Feline Facts

Cats are almost entirely covered with hair. One of the few bare areas is the end of the nose, which is known as leather. Kept damp by nasal secretions, the leather is highly sensitive to touch. A cat’s version of kissing a human or another cat, is to touch her nose leather to the other nose. It is the only part of the cat’s skin that has no sweat glands.

A cat generally has 24 whiskers. There are 12 on each side. They are divided into upper and lower rows which move independently of each other. They are used to detect objects in low light for the ability to slip through narrow openings. Whiskers tell a cat whether the space they are entering is big enough for it!

Cat’s whiskers known as vibrissae are controlled by various facial muscles which can point the whiskers out or pull them backwards toward the head when eating or fighting! The long upper-lip whiskers called mystacials and the muscles under them can move the bottom and top rows of hairs independently. The short whiskers on the lower jaw are called mandiculars. The whiskers on the cheeks are called genals, and the antennae-like whiskers above the eyes are known as superciliaries. Each front leg has backward-pointing hairs that serve the same function as the head whiskers. All are supersensitive touch receptors.

A kitten in the womb acquires whiskers before acquiring body hair. This is appropriate because when he/she is born, its eyes are shut and the ears are practically deaf at first, so the fully functioning whiskers are one of the chief sources of information about the world around it.

In animal fables, the beasts usually had no proper names, and so in Aesop’s Fables they are referred to as, “the cat,” “the fox,” “the mouse” etc. Occasionally, the cat in the fable did have a name…Tibert (just as the fox was sometimes called Reynard). Exactly why and how Tibert cane to be the stereotypical name for a cat is unknown. The name Tibert is probably the source of the the name Tiddles, a common name for cats in Britain.

The ancient Egyptians worshipped the cat-headed goddess Bastet, who symbolized fertility, motherliness, and feminine grace. They treated their feline companions with great affection and respect, making it a capital offense to kill one. When cats died, they were laid to rest with ceremony. Archaeologists have unearthed thousand of mummies, accompanied by mummified mice, presumably to keep the cats snacking on their way to the afterlife.

Light from light bulbs or the TV can make a cat shed fur. Light makes cats shed and that is why they tend to shed more in summer than in winter.

A cat’s peripheral vision is about 285 degrees.

A cat can’t see directly under her nose-that’s why they have trouble finding treats on the floor.

Cats come in 3 body types: Cobby – compact body, deep chest, long legs, broad head with large round eyes…Muscular – sturdy body; round, full-cheeked head…and Foreign – slender body, long legs, long tail, wedge-shaped head with tall ears and slanting eyes.

Feeding a cat dog food can cause blindness. Dog food lacks taurine, a nutrient essential for cat health. Taurine keeps their hearts healthy and their eyesight sharp.

Cats have three eyelids. The third eyelid is called the “haw” or nictating membrane. It’s the tiny triangle of pink tissue that you see in the corner of the eye. When your cat is ill, you may see a good amount of the haw and it’s time to see the vet.