Cats: they meow, they sleep, they catch mice, they love lasers.
That’s all there is to know, right?
As it turns out, there’s still a lot that most people don’t know about our whiskered companions.
So “paws” what you’re doing and prepare to be amazed by these surprising cat facts and stats!
Cat History and Biology Facts
1. People Have Had Pet Cats for Over 9,500 Years…
It’s common knowledge that the ancient Egyptians kept pet cats during their heyday around 4,000 years ago.
But they were hardly the first to catch onto the trend: in 2004, archaeologists in Cyprus discovered evidence of pet cats dating back a whopping 9,500 years.
The evidence in question: the remains of a cat buried in the same grave as a human, suggesting that even back then, cats were so beloved that humans wanted to keep them around in both life and death.
2. …But They’ve Been Their Own Species for Much Longer
Domestic cats are often thought of as tiny tigers, but they haven’t been tigers for a long time.
Cats and tigers diverged from each other around 10.8 million years ago.
This was 4-7 million years before chimpanzees and humans diverged.
Perhaps this is why cats seem so wise and confident: they know they’ve been around far longer than we have!
3. A Cat Cemetery Containing Over 300,000 Cat Mummies Exist in Egypt
At Beni Hassan, an ancient Egyptian cemetery, you’ll find the tombs of many important figureheads — and even more cats.
Over 300,000 cat mummies have been found at the cemetery, demonstrating just how much these ancient people revered their feline friends.
4. The First Cat Video Was Recorded in 1894
We may think of cat videos as internet-era novelties, but they’ve been around for over 120 years!
The first cat video was recorded by none other than Thomas Edison in 1894. It’s 20 seconds long and features two cats wearing boxing gloves and playing with one another in a mini boxing ring.
In other words, it’s not too far off from the hilarious cat videos that populate the internet today.
Cats Population and Ownership Facts
5. There Are Over 600 Million Cats in the World…
6. …And Over 150 Million of Them Are Strays
7. Cat Ownership Costs Around 40% Less Than Dog Ownership
Across all expenditure categories, cats come out on top as being more frugal to own than dogs.
The average routine vet visit for a cat costs $160, compared to $210 for a dog.
Annual cat food costs average $228, versus $259 for dogs.
And yearly cat toy expenses average out to just $31, significantly less than the $48 dog toy average.
Cat Behavior Facts
8. Cats Can Travel Thousands of Miles to Get Home
A cat’s homing abilities are truly incredible. They’re able to navigate home from hundreds or even thousands of miles away.
One of the most incredible stories is that of a Persian cat named Howie, who navigated 1,000 miles of Australian outback over the course of 12 months to get home.
9. Up to 50% of Cats Have No Reaction to Catnip
Catnip is known for its intoxicating, often hilarious effects on cats. But anywhere from 30% to 50% of cats don’t react to it at all.
That’s because these cats lack the “catnip gene” — it turns out that the catnip response is hereditary and quite easily bred out.
And even if a kitten is born with the catnip gene, he won’t react to catnip until the gene becomes active at around 6 months of age.
10. Cats Spend Up to 50% of Their Waking Hours Grooming
Cats are notorious sleep lovers, spending an average of 15 hours a day sleeping.
And up to 50% of those remaining waking hours are spent grooming themselves.
That’s potentially 4.5 hours a day scratching, licking, and otherwise making themselves look pretty. It seems that for cats, vanity comes second only to laziness.
Unique and Record-Setting Cats
11. In 1995, a Green Cat Was Born in Denmark
A Danish woman named Pia Bischoff was shocked when, in 1995, she found a kitten whose fur and claws were completely green in color.
Vets concluded that the green color was due to high copper levels in the area’s water. Eventually, the kitten shed its fur and revealed its true gray color.
12. The World’s Wealthiest Cat Has a $13 Million Fortune
Tommaso was once a stray cat wandering the streets of Rome. But then he was adopted by a woman named Maria Assunta, who left Tommaso her $13 million fortune when she died in 2011.
As the sole recipient of Maria’s fortune, Tommaso became the world’s richest cat.
13. The Oldest Cat Ever Recorded Lived to Be 38 Years Old
In 1967, a cat named Creme Puff was born in Austin, Texas. But nobody expected that she’d go on to be the world’s oldest cat, living for an astonishing 38 years and 3 days.
Creme Puff’s owner, Jake Perry, attributed her longevity to her diet: broccoli, eggs, red wine and coffee with cream.
14. A Cat Served as the Mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska, for 20 Years
In 1997, the people of Talkeetna, Alaska, went to the polls to elect a new mayor. But, unsatisfied with the official candidates, they decided to write in an unconventional choice: Stubbs the tabby cat.
Mayor Stubbs became a major tourist attraction, with 75% of visitors asking to see him. He was reelected several times until his death in 2017.
15. The Loudest Cat Purr Is as Loud as an Air Conditioner…
Merlin, a tuxedo cat from Devon, UK, holds the world record for loudest purr: nearly 70 decibels, or as loud as an air conditioner.
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With such big sounds, you’d think that Merlin would have the stature to match. But he’s minuscule compared to the cat we’re about to meet next…
16. …And the Longest Cat Is as Long as a Baseball Bat
Barivel, a Maine Coon from Italy, is the world’s longest domestic cat. From head to tail, he measures 3 feet, 11 inches — longer than the height of an average mailbox, and as long as a baseball bat.