You wake to find a pair of green eyes staring at you in the dark. As you go to make coffee something darts out from under the bed and tackles your feet before disappearing again. No, your house isn’t haunted, you have a cat as a companion. She will come around and show herself as you go about getting ready for the day. She is full of curiosity, but she will stop her antics to rub against your ankles after you offer her a morning meal. Cats have long been the companions of people, and they bring a special loving wonder to the world around them.
Fun Fact 1: Cats Really Do Talk to Us
She has a special urgent cry when hungry. To you this signal seems to mean “Hey, you with the opposable thumbs! Open a can for me, please?” It’s not your imagination. After the first few months with your adult cat you will notice you can tell from her ‘voice’ when she is hungry, frightened, or wants to cuddle or play. According to researchers your cat learns to communicate by recalling what vocalizations register with you, and will use these each time to get the same result.
A study in 2007 found that the domestic cat is actually a descent of African wildcats, and was possible domesticated as long ago as 8000 BC. During their long history with humanity, cats have adapted by using a form of communication that’s not usually seen in nature after an animal reaches maturity.
Fun Fact 2: Cats have Super Hearing
Cats can detect a broader range of frequencies than humans, dogs or many other mammals. This is probably the cat’s legacy as a descendant of hunters. The cats move their ears around to help amplify far away sounds, and to get a sense of the direction a sound is emitted from, not unlike an antenna.
Fun Fact 3: Cats can Dream
You might see your cat moving or twitching in sleep as if pouncing or jumping. This isn’t simply a muscle spasm or reaction as was once believed. Your cat is dreaming. There’s no way for researchers to know what your cat is dreaming about, but they do know that when your kitty reaches a deep enough sleep he or she will demonstrate the same type of brainwave activity humans show when in a dream state. What your cat might experience in a dream however, is a mystery, but we can guess it probably involves hunting.
Just as with a human being it’s not necessary to wake a kitty even if the dream seems to be unpleasant. There’s no evidence that cats recall what they dream, or that it affects their waking life. Violent movements in sleep that seem painful, and confusion or grogginess on waking should be checked out by a veterinarian, however as this can indicate a problem.
Fun Fact 4: Cat’s Only Understand Rewards
From your cat’s point of view she’s not wired to understand why or how to predict that some behaviors aren’t allowed. She will only see being squirted with water, or swatted at as aggressive behavior on your part. Experts in training animals recommend using rewards rather than punishment when attempting to get your cat to change her behavior.
Fun Fact 5: No One Can Explain the Purring
Scientists know your cat can purr. She might climb up into your lap while you are sitting, or follow you around making a vibrating sound that seems to come from her throat. The fact is however, researchers don’t know exactly where this sound is coming from, or why exactly cats purr. What is known is that a few of the larger cats such as the cougar purrs, but most of the greater cats do not. Despite the fact the purring seems to come from the throat those who have done this type of research now believe the vibration noise is actually produced through the cat’s cardiovascular system. You of course, have always known that your cat friend’s purr came from the heart.
While You’re Out
Of course, the biggest mystery about cats their human friends wonder about is what cats do when we’re gone. Cats will certainly let you know if the environment is boring by scratching on furniture, tearing up drapes, or digging up the carpeting. Along with putting down enough food and water for the day before going out it’s recommended to have toys scatter around that can keep your cat physically busy, and mentally alert.
Toys which add some action to your cat’s life such as the Cat’s Meow not only entertain your feline friend, but it helps her remain fit, and allows her to find her environment engaging even when you aren’t around.