13+ Things You Didn’t Know About Cats

Find out why your cat acts the way he does. And if your pooch is still a mystery to you, get the dog facts you didn't know.

Adapted from Essential Cat (Reader's Digest Association Books)
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    They can sense earthquakes!

    Well, possibly. The pads of a cat's feet are very sensitive, and some cats behave strangely just before an earthquake hits. Though it's not a proven theory, some believe cats can detect vibrations of the earth through their foot pads.

    They can swallow and digest their food without chewing it.

    That's good news for famed internet cat Lil Bub, who was born without teeth.

    They really are manipulative.

    Cats can adapt their vocalizations to control your behavior. If they want food, they can make their cries sound more urgent.

    They can dream!

    Cats prefer to nap, but if they're relaxed enough to enter a deeper sleep, they produce the same brain wave patterns that we do when we dream.

    They can't understand punishment as humans do.

    They must be praised and rewarded for desired behavior instead.

    We shake hands, they bump noses—sometimes.

    Nose-to-nose greetings between cats are unusual, as it puts both in a vulnerable position. However, cats who know each other well feel safe enough to do this. It helps them confirm visual recognition and gain information about how the other cat is.

    More weird cat behaviors explained »

    Scientists still don't know exactly where purring comes from.

    Some believe that it originates in the cardiovascular system rather than the throat.

    When they purr, they're content—usually.

    However, a deep purr can also indicate pain. If you know your cat well you will be able to tell the difference in his demeanor.

    They can purr continually as they inhale and exhale.

    They start doing so at one-week old.

    Young cats purr in a monotone.

    Older ones do so in two to three resonant notes.

    They appear to retain their kitten vocal signals to communicate with their owners.

    But they use a different repertoire of sounds with other cats.

    Like dogs, they can also get sick or die from eating chocolate.

    Check with your vet if you have any questions about what your cat should be eating.

    Plus, more hidden dangers for pets at home »

    They blink and narrow their eyes when they accidentally make eye contact.

    To make friends with an unfamiliar cat, blink and look away when you catch his eyes.

    Giving them a strip of raw meat everyday to chew on will keep their gums and teeth in good condition.

    Suitable meats include poultry, rabbit, or beef that has been deboned.

    They tolerate heat very well.

    This is because the ancestors of cats were originally desert-living animals.

    Their pulse is between 160-240 beats per minute, depending on their age.

    The younger he is, the faster the heartbeat.

    Photo by mtrichardson via Flickr

    Cats sweat!

    But they do so through their paws. If you see wet little footprints in the summer months, make sure to put out some fresh water.


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    Your Comments

    • christina

      hey what does it mean when my cat nibbles on my clothes?

    • christina peyret

      hey I have a question. what does it mean when my cat nibbles or bites on my clothes? any one know what that means?

    • Jake Conway

      i cant get to slide 2….

    • Rain

      My cats eat grass. Why ?

    • nie

      mmm raw meat …..toxoplasma….. nhãm nhãm

    • Ghengis Khan

      My mom lived out in the country and was a bit of the crazy cat lady. Some lived indoors but most stayed outdoors. Coyotes started showing up and killing them so we brought all she and my brother who stayed with her could catch inside. There was one that was extremely wild but absolutely beautiful. He was black with brown tips so he wasn’t real shiny but it really softened his appearance. He always reminded me of chocolate fudge. He hated being inside and let us know it constantly. I’m not sure how he was captured or ever returned the couple of times he got out. He was such a baddazz that we named him Spike.
      He wouldn’t come near, never purred and although he calmed down a lot he was very distant for years. He might let you pet him but generally not. It wouldn’t last long in any event. My mom died two years ago. I was out at the house the first Christmas after she died. I was sitting on the couch and Spike jumped into my lap and started purring like crazy. He let me pet him and hold him and all the time he was purring. It was the best Christmas present I ever received.

    • Rickie Arnold

      Cats understand punishment exactly like small children do. I’ve had 6 cats all different breeds different genders and all different ages and trust me they understand punishment. My cats weren’t allowed in the windows for 6 months because my landlord didn’t allow pets (and I wasn’t about to give up my cat babies or be homeless). They would be hit lightly on the nose when they got up in the window and after about three transgressions they knew they were not allowed up there. However when I would come home after being out I would sometimes catch them in the window as I walked in. When they heard the door opening they would immediately jump out of the window and try to hide and if I caught them they would fold their ears back because they knew they were about to be in trouble. I would also catch them doing this as I went to sleep or woke up and who knows what they were doing in the middle of the night. They knew exactly what they weren’t allowed to do and exactly how to get away with it, just like a child.

      • Nostalgic_Chaos


    • Guy Male

      Are they such thing as a indoor cat. i mean they kill birds so how can a cat like to be indoor 24/7.

      • Deborah Hale

        Once upon a time I had an indoor/outdoor cat named Noisy. (He was very loving and affectionate and, yes, quite loud if ignored.) One morning I let him in after he’d been out all night and he went straight to a chair, crawled under it, and stayed there for two days. He wouldn’t eat or drink, no matter how much I tried to tempt him, and he started running a fever. I begged my husband to let me take him to the vet, he finally agreed. Turned out that my beloved Noisy had been shot by one of my neighbors. He had to have that leg amputated immediately because his wound had gotten infected. From then on I had to keep him inside as he was less able to defend himself and CERTAINLY couldn’t have defended himself against a bullet, anyway! I still lost him 5 years later because he had contracted FIV and his kidneys shut down. He would have lived MUCH longer had he been an indoor kitty from Day 1, but I didn’t know any better. From then on every cat I’ve ever owned has been STRICTLY an indoor cat, the two I have now don’t even try to go outside, they can see the birds through the windows but have never tried to get to them.

        It breaks my heart every time I see a cat dead by the side of the road, if they’d stayed indoors where they belonged their owners would still have them. I know this is long but this is a subject that is VERY important to me.

    • Ryan Robert Valencia Ventolero

      My cat sits on my lap and if she sits i will gonna touch her ears and she will gonna purr and felt asleep