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

    • Harriet

      well I have a cat at home and she always purrs

    • Jessie

      I find it wrong that cat’s don’t grasp punishment. I’ve only found that true if we try to punish our cat for something she didn’t just do.

      It she knocks over the garbage can and I immediately come and give her a stern talking to and a small tap she seems to grasp that she is in trouble for knocking it over. But if I came in 4 hours after it was knocked over she just seems confused as to why I am mad (I guess to her it happened 4 hours ago so it is not irrelevant). She even shows guilt when she does something she was previously punished for!

      One fact I wished they included: Cat’s cannot taste sugar. I am always fine with letting her like a sugary treat she is trying to steal just so she sees that she doesn’t care for it.

    • Stoshy

      My cat called Batman won’t stop running around, exploring, and jumping to-and-from high places. I often confuse him with the shadows. It can be quite vexing when it’s dark and you encounter his scary, bright eyes. I try to avoid not stumbling on him. He’s a good cat, though, and is full of youth.

    • nafees


    • Deb

      If a cat can’t eat chocolate, then why would you post a picture of a cat eating chocolate. That just doesn’t seem right.

    • Rude Lobstr

      actually cats can understand punishment and discipline………if you follow their parents lead. I have always used the momma cats ways of discipline…which includes hissing and light bops on the nose or forehead. light bops, understand. I have owned cats for over forty years now, so have gone through a few cats/kittens. I rescue cats and have gotten over a hundred adopted out to good homes.
      One thing kittens understand is something their momma teaches them…and that is discipline. When your kitty pees on the floor, instead of the litter pan, hiss at them and move them to the litter pan. Keep this behavior up and you will quickly see them try to accomodate and avoid that negative hiss. Kittens and cats understand hissing…it connotes negative attitude and displeasure, which encourages them to avoid the action that got them the hiss. The very lightest bop on the nose or forehead during the hissing, tells them that their actions were not liked and not encouraged. One finger alone can accomplish this light bop, like tapping someone on the forehead or nose. Actual hitting will cause an opposite reaction and the cats negative reactions will cause them to turn on you and become more uncooperative. Remember….momma cats do discipline their babies, but in a way that teaches them socially acceptable kitty behavior and it iis up to the human parent to continue this teaching and the cats/kittens do not mind this kind of discipline and actually respond positively to it. I have five cats and all I have to do when I see them engaging in unacceptable behavior is to hiss once at them and they jump back or out of what they were doing. No hard feelings and no stress. :)

    • arianna04

      cats are adorable
      and fluffy :)

    • Anita

      so cute!

    • Valdasz Kvarte

      And we were suppose to not know about all that already? Pssh..

    • Max Amos

      That was only 7 things I didn’t know about cats. I’ve been lied to.