Hi Everyone! I run and own a small animal practice at Victoria Park Animal Hospital, where I see all cats and dogs. I estimate that about 60% of my patient visits are dogs. Then I realized that about 80% of my veterinary blog posts pertain to dogs. Why the cat ignorance? I am not sure I have the best answer. I love cats and I certainly do not have a preference for dogs over cats. But for some reason, just like most of the pet articles you read, I have focused my blogs on dogs and dog illnesses. So today I want to dedicate my blog to our adorable, independent, playful, and funny feline species. I absolutely love my cat and dog patients equally, and I want to stress that cats need their regular trips to the veterinarian for wellness exams just as much, if not more, than dogs.
Cats are an interesting species and definitely have some major differences than dogs. Here are some fun facts about cats that you may not have known:
- Cats are the most popular pet in the United States. There are 88 million pet cats and 74 million dogs, yet cats go to the veterinarian far less often than dogs.
- By nature, cats are nocturnal (they sleep during the day and are up at night). Cats actually sleep 70% of their lives. Human domestication of cats has taught them to sleep more at night.
- Cats have an extra organ that, with some breathing control, allows the cats to taste-sense the air.
- A cat’s purr may not always indicate happiness and relaxation. It can be a sign of nervousness as well.
- Cats are often lactose intolerant, so contrary to common belief, cats do not tolerate milk!
- Dogs make around 10 sounds, whereas cats make more than 100.
- A cat’s brain is 90% similar to a human brain — more similar than to a dog brain.
- A cat’s cerebral cortex (the part of the brain in charge of cognitive information processing) has 300 million neurons, compared with a dog’s 160 million.
- Cats have a longer-term memory than dogs.
- A cat can jump up to six times its length.
- Cats can change their meow to manipulate a human. For instance, they often imitate a human baby when they need food.
- Meows are not innate cat language, they developed them to communicate with humans.
- Cats can move their ears 180 degrees and can also move each ear separately.
- Hearing is a cat’s strongest sense. They can hear sounds as high as 64 kHz — compared with humans, who can hear as high as 20 kHz.
- Cats use their whiskers to detect if they can fit through a space.
- Cats hide illnesses extremely well. It is generally not until the end stage of a disease that you will start to notice changes in your cat’s behavior.
- Only 24% of cats who enter animal shelters are adopted.
Alright, I could go on and on but are you starting to love cats yet? They really are unique and amazing little creatures. In addition to their independence and loyalty to their owners, they make great pets and are generally easier to care for than dogs (key word being “generally”, do not hold it against me if you have a high maintenance cat)! But please remember to not mistake independence as a reason not bring your pet to the vet. As stated above, cats hide illnesses as a survival technique and generally do not show something is wrong until they are at the end stage of disease. As I tell my clients, cats are much less transparent than dogs.”
I hope this article makes you fall more in love with kitties and remember, there are so many cats that need great homes. Stop by your local shelter and adopt a cat. I promise that the rewards, devotion, and love will be endless. Once you have owned and loved a cat, you will be a cat person for life!
If you are looking for a local South Florida shelter, Victoria Park Animal Hospital works with Abandoned Pet Rescue, an amazing no-kill shelter in the Fort Lauderdale area.
In memory of Elle Beans. We miss you pretty lady!