It is believed that cats have been domesticated for at least 5,000 years. During that time, we’ve managed to learn a few fascinating facts about their biology and behavior (although it is universally acknowledged that much about our feline friends still remains a mystery)!
- They run their faces on ours to leave their scent on us.
Cats have glands on their heads which deposit their pheromones (scents) onto us, and mark us. They do this to consistently make us a part of the scent of the household. On the other hand, when they are grooming, they are actually licking our scents off of themselves!
- They wink and “slow blink” to let you know they love you.
Have you ever watched your cat wink at you, or keep its eyes half open, or slowly blink at you? This is a cat’s way of expressing contentment, relaxation, and enjoyment. Your cat is “I love you” when you see this!
- They prefer running water, and do not tend to drink still water.
As ancient as feline domestication is, our four legged companions are still biologically programmed to prefer running water. The reason behind this is that running water is much less likely to harbor bacteria or disease causing organisms, while stagnant water can make animals sick. This preference means it’s a good idea to have a water fountain for your cat (these can be found at any pet store).
- Cats can drink ocean water and survive.
Cats possess amazing kidneys which can filter out the salt from the water, so they can actually drink seawater!
- Their whiskers are a vital measuring tool.
A cat’s whiskers are as long as the widest part of their body. This enables them to use their whiskers to determine whether or not they can fit through an opening. If the whiskers can’t fit, the cat can’t fit. For this reason, it is important to never cut or trim your cat’s whiskers (which also have nerve endings on them)!
- Their noses are like fingerprints.
The pattern of bumps and ridges on their nose is unique to each cat. So, like a human fingerprint, these could be used to identify the cat (that is, if recording nose prints were a thing).
- They meow to people, but not to other cats.
Cats only meow to humans. Cats communicate to each other via body language, scent, facial expression, and touch. Cats may growl or hiss at each other in conflict situations, but they do not usually speak to one another with vocal cords (unless they are kittens). Meowing is something adult cats have learned how to do to communicate with humans; they are mimicking our tendency to always be making noise with our mouth when focusing on and interacting with others. They are using that mimicked behavior to their advantage by getting us to do what they want us to do.
But, do we honestly mind?