Purrfectly Fascinating Facts About Kitties

Did you know that kitties are one of the sleepiest creatures on the planet? Only a few animals—such as bats and possums—manage to catch more Z’s than Man’s Second Best Friend. This probably won’t come as a huge surprise: we all know kitties are, for some reason, collectively exhausted. As it turns out, these little furballs are filled with unique charms. A local Tampa, FL vet lists some things you may not have known about your feline friend in this article.

Your Cat May Be Allergic To You

Chances are, you probably know someone who is allergic to cats. (Not-so-fun-fact: it’s actually the dander from your pet’s skin, rather than her fur, that causes reactions.) But did you know that kitties can be allergic to us? A 2005 study showed that about one out of every 200 cats has feline asthma. This is one of the (very) few downsides of Fluffy’s indoor life: pollen, cat litter, and cigarette smoke can exacerbate the issues. However, this is very rare.

Fluffy Spends As Much As Half Of Her Time Primping

It’s no secret that our feline buddies are very clean. Fluffy takes time every day to keep her fur clean and in good condition. This isn’t just about aesthetics: grooming helps reduce the odors cats give off. This is important in the wild, as so many predators are drawn by scents. It also helps stimulate circulation. Plus, removing all of that dead fur and dander helps maximize the insulative qualities of your cat’s fur, therefore helping her stay warm in winter and cool in summer.

Cats Don’t Only Purr When They’re Happy

You have to admit, the fact that kitties literally vibrate with happiness is pretty adorable. Fluffy doesn’t only purr to show contentment, though. Cats also purr when they are sick, stressed, or delivering kittens. This is likely a way for them to soothe and perhaps heal themselves.

Purrs Are A Little Bit Magic

If we were able to ask cats about themselves, it’s probably safe to say that we’d have some questions about the purr. It turns out that this special rumble has some very unique properties. Kitties purr within a certain range of frequencies, typically between 25 and 150 Hertz. These same frequencies have been shown to improve bone density and promote healing. They’re even used in therapy!

The Purrfect Match: Kitties And Catnip

Fluffy’s catnip obsession is definitely one of her more entertaining quirks. It’s always adorable seeing a kitty acting frisky and silly while she’s enjoying the effects of her favorite plant. As it turns out, our feline friends have a very unique relationship with this plant. Kitties have scent receptors in their cute little noses that purrfectly match the scent molecules emitted by catnip.

Not All Cats Like Catnip

Does your kitty go a bit batty when you give her catnip? If so, she’s in the majority, if not by much. As many as a third of our feline pals are immune to its effects.

A Universal Language

Do your kitty’s vocalizations sound like she’s saying ‘meow’? It turns out that the word for Fluffy’s chatter doesn’t vary too much between languages.

Here are a few ‘translations’:

  •  Catalan: Meu
  •  Chinese: Mao
  •  Danish: Miaav
  •  Dutch: Miauw
  •  Finnish: Miau or Kurnau
  •  French: Miaou
  •  Greek: Naiou
  •  Hebrew: Miau or Miya
  •  Hungarian: Miaaau
  •  Japanese: Nyan
  •  Korean: Yaong or Nyaong
  •  Norwegian: Mjau
  •  Portuguese: Miau
  •  Spanish: Miau”

Kitty Career Changes

These days, most of our feline friends live the lives of pampered pets, lounging around in warm, sunny spots, curling up on their humans’ laps, and generally living the good life. However, Fluffy has tried her paw at a few other occupations. For example, she’s been a spy, a smuggler, a therapist, and even a politician. There’s even a kitty in Japan that manages a train station! 

One thing she didn’t do so well? Mail delivery. Back in the 1870s, a city in Belgium tried to train cats to deliver mail. The experiment went pretty much as one would expect, which explains why mail cats are not a thing today.

Raining Cats And Dogs

This purrticular saying seems to date back to the time when it was common for people to have thatched roofs. If a cat climbed to a high vantage point, she could be at risk of falling through a wet roof. The ‘catchphrase’ dates back to at least 1651, when it appeared in a collection of poems called the Olor Iscanus

The Cat’s Meow

In the 1920’s, the word ‘cat’ was used by flappers to describe someone cool. This saying stuck around for some time, and is still occasionally used that way today! 

Green With Envy

A green cat was born in Denmark back in ’95. The unusual coloring may have come from copper in the local pipes.

Brown And Out

Have you ever noticed that you rarely see brown cats? Actually, you may see them more than you think. Black cats are actually brown: if your kitty has a black coat, look at it closely when she’s in the sun. However, that doesn’t explain why we don’t usually see kitties with lighter brown coats. No one really knows why. 


Our feline pals can wear one of several patterns, including tabby, parti-color, tortie, and calico. Fluffy’s skin color actually shows the patterns of their fur. So do her paw pads, or  ‘toe beans’ as they are sometimes called. 


Most redheaded kitties—about 80 percent, to be exact—are males. This is one of Fluffy’s interesting genetic quirks. X chromosomes carry the gene for orange fur. That means female kittens need copies of the gene from both parents. Boys, however, only need one of their parents to be a redhead.

Cat Burglars

It may seem logical to assume that the phrase ‘cat burglar’ came about because cats can be extremely quiet and stealthy. However, it actually may have been a bit more on the nose than that. Some kitties do have a habit of stealing things and bringing the nabbed items back to their humans. No one is quite sure why kitties do this, but the list of things cats have stolen is quite impressive.

A few examples:

  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Hair Ties
  • Elastics
  • Stuffed Animals
  • Inhalers
  • Jewelry
  • Keys
  • Key Rings
  • Money
  • ID Cards

While this may be humorous, there is a more serious note: many things Fluffy steals, such as hair ties and rubber bands, are very dangerous to her if swallowed. If your little buddy has red paws, be careful to keep small and sharp items locked up! Ask your Tampa, FL vet for petproofing tips. 


We may never entirely figure out these charming balls of fur, but we have made some progress in recent years. One study discovered that Fluffy makes a mental map of her domains, which she uses to track your whereabouts. Think of it as a kitty version of a GPS app, with you as the moving icon. 

Kitties Don’t Actually Love Milk

We’ve all seen those iconic images of cute cats happily lapping up bowls of milk. However, most adult furballs can’t digest processed milk. In fact, Fluffy may get an upset stomach from drinking it! This may have originated from the days when many people raised their own cattle. Raw milk contains certain enzymes, such as lactase, which helps cats digest the lactose in dairy products. Kittens also produce this enzyme. However, when they stop nursing, their bodies stop making it, rendering them lactose-intolerant.

A Cat Lover By Any Other Name

Do you love kitties? If so, you’re an ailurophile. The word—which is a bit of a mouthful—comes from ailouros, meaning ‘cat’ and phile, which means ‘lover’

Fluffy Left Her Mark On Language

This one could be taken quite literally: medieval manuscripts have been discovered that show kitty paw prints in ink. (Apparently, Fluffy hasn’t changed a whole lot in all that time.) A more recent development? The Hungarian word for cat claws, macskaköröm, is also used to denote quotation marks.

Schedule Regular Appointments With Your Tampa, FL Veterinarian

No matter what size, color, or purrsonality your pet has, she’ll need regular veterinary care to stay healthy. Be sure to visit your Tampa, FL animal clinic regularly! 

Do you have questions about your kitty’s health or care? Contact us, your local Tampa, FL pet hospital, today! 

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