Still More Facts About Cats

* The oldest known cat was Creme Puff, who lived to be 38 years old.

* Here’s another reason to spay/neuter: it increases life expectancy! Neutered male cats live twice as long, and spayed females live 62% longer than their intact peers.

* Studies show that ethologically, pet owners may serve as a sort of surrogate for a cat’s mother – yes, you literally are a cat mom/dad!

* The first cat video on YouTube was uploaded in 2005 but cats have starred in films as early as the 1800s! A 1901 film, The Sick Kitten, features two children pretending to be doctors who are nursing a kitten back to health (the kitten wasn’t actually sick and they were just giving it milk).

* Unlike horses, cows, dogs and other domestic animals, cats were never domesticated. They chose to live with us. Imagine! If they had it to do over again, think they’d make the same decision?

More Facts About Cats:

Domesticated cats use vocalizations like meowing, purring and hissing – but feral cats are practically silent.

* Cats can pass their body through any space which they can fit their heads through.

* With extra thick enamel, less damaging saliva, less food retention between teeth and a mostly sugar-free diet, cats have better chompers than humans (this doesn’t mean they can’t have dental problems, so pay attention to your furry friend’s teeth!)

* Thanks to their powerful livers, cats can survive by drinking seawater if they have to.

* Cats’ life spans are on the rise – in the early 1980s cats were only expected to live seven years; now they are expected to live 12 – 15!

5 fascinating facts about cats.

I’ve been learning about cats. I’ve had a cat for eleven years now so you’d think I’d know a bit by now. I did end up making one a major character in my novel, A Very Black Cat. But these strange critters never cease to surprise me. Anyway, I ran across a few cat facts and here are five of them:

  • There are over 70 breeds of cats. That seems like a lot of different kinds of cats. And each cat within each breed is an individual with its own personality and its own quirks, which means there are a lot of interesting animals out there. Meet my cat and you’ll see what I mean. 
  • It is estimated that there are 200 – 600 million cats alive on Earth. That’s a lot of cats but cats live everywhere on Earth from the coldest mountains to tropical paradises so I can understand the huge numbers. After all, they are truly adaptable critters.
  • Cats are the second most popular pet in the U.S., second only to freshwater fish. Hey, what happened to dogs? Okay, maybe there are more cats than dogs because often pet owners have only one dog but it’s pretty common to have more than one cat. That’s my guess, anyway.
  • There may have been instances of domesticated cats as early as 7,500 BC – that’s 9,500 years ago! No surprise there, but I wonder whether people domesticated cats way back then or whether it was the cats that domesticated us. I mean, look at us today. We take care of them, love them, give them toys, and what do they do in return? Look cute and that’ s enough and I suspect they were smart enough to figure that out all those years ago.
  • The heaviest known cat weighed nearly 50 pounds. And I thought my cat was big. Wow. That’s all I can say about a 50 pound cat. ‘Wow.’

More about black cats. Yep, there’s more.

Black cats are as easily adopted as cats of other colors.

Although euthanasia numbers for black cats have been some of the highest of all cats, their total number of adoptions was the highest of any hue as well. There may just simply be more black cats than other colors.

Furthermore, the Black Panther movie has made black cats so wildly popular lately that animal shelters are often not able to provide all the black cats people want.

So does it surprise you that I chose a black cat as one of the main characters of my latest small-town romance, A Very Black Cat?

Of course it doesn’t and if you read the book, you’ll see why he’s so perfect for the role he plays in the story.

Another black cat factoid. This one about panthers. Black panthers!

 

Let’s get the hard stuff over with up front. And that hard thing is:  there is no  such thing as a black panther.

What? No black panther? What about the superhero? Well, he’s different, of course. He’s real. But actual four-pawed black panthers that kind of resemble tigers? Nope. Not real.

It’s a term used for any big black cat. What we call black panthers are in fact jaguars or leopards and yes, they have spots, too. They are hard to see beneath all that black but look carefully and you can see spots as the sunlight hits them in just the right way.

Black Cat Cafe. Really? Yep, really!

And you can visit it.

In Nekobiyaka, in Himeji, Japan black cats are stars of one café and visitors are invited to pet (but not pick up) these lithe felines. Each of Nekobiyaka’s identical-looking black cats wears a different colored bandana to resolve any catastrophic mix-ups.

But, of course, in Japan, in a way, black cats are considered good luck, at least for spinsters because they are supposed to bring suitors.

Coffee and a visit with a black cat, anyone?

Another interesting factoid about black cats. (They are healthy.)

THE GENE THAT CAUSES BLACK FUR MIGHT MAKE THESE FELINES RESISTANT TO DISEASE.
The mutation that causes a cat’s fur to be black is in the same genetic family as genes known to give humans resistance to diseases like HIV. So perhaps their color has less to do with camouflage than disease resistance. Scientists hope that as more cat genomes are mapped, we may get a step closer to curing HIV.

Hummmmm. Any black cat owner could tell those scientists that black cats are — well — special.

A black cat can rust. Really? Yes, really!

More about black cats:

A black cat’s color is genetic. There are three variants of the black fur gene (solid black, cinnamon and brown. If a cat has a solid black hue that overwhelms other gene colors or stripes, heavy exposure to the sun can make the pigment in its fur break down to reveal those once-invisible stripes (another potential cause: nutritional deficiency).

What was once a black cat is now a rusty brown cat.

I think I’ll keep my cat out of the sun because I like his coat the way it is. And I hope Becky knows that about her black cat, Little Guy, because I’d hate to see his beautiful coat turn brown. On the other hand, he lives in the forest so that’s not likely to happen unless he decides to visit town a lot. Which is something he does, much to Becky’s chagrin.

Get A Very Black Cat from Amazon.

Why sailors like cats. (And why I like them, too.)

Cats are sailors’ best friends. Have been for hundreds of years.

Not only were cats welcome aboard British vessels to hunt mice, but sailors generally thought  a black cat in particular would bring good luck and ensure a safe return home.

A few of these kitties have been enshrined in maritime history. Tiddles traveled more than 30,000 miles during his time with the Royal Navy. His favorite pastime was playing with the capstan’s bell-rope.

I’m not surprised at these facts. My partially black cat, Smoky, who has some white and is called a ‘tuxedo’ cat because the white makes  him resemble a cat wearing a tuxedo, is a fairly normal cat. (Except that he’s a total coward, but that’s another story.)

He’s a welcome addition to the family. He’s my first cat ever and he’s taught me a lot about cats in general. Like the fact that they know exactly what they want and also know that they deserve whatever that is. That they like laps. And windows. And naps. And sometimes other cats and dogs and household pets in general. And that they don’t age like dogs. They don’t go gray and the only sign of old age — Smoky is 11 years old — is that they don’t jump quite so high as they used to.

Just like Little Guy, the cat hero of my latest clean small-town romance, who not only knows what he wants, he goes after it in the most polite but dogged manner possible. Of course he does. He’s a cat.

Check it out. A Very Black Cat is available now on Amazon.  http://www.Amazon.com/dp/B07BTGN58M

Black cat facts I bet you didn’t know.

 

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IN SOME CULTURES, BLACK CATS ARE GOOD LUCK. In Japan, if you are a single lady, owning a black cat is said to increase your number of suitors. If one crosses your path from left to right in Germany, good things will happen.

So maybe having a black cat as a major character in my clean, small-town romance, A Very Black Cat, will bring me good luck? Yep, it will, I’m sure of it. Felines are great fun and my black cat, Smoky, keeps me company while I write.