at storing energy and “cat napping.”


Why do cats like sunbathing?


If you have a cat and a sunny spot in the house, chances are your cat is lounging there. After all, cats are creatures of comfort, and who doesn’t love to feel all warm and cozy when napping?


Not only that but, like most mammals, your cat's body temperature will dip during rest, which is why they instinctively seek out a warm or sunny spot to keep their body heat up as they sleep.


We hope we answered some of your biggest questions about your favorite furry friend. Be sure to check back next week as we continue to unravel some of the most commonly asked questions about cats.


Also, if you have any questions, be sure to leave them in the comments below!

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