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Jan 09 2019

Answers to the Top 10 Questions About Cats

calico kitten laying on a couch

Have you ever wondered why cats purr, why they knead, or why they like boxes so much? If so, you’re not alone! According to Google, these are the top 10 most searched questions about cats:

1. Why do cats purr?

Purring is usually associated with some kind of enjoyable activity, such as nursing, being pet, grooming a fellow cat, or just being in a comfortable environment, but cats also purr when they’re sick, injured, or stressed. This could serve to soothe them, but researchers have found that purring actually helps them heal because of the low frequency of the vibrations. Some behaviorists believe that purring serves as a method of communication too, such as from a kitten to its mother or when they’re hungry (which is often combined with a meow).

2. How long do cats live?

Generally, outdoor cats live for 2 – 5 years while indoor cats live an average of 15 years. This is due to the fact that outdoor cats are exposed to many more dangers than indoor cats, including getting hit by vehicles, encounters with other wild animals, ingesting a poison, the availability of food, various diseases and parasites, and the elements. Other factors that tend to affect their lifespan are preventative care, nutrition, and lifestyle. For example, being overweight or obese can shorten their lifespan by over 2 years!

3. Why do cats knead?

Kittens knead on their mothers while they nurse to stimulate milk production, and they often continue doing it as adults when they feel content or want attention. Others believe it could also be linked to preparing their bed for rest or to mark their territory with the scent glands in their paws.

4. Why do cats sleep so much?

Cats sleep up to 16 hours per day in short increments that alternate between dozing and deep sleep. Some cats, especially seniors, can sleep up to 20 hours per day! One reason they sleep so much is because they are predators that use a lot of energy in small bursts when they hunt. They’re also crepuscular, which means they are most active at dawn and dusk so you’re more likely to see them sleeping throughout the day.

5. Why do cats have whiskers?

Whiskers, also called vibrissae, are very sensitive tactile hairs that connect to a cat’s muscular system and nervous system and provide them with a lot of information about their environment, particularly about their position in space (like whether they can fit through a tight space), distance, or air currents, but they are especially useful in low light or darkness. They can also be used to communicate. For example, when they feel scared or threatened, they will pull them against their face, and when they feel excited, they tend to point them forward. Note – Never trim or pluck a cat’s whiskers!

6. What does catnip do to cats?

Catnip is an herb in the mint family, and whether or not a cat responds to it actually depends on their genetics. Surprisingly, only about 50% of cats have this gene. Researchers believe that the smell of catnip triggers receptors in a cat’s brain that make them feel happy. Eating it, on the other hand, tends to make them calm. (Note – While cats are unlikely to overdose on catnip, it can make them sick if they eat too much.) If your cat likes catnip, you may find it helpful when teaching them to use a scratching post or encouraging them to play more.

7. Why do cats hate water?

Many cats dislike water for a couple of reasons. First, most cats have very limited experiences with water, and they’re often negative (i.e. a bath). In fact, since they evolved in desert climates, they’ve never been very familiar with water. Their fur also isn’t designed to repel water so it becomes uncomfortable if it gets too wet. Not all cats hate water, though. There are certain breeds of cats that love water, such as Abyssinians, Turkish Vans, Bengals, and Maine Coons.

8. Why do cats eat grass?

Most veterinarians think cats like to eat grass to relieve gastrointestinal issues or to get rid of parasites since grass has a lot of fiber. It also provides nutrients (i.e. folic acid). Other cats, however, may just like the taste of it. Just make sure your cat isn’t eating any toxic plants or grass that was treated with chemicals, and if you notice they’re eating large amounts of grass, talk to your vet because there could be an underlying problem.

9. Why do cats like boxes?

Cats like boxes because it makes them feel safe. In the wild, places like this protect them from being seen by a predator or having one sneak up on them. It can also be useful when stalking prey. Because cats associate small spaces like this with safety, boxes are helpful in times of stress. They also provide a warm, cozy place for them to sleep. A great way to provide your cat with a box and help them overcome their fear of the carrier is to leave the carrier somewhere in your home where your cat likes to spend their time, open the door or take it off, and place bedding inside of it for them.

10. What is a group of cats called?

A group of cats is called a clowder, and a group of kittens is called a kindle.

Cat Care Professionals | Uncategorized

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