We all know that cats have nine lives and always land on their feet, but our feline friends are even more amazing than you might realise. If you've ever wondered where their impressive reputation comes from, here are some facts about cats that might be news to you.
Who needs teeth?
While most cats will happily tuck into a tasty tuna steak or chow down on some fresh meat, they can do just as well without those pearly whites. Your average moggie can swallow and digest their food without even chewing. Unless your cat is toothless, however, a strip of raw meat each day will help to keep their teeth and gums in good condition... just mind the bones.
They really can control you
Unlike their canine counterparts, cats have the ability to control our behaviour rather than the other way around. According to a study conducted at the University of Sussex, felines adapt their purrs and meows, forcing their owners to hang on their every word. Just as an example, they have been known to make their cries more desperate and urgent so that their worried owners supply them with a lovely dinner. Sneaky.
Punishment gets you nowhere
It's largely true of all animals, but most owners will be unsurprised to hear that admonishment or punishment cuts little mustard with their pet. Praise and reward for desirable behaviour are the way forward for these clever cats.
Humans shake hands, cats bump noses. A nose-to-nose greeting between cats is rare, since it is only those that know each other well that will indulge in this vulnerable hello. While foes may be greeted by a growl and a tail flick, loved ones bump noses to confirm visual recognition and get an idea of how their friend is feeling.
Purring isn't always contentedness
Usually associated with feelings of contentment and calm, a particularly deep purr is also a sign that your moggy is in pain. Most cat owners will be more than capable of telling the difference, as there may be a difference in their pet's behaviour, but it's a fact worth knowing nonetheless.
On the subject of purring...
Cats can purr continually, whether they're exhaling or inhaling, and it's a sound they can make even at the tender age of one week old. While tiny kittens know exactly how to use their wonderful gift from an early age, scientists still disagree on exactly where this amazing sound comes from.
More on the subject of purring
Just as they learn to adapt their cries to elicit a response from their owners, a feline's purr changes as it grows older. While youngsters opt for a kind of teenage monotone purr, older and wiser cats can perform a more lyrical two or three-note sound.
I'm with stupid
Okay, so we don't speak their language, but cats have apparently realised that their owners will never really understand the nuances of true feline language. Research has shown that pet cats stick with their kitten vocal signals when at home with their humans, but use an entirely different repertoire of growls, meows and purrs for members of their own species.
They suffer from sweaty feet
The only way that your pussycat can deal with the heat is to sweat... through its paws. While they tolerate heat very well, when the weather gets steamy watch for wet little footprints - your moggy might need a little extra help in the form of fresh water.
Amongst humans, narrowing of the eyes is reminiscent of those famous spaghetti western stand-offs, but for a cat, it's a polite hello. So if you're faced with an unfamiliar cat, blink, look away and keep your eyes narrowed if you hope to make a new feline friend.
Are you a cat owner? Do any of the above sound familiar to you? Leave your comments below.