Fun Cat Facts

The Cat’s Meow
Cats make about 100 different sounds. Dogs make about 10 (perhaps, further proof that cats rule and dogs drool). Other methods of communication used by cats include postures, movement (including “quick, fine” movements not generally perceived by human beings), noises and chemical signals. The natural communications made by cats have also been affected by their domestication.

Food for Thought
Foods that should not be given to cats include onions, garlic, green tomatoes, raw potatoes, chocolate, grapes, and raisins. Though milk is not toxic, it can cause an upset stomach and gas. Tylenol and aspirin are extremely toxic to cats, as are many common houseplants. Solely feeding cats dog food or canned tuna that’s for human consumption can cause malnutrition.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow!
The technical term for a cat’s hairball is a ‘trichobezoar’ (trick-oh-bee-zor). The root, trich, is Greek for “hair.” A bezoar is any mass found in the stomach or intestines. It comes from the Persian word for “antidote.” Animal hairballs were once thought to cure epilepsy, the plague, and poisoning. During the Middle Ages, hairballs were even set in gold! Swallowed hair from grooming normally passes through the digestive tract, but if your cat regurgitates hairballs frequently, it may be indicative of another issue.

What’s in a Name?
A group of cats is called a ‘clowder’. Two other valid terms include a ‘clutter’ and ‘glaring’ (the latter seeming exceptionally appropriate). A group of wild cats is referred to as a ‘dowt’ or a ‘destruction’ (wow, this just keeps getting better). An intact male cat is called a ‘tom’, while a neutered male cat is a ‘gib’. Intact female cats are referred to as either ‘queen’ or ‘molly.

Written by: Kenneth Gellately, VA