There are various reasons why do people like cats. Here’s a look at why exactly cats do some of the adorably weird things they do. No one’s sure when cats first moved into our homes and hearts, but the most commonly repeated piece of trivia is that it happened in ancient Egypt around 4,000 years ago. They were considered sacred, treated like royalty, and valued as an important part of the family. There’s other evidence that suggests cats arrived well before then, with remains of a human and cat who were buried together dating back 9,500 years. No one’s exactly sure when these mysterious creatures showed up and volunteered their services, but we’re definitely not complaining. While we consider our feline friends to be domesticated animals, that’s not exactly the case.
When scientists took an up-close-and-personal look at cats’ DNA, they discovered that cats are still pretty wild, at least on a genetic level. Unlike dogs, who have mostly grown out of any wolf-like behavior, cats have kept their wild instincts, as well as their insistence to be treated like royalty. Some things never change. If you’ve ever wondered if your cat has a preferred paw, you’re not alone. Psychologists at Queen’s University Belfast were also interested to see which paw the majority of cats used the most. Researchers gave 42 different cats separate jars containing a bit of tuna, which the cats had to fish out in order to eat. Whichever paw the cat used to get their snack revealed to researchers whether the animal was right-pawed or left-pawed. Out of the 21 male and 21 female felines participating in the experiment, 20 of the males were deemed left-pawed, with one ambidextrous over-achiever.
Interestingly enough, 20 of the females proved to be right-pawed, and in true cat spirit, one female cat refused to conform to any human societal expectations.
Cats are notoriously picky eaters. Just when you think you’ve got them figured out, they’ll almost definitely prove you wrong. That’s not just out of spite, however. Our feline friends are actually picky because of the weird way their taste buds work. “She’s not allowed in the United States because she only eats bald eagles. ” Cats have always been carnivores, and feral cats still rely on a heavily meat-based diet for survival. Their taste buds convey a huge amount of information, including when something’s gone bad or been poisoned, and they also have two different receptors in their tongues that can taste bitterness. How cats interpret other kinds of flavors is still unclear, but one thing’s for sure, if they don’t like their dinner, they’ll absolutely let you know.
It’s estimated that about 1 to 5 percent of cats suffer from a feline version of asthma, which is a lot like the asthma found in humans, complete with breathing issues and coughing. While a multitude of factors are often at play when a human develops asthma, the biggest cause for asthma in cats is, well, us. Human dandruff is cited as a major cause off line asthma, along with other irritants that humans bring into their homes, like cigarette smoke. Some cats have such a powerful allergic reaction to humans and their disgusting habits that they have to fight to breathe and could suffer collapsed lungs or even broken ribs. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatories have been shown to help, and asthmatic cats can usually have their conditions managed, even though vets consider it incurable.
The moral of the story? If you want to be a cat parent, you should kick your bad habits first. It’s an argument for the ages: who’s smarter, cats or dogs? As it turns out, on a biological level, cats might have a slight edge on dogs. Just don’t tell them that, they’ll never let the dogs live it down. With the wonders of modern science, researchers have been able to measure the number of neurons present in the parts of cats’ and dogs’ brains responsible for things like problem-solving and information processing. A cat has a staggering 300 million neurons in the information-processing part of its brain, while a dog only has 160 million. Sorry, pups. While this means that cats are likely going to be mentally quicker than dogs in many respects, where do they fall in comparison to humans?
Lots of wrinkles on the brain means a larger surface area, which subsequently means more processing power. Cats’ brains happen to be wrinkled like human brains; in fact, they have a 90% similarity. They also have large and complex cerebral structures, which govern decision-making, memory, advance planning, and reasoning skills. Their human-like brains means there’s a lot going on in those tiny heads, and if cats ever found the time and motivation to care, they could outsmart circles around any dog. So the next time you suspect Kitty is plotting to install himself as the world’s next great super villain, well, you might be right. If you’ve ever known an outdoor cat, you know they have a tendency to disappear for a good, long while whenever they feel like it, leaving you to wonder where in the world they’ve been all day, or week.
To get to the bottom of this mystery, The University of Illinois headed up a two-year research study that fit 42 cats with radio trackers to monitor their every move. 23 of the cats, which were a mix of feral cats and free-roaming, domesticated cats, were fitted with trackers that included vibration sensors. These sensors gave a glimpse not just into where the cats were at any given moment, but what they were doing. The cat with the biggest patch of kingdom was a male feral who wasn’t named in the study, so we’ll just call him Stewie. Stewie’s “home territory” covered a whopping1,351 acres that included everything from city streets and a college campus to fields.