International Cat Day: Four facts you didn’t know about cats!

Happy International Cat Day – the day dedicated to celebrating our extraordinary feline friends! There is no denying that cats are endearing and playful companions with whom we share the most special of bonds. Today is a day to revel in the specialness of that human-cat bond and the distinct place these animals hold in our lives. 

To celebrate, we want to help you to gain a better understanding of cats! Here are 4 things you might not know.

Purrfect Communication

You’re already well aware that kittens and cats purr when they’re content, but did you know that a cat’s purr serves more than just one purpose?

Purring is a way for cats to communicate their emotional state.

Like how humans smile for a variety of reasons, including happiness, nervousness or because we’re trying to make another person feel more comfortable, cats use purring in the same manner. Cats purr when they’re happy, but they also use it to soothe themselves or other cats when they’re nervous, sick or in pain.

Purring releases endorphins in cats, and many use their purr for self-healing. According to Pam Johnson-Bennett, a cat behaviour expert and owner of a private veterinarian-referred behaviour practice Cat Behaviour Associate, “purrs vibrate at 25-150HZ, which is the frequency that assists in physical healing and bone mending. It may also be that purring during resting is a form of physical therapy to keep the cat’s bones strong since the frequency range of 25 to 150HZ increases bone density. So even as a cat is napping or resting, he might be keeping his bones strong and healthy.”

Problematic Panting 

Unlike their canine counter-parts, panting is rare for cats. While, in some cases, cat panting is normal and not a reason to be concerned, especially if your feline friend has been outside in overly  warm weather or just finished up an intense play session, panting can also signal a more serious condition.

Cats pant for a variety of reasons, including anxiety, fear or excitement, but if your cat’s panting is excessive or they appear to be in distress, it is important to investigate the underlying cause. Cat panting has been known to be an indicator of asthma, heartworm disease, neurological disorders or respiratory infections.

No matter the cause of your cat’s panting, it is always a good idea to consult your veterinarian about whether there is a need for further evaluation or treatment.

Picky Eaters

For years cat owners have set out food and water side-by-side for their feline companions. But, did you know that cats actually prefer to keep their food and water in different areas?

This is because cats are natural hunters. Historically, the action of catching prey can often times be messy. While our indoor cats are not typically out catching prey, the instinct of the hunter is still strong. Cats prefer to keep contaminants like blood, flesh, or dirt away from their drinking water.

If your cat doesn’t seem to be drinking from a water dish that’s near his food, try separating them. Keep food in their “core areas”, places where they often sleep or play, and water in another, easily accessible location.

And, speaking of water…

Everything but the Bowl

Have you ever noticed that your cat might actually prefer to take a long cool drink from the leaky tap, or even favours drinking out of the toilet bowl instead of their personalized, spotlessly clean bowl you’ve set out for them?

This is due to two reasons, the first being that, like their desert dwelling ancestors, cats lack a strong thirst drive. In the wild, big typically get their water from their diet of small prey animals, due to the lack of water found in their natural habitats.

The second being, in the wild, cats are highly sensitive to predators. If a cat’s water bowl is placed in an area they may feel vulnerable in, like placed in a corner with little visibility to their surroundings, cats may be averted to a different drinking source, thinking household predators might sneak up behind them.

Feeding your cat food that has high moisture content is essential to their wellbeing. And, to keep your cat healthy and hydrated, offer water in a safe and accessible area, away from their food.

We hope that these four facts about cats have brought you a better understanding of your feline friend! Happy International Cat Day!