Discover All The Fascinating Facts
1. Whiskers send warnings
Curious cats can fit themselves into some unexpected spaces—and find themselves facing some unusual circumstances. But whiskers work to help the naturally curious stay safe: They’re the same width as a cat’s body, so if the whiskers are brushing against the sides or entry of a space, it helps a cat determine that the space is too small for them to fit into. Whiskers also help cats move easily in darkness without bumping into things—these super-sensitive hairs detect changes in air currents and signal that an object is in the way.
2. The mystery of the purr
Why do cats do it? Nobody knows for sure! Scientists say the muscles in the diaphragm and larynx cause this intermittent sound we call a purr, but they don’t know why cats make it. Some people believe it’s a sign of contentment, while others believe purring is a sign of stress. Only the cat knows for sure.
3. A tail can talk
Your cat's tail acts as a rudder, helping to maintain balance in tight or narrow spaces—but it can also be used to communicate, too. Take note of your cat's tail to understand how he might be feeling. A relaxed tail could mean he's open to your affections, but a quick lashing motion could mean he wants some alone time.
4. A barbed tongue
When your cat gives you a lick, you feel the sandpaper-y underside of the tongue. What you’re actually feeling are multitasking, microscopic barbs that cats use to groom their coats, regulate their body temperature, fluff their fur and stay cool in the heat. The barbs also work to collect dead skin, loose fur, fleas and dirt, which are then swallowed and normally dissolved by stomach acid.
5. Eyes that glow
Involuntary muscles in cats' eyes cause their pupils to close to a slit in bright light. But when light hits cats' eyes in darkness, it becomes reflected at the back of the retina by a mirror-like membrane called tapetum lucidum. This membrane helps cats see in the dark. And it’s the source of the “glow” their eyes have in darkness—and some photos.