10 things you didn’t know about your cat

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Your feline friend is full of surprises – and here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about your cat.

1. Cats have a third eyelid

You may have noticed your cat’s inner eyelid, or nictitating membrane, from time to time. This translucent or whitish “third eyelid” is actually a protective flap that sweeps across the eye from the inside corner when your cat is tired or ill, or when something startles her.

2. Cats’ whiskers are super-sensitive

Whiskers aren’t just for show – they’re crucial for helping cats navigate their surroundings. Also called vibrissae, these stiff, long hairs are embedded deeply in your cat’s skin and are connected to nerve endings that send information to her brain about air movement, air pressure and vibrations. That’s why you should never trim or pluck a cat’s whiskers!

3. Cats sweat through their paws

When it’s hot and humid, you may notice your cat leaving little sweat marks on your counter or windowsills. That’s because cats sweat through the pads on their feet – and they have very few sweat glands elsewhere on their bodies.

4. Cats have a “language” of their own

You may not be able to understand what your cat is saying, but she’s definitely trying to communicate with you. Cats use a combination of vocalizations, body language and scent to “talk” to each other and to their humans.

5. Cats have a superb sense of balance

You’ve probably seen your cat gracefully leap from a high perch or land on her feet after a fall – and that’s thanks to her excellent sense of balance. Cats have a special inner ear structure that helps them keep their balance, and they also have flexible ankles that act like shock absorbers.

6. Cats are finicky eaters

If you think you have a picky eater in your family, take a look at your cat’s food bowl. Cats can be very particular about what they eat, and they may even turn up their noses at a food they once liked if it’s been changed or moved to a new location.

7. Cats love to be high up

Have you noticed your cat gravitating to the highest point in the room? That’s because cats feel more secure when they’re up high, where they can survey their surroundings and keep an eye out for potential threats.

8. Cats can be left- or right-pawed

Just like people, some cats are left-pawed and some are right-pawed. In fact, a recent study found that about 40% of cats prefer to use their left paws, while 30% prefer their right paws. The remaining 30% of cats are ambidextrous.

9. Cats have a strong sense of smell

Cats have approximately 200 million olfactory receptors in their noses, while humans have only about 5 million. That means cats can smell things that we can’t even imagine, and they use their sense of smell to communicate with each other and to find their way around.

10. Cats are masters of napping

Cats are experts at taking a catnap – in fact, they spend an average of 16 hours a day sleeping! Cats usually sleep in short bursts of 2-4 hours at a time, and they often doze in sunny spots or in high places where they can keep an eye on their surroundings.

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