Most white cats with blue eyes are deaf. Research has found that only 17-22% of white cats with non-blue eyes are born deaf. The percentage rises to 40% if the white cat has one blue eye; two blue eyes, and it’s 65-85%. Some of these cats are deaf in one ear. If a white cat with one blue eye is deaf in one ear, it’ll always be the ear on the same side as the blue eye.
The deafness is associated with the W-gene which causes white fur, and which is most common in blue-eyed white cats. It causes a degeneration of the cochlear blood supply at age three to four weeks, so the inner ear never develops properly. Pure-bred white cats are less likely to be deaf than mixed-breed ones, despite having blue eyes: they're more likely to have the Siamese dilution pigment gene which can allow blue eyes without associated deafness.
Completely deaf or blind cats are generally able to carry out their function as pets perfectly well. But you can now buy hearing aids for cats.
A Scottish Fold is the name for the breed of cat whose ears naturally fold down towards the front of their head.
35% of American cat owners never allow their cat to go outside.
Almost all tortoiseshell cats are female.
From 1959 to 1961, a World Health Organisation (WHO) anti-malaria campaign sprayed Sarawak in Borneo with the insecticide DDT to kill mosquitoes. An unintended side effect was that cockroaches also ate the DDT, then house cats ate the cockroaches, which killed the cats.
Once the cats were dead, the rat population exploded, and so the WHO collected surplus cats they found in other parts of Borneo and shipped them to Sarawak. Because much of Sarawak is dense jungle, many of the cats were sent in by parachute, in boxes primed to spring open on landing. It's not known how many survived, and claims vary from ‘at least 20’ to 14,000.
Einstein had a pet cat who got depressed when it rained.
Cats have a special manipulative purr that gives them control over their owners. It's called ‘solicitation purring’.
In the 19th century, angry cats were often referred to as 'spitfires'.
In 1879 the city of Liege in Belgium employed 37 cats to deliver mail to nearby villages. It was unsuccessful.
Do not meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will piss on your computer.
It is said that cats were the last animals to be domesticated, by the ancient Egyptians around 3,500 years ago; but it may be that they domesticated us:
Today, only a quarter of American cat ‘owners’ say they deliberately went out to acquire a cat: in 75% of cases, it was the cat that acquired them. And studies have shown that many more people claim to own a cat than there are cats. When your cat disappears for a while it is not, in fact, off on a hunting expedition, it is next door-but-one having another free meal or asleep on the window-sill with one or another of its many doting ‘owners’.
Milk, cat food and central heating are all bad for cats. Milk gives them diarrhoea, cat food rots their gums and central heating causes them to moult all year round. Then they lick off and swallow their fur, which clogs up their digestive system.
Right up until the 17th century it amused people to stuff wicker effigies of the Pope with live cats and then burn the lot. The Puritans used to enjoy the sound this made.
Cats are a waste of fur.
Cats often leave piles of their faeces around the edges of their territory as a kind of ‘Keep Out’ sign. The polite word for this is ‘scats’.
1 in 200 cats are allergic to their owners.
Dante tried to train his cat to hold a candle up for him while he was working.
Cat spend 85% of their lives sleeping or just sitting.
Research shows that cats recognise their owners' voices but have evolved to ignore them
In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.
Cats can't taste sweetness.
A domestic cat is about 1% of the size of a tiger.
The 75 million cats in the USA are responsible for the deaths of a billion birds and five billion rodents every year.