Cats are known for their poker faces. They don't always reveal what they're thinking or feeling, a trait that may contribute to their reputation as animals of mystery and intrigue. So here 18 surprising facts about cats that even the most dedicated cat lovers might not know.
Cats can be allergic to humans.Many cats are allergic to grass, fleas, mites, or dust; but a few of our feline friends are actually allergic to us, too. Often, they are reacting to our perfume, soap, or laundry detergent instead of our skin or hair, though.
Cats love to be petted.Despite their reputation for aloofness, most cats actually relish physical affection. It's important to pet your cat the right way, however, usually with a single finger around the face or the base of the tail.
Cats were first domesticated in China. The history of house cats is worth a read, and there's some controversy about exactly which group of people first domesticated cats. But archaeology tells us that at least 5,000 years ago, a Chinese farmer saw a helpful, rodent-controlling kitty and invited him inside for the night. The rest is history.
Male cats sport barbed penises. The keratinized spines on the feline penis lie flat until the tom gets aroused, then they become rigid. In mating, the spines rake against the interior of the female's vagina, which may be why queen cats are known to scream during the big event.
Cats have more bones than humans do. The human skeleton contains just 206 bones while the cats' bone structure includes 244 of them. All these bones contribute to a cat's legendary nimbleness.
Female cats can get pregnant at as young as four months old. Cats experience sexual maturity very young, and unless spayed, they will go into heat every 2-3 weeks from spring through early fall. Pregnancy lasts about 63-65 days, meaning a cat can birth a litter of kittens when she's just six months old.