For thousands of years, cats and humans have coexisted in a kind of peace and harmony, which does not mean that these animals have been permanently domesticated. The descendants of the felines that live in our homes today arrived from southwest Asia to Europe in 4,400 BC.
However, it is believed that they began living around the agricultural communities of Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean Levant as early as 8,000 years ago. And the felines decided to establish a mutually beneficial relationship with humans: “People allowed cats to domesticate each other, more or less,” in exchange for hunting rodents that threatened crops. This is how Claudio Ottoni, from the University of Louvain, explained it to National Geographic. The co-author of a study published in Nature Ecology & Evolution on the evolution of cats assured that it was precisely the African cats that lived in Egypt who, upon arriving in Europe, attracted the attention of humans for their sociability .
The relationship between cats and humans therefore dates back to ancient Egypt. However, many aspects of these mysterious animals still elude us. These are just some of the fascinating features of felines that you probably don’t know about.
It is well known that cats hear everything, and their hearing capacity has (almost) no equal in the animal world. But did you know that they are able to rotate their ears 180 degrees? And their cartilages are connected to more than 30 muscles that allow them to move them with great precision. Although this may seem like an unimportant detail, it is not: this skill is essential to hunting. Moving their ears in this way allows them to precisely locate their prey. When a cat hears something that catches its attention, it is able to turn its ears toward the source of the sound to pinpoint its location. Additionally, ear movements also help them communicate. For example, when cats are afraid, they press them completely against their heads. Or on the contrary, when they are interested in something, they place it vertically.
The three cat eyelids
Cats have a third eyelid, did you know that? It is known as the nictitating membrane and is distinguished by the fact that it is a translucent layer located in the inner corner of felines’ eyes. This eyelid, which makes a horizontal movement when opening and closing, usually goes unnoticed, as it is only visible when cats are stressed, ill, or deeply asleep. The function of this third eyelid is vital: it protects them from attacks, sand and dust and keeps the eyes hydrated. In addition, cats are able to control this part of their body, so they are always protected from adverse conditions in their environment. It even helps them protect their eyes from defensive attacks from their prey.
The best sense of smell
Felines’ sense of smell is 14 times better than that of humans. And for them, it is an essential tool for surviving in the wild: it allows them to locate their prey, identify potential dangers and communicate with other cats. These animals are also capable of capturing a wide range of different species, so be very careful with the products you use in your home. Cats are extremely sensitive to odors and smell is a vital sense for their health, well-being and safety.
When we discover the almost mystical properties of cat purring, we finally understand why they were revered in ancient Egypt. And it’s proven to help reduce the stress and anxiety levels of the people they live with. In addition, it reduces blood pressure and regulates possible sleep disorders in the humans with whom it lives. But some studies guarantee that the vibration produced by purring, which is between 25 and 150 hertz, helps improve bone health and density.
They can survive (almost) anything
Even though the majority of cats today live indoors, they are animals adapted to living in extreme conditions. Their ancestors were from desert regions and are therefore capable of living in hot, desert climates. Their urinary system allows them, for example, to retain water in the body. Their sweat glands are located on the pads of their paws, which causes them to cool through evaporation. Additionally, their coat helps insulate them from the heat.
His spine is “made of plasticine”
Cats have between 53 and 70 vertebrae in their spine – humans, for example, have 33 – making them extremely flexible. So they are like real contortionists when it comes to escaping and exploring any corner of the house. Additionally, their spine also has a greater number of intervertebral discs, which gives their vertebrae extra protection.
The best acrobats
And all this thanks to its ultra-developed balance. But what is this ability due to? Part of the culprit is their inner ears, made up of small organs that help felines easily detect movement and sudden changes in position. But their tail also has a lot to do with their balance: they act as a counterweight to maintain stability when they make rapid movements.
What is candy?
Cats do not have taste buds specific to sweets and therefore are not able to taste them. That’s why they prefer anything with a meaty aftertaste.
Be careful with dairy products!
Cats are lactose intolerant, so be careful! Although we have learned from cartoons that kittens are given milk as puppies, this is an urban legend. Like many other foods, milk irritates their digestive system and can cause diarrhea and vomiting.
A very human brain
Oddly enough, cat brains have many similarities to the human brain. Despite the size of their heads, they are capable of storing a million more data than an iPad for example, and a million times faster. Additionally, the human and feline brains are divided into virtually identical sections when it comes to controlling emotions. The brain structures are also very similar. VS
My name is Maggie and I’m a writer for thesilverink.com, a website dedicated to news, culture and lifestyle. I have always been passionate about writing and I decided to make it my profession by becoming a web editor. I work on joehovasmf.com and I mainly take care of the lifestyle section. I like to share my discoveries and my favorites with the readers, whether it’s about fashion, beauty, decoration or gastronomy.