Research Spotlight: The Secret World of Cats

Wed, 2021-03-31 16:22 -- ablackwell

Right before our eyes. In our houses, towns and backyards. On our couches and laps, a takeover is happening. Cats have become the most popular pet in America. It is believed that there are 400 million households with cats in the United States alone, but their behavior is still a mystery to many people (including their owners). This is why iDigBio sat down with the best vets and researchers to figure out what makes a cat tick. This is what we found out: 

  • The cat purr effect- the frequency of a cat’s purr is perfectly calibrated to activate your bladder which is why once they hunker down in your lap you will inevitably have to get up and leave the seat your cat wants for their pleasure and entertainment only. 
  • Knocking things over - if you’re a cat owner, you may have experienced the pain of losing a few items to your cat’s awful habit of knocking things off tables and counters.  Broken cups, shattered glasses, damaged phones and remotes. But why?  Research shows that there are many reasons for this habit. It can be a form of intimidation. A way for them to say: “one day you could be next.” It may also be a way to check that Newton’s law of gravity is still working. 
  • Cats want to kill their owners - a study showed that house cats' demeanor was similar to big cats (lions, tigers, etc).  Literally, the only thing keeping house cats from killing their owners is their size.  We are lucky that humans are larger and cats haven’t found the best weapons yet. So the next time you put your cat in some costume to look like a reindeer or a santa claus, think about how your cat may feel a bit like an idiot and be plotting your death. 

Now the question still remains are these creatures devout pets or repressed wild beings? The jury may be out...but we have found some similarities to big cat behavior after witnessing house cats in their natural habitat. Our notes are below: 

Daily activity

  • Hunt and eat at all times of day
    • Hunt eagerly in the evening, looking for prey 
    • Hunt sometimes during the day, often close to waterholes
  • Peak activity after 6pm and before 8am
    • Rest most of the day
    • Some morning activity
  • Groom and play around dawn and especially in the evening

Behaviors to conserve energy

  • May rest up to 20-21 hours per day, on average 
    • Like to relax in the daytime, so they can run around at 3am for no reason at all. 
  • Usually, sleep in compact groups 

Are they regal and independent or cold and distant? Devoted pets or repressed wild beings? The world may never know. 

(Happy April Fool's Day from iDigBio! :) )


Photo Credit:

Photo 1: taken by Alexandr and released under license from Adobe Stock

Photo 2: taken by veera and released under license from Adobe Stock

Photo 3: taken by benevolente and released under license from Adobe Stock