The Science Of Cats

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) estimates that Americans own between 74-96 million cats—that's 30-37 percent of the country's population. Of those cats, approximately 35 percent were taken in as strays, while a staggering 3.5 million cats enter animal shelters each year. Chances are, you or someone you know owns one of these furry companions. And if you do, you've probably noticed quite a few sounds unique to cats, like meowing. In fact, while dogs produce about 10 different sounds they rely on to communicate with other dogs and humans, cats vocalize more than 100. While animal behaviorists believe meowing is a phenomena directed solely at humans, cats generally purr, hiss, spit and grunt to exchange information with other cats. In this way, domestic cats are one of the most personalized communicators. But head into the jungle and encounter a wild cat, you might find it's no meowing matter—those cats roar.

Around the world and throughout history cats have integrated their way into the family unit. And the cats we know and love are much more than house pets—they're made of amazing and quirky science. Cats can drink salt water to re-hydrate, run as fast as 31 miles-per-hour and share more similar brain structures with humans than dogs. Learn more about these fascinating, lovable furballs we call family.

Written by Curiosity Staff February 25, 2014

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