How well do you think you know cats? We dare say we know a lot about them here at PawNation, but we’re still surprised every day with something new we learn about these always mysterious animals. Read on to learn 10 things about cats you probably didn’t know before.

Cats Can Predict Earthquakes

Japanese scientist with a cat
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Science has yet to prove how it’s possible, but there’s more than a little bit of anecdotal evidence to demonstrate that cats have the ability to sense earthquakes long before humans can, even with all our fancy technology. Some experts believe that the ability comes from cats’ sensitivity to the Earth’s magnetic field. Others think that heightened senses allow them to detect tiny foreshocks that the human body can’t feel. (Source)

Not All Cats React To Catnip

cat smelling catnip
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Most of us know the way cats go bananas for catnip, rolling around in bliss, purring like crazy and even drooling all over the place. And the herb affects more than just house cats. Big cats like tigers and leopards can react to catnip the same way. But many are surprised to learn that not every individual cat is affected by catnip. Only about half to two-thirds of all cats demonstrate a reaction to the stuff. Susceptibility to catnip is hereditary. (Source)

Cat Brains Are More Complex Than Dog Brains

cute cat and dog
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Which pet is smarter: cats or dogs? It’s the argument that may never die. What we can measure objectively is that cats have more complex brains than dogs do, with more surface folding, and a complicated structure that has more in common with the human brain than a dog’s brain has. A cat brain also has 300 million neurons, almost twice as much as a dog’s 160 million neurons. A dog’s brain is larger relative to its body size, but brain size doesn’t correlate to intelligence — consider that neanderthals’ brains were larger than ours. (Source)

Global Warming Could Lead To More Cats

four cats looking suspicious
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Climate change may spell disaster and extinction for life all over the planet, but domestic cats may not fall in this category. As animal shelters swell with more and more cats and kittens all the time, some say global warming is to blame. The national adoption organization called Pets Across America says that warmer temperatures have led to longer breeding seasons for cats. That means more kittens, and therefore large spikes in reported numbers of stray and feral cats. Spay and neuter your pets, folks. (Source)

Cats Can Survive On Seawater

cat on the rock near the seawater
Associated Press

You know that if you’re ever lost at sea, drinking ocean water is just about the worst thing you can do (unless you’re looking for a quick death). If you thought the rule applied to all mammals, think again. Cats can totally live on seawater. The reason is that their kidneys are more efficient than ours. It’s not that their bodies can use the salt and ours can’t; it’s that they are able to expel it all while still using the water to hydrate.

200 of Disneyland’s Employees Are Cats

Disney Land
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With the mobs of people that Disneyland attracts every day, there’s bound to be a lot of garbage that invariably is going to attract rats. And we’re not talking about the cute kind, like Remy from “Ratatouille,” but the really nasty ones, like Ratigan from “The Great Mouse Detective.” That’s why, rather than try to fend off the feral cats that also came for the feeding frenzy, Disneyland employed them. Now, 200 cats live in the park, unseen by the public. At night, they’re set free to keep vermin in check.

Cats May Have Learned Hissing From Snakes

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Cats are easily annoyed, so it’s really considerate of them to give lots of escalating signals when someone or something is getting on their last nerve. Once a cat starts hissing, you know you’ve pushed the situation into red alert. One more offensive move, and you’ll be toast. Some experts believe that cats actually learned to hiss from another animal you’d want to tangle with even less than an angry feline. Of course we’re talking about snakes. The hissing of snakes may be nature’s most effective warning, so why wouldn’t cats steal it? They’re so smart. (Source)

All Cats Are Born With Blue Eyes

little kitty with blue eyes
Flickr RF

If you go to the animal shelter to adopt a cat and find an adorable kitten with beautiful blue eyes, don’t get your hopes up that those baby blues will stay that way. Every cat is born with blue eyes. That’s because the eyes don’t begin to express melanin until after the kitten opens them. Once their eyes are open, it takes a couple months before the peepers change to their true shade, usually some combination of yellows, greens and browns. (Source)

Most Female Cats Are Right-Pawed and Most Males Are Left-Pawed

cat raising paw
Shutterstock

Cats are certainly far more agile than us clumsy humans, but they’re not ambidextrous. It turns out that cats tend to have either a dominant right paw or a dominant left paw, just like us. The difference, oddly, is that cat “handedness” is typically dictated by gender. Female cat are usually right-pawed and male cats are usually left-pawed. There may be a correlation in humans. Although most of us are right-handed, men are statistically much more likely to be left-handed. Scientists have theorize that left-handedness may have to do with exposure to testosterone in utero. (Source)

Mussolini Hated Cats. Hitler Did Too (Maybe).

hitler
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In 1936, American journalist John Gunter noted, “The things that Mussolini hates most are Hitler, aristocrats, money, cats and old age.” On Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s list of crimes, his hatred of cats is hardly the worst, but it certainly doesn’t help the man’s brutal reputation. And speaking of Hitler, it’s often said that the man hated cats just as much as he loved dogs, i.e., a lot. However, there’s no actual evidence to support the concept of Hitler as cat hater. It’s probably something that cat lovers came up with. It’s as good as reason as any to love cats. Not that we needed one. (Source)

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