Dr Jo discusses 5 things that cats are far superior to humans at (and don’t they know it!)
Other than hibernating species, surely no other animal can beat the ability of the cat to snooze the day away. While we humans may spend a third of our lives in a recumbent snoozing state, cats may spend three-quarters of their life sleeping and dreaming. This helps them retain energy for other important duties – like eating or pouncing and playing on unsuspecting owners!
Your cat may be dreaming as it sleeps. You will see it twitch and move as it dreams. Or it may sleep with one ear tuned in to your movements, ready to be awakened and interact with a toy or its food bowl. No wonder we call it catnapping!
Cats are natural pouncers and jumpers. With streamlined bodies, flexible spines, powerful legs and effective claws developed to hunt in the wild, your cat can scale walls and fences or jump on to your bench tops at home or perhaps even your ankles, when you least expect an attack!
Cats can jump tremendous heights and also leap great divides - much greater distances, relative to our respective sizes, than any human high or long jumper. This ability enables them to move swiftly with maximum effect. They cannot sustain lengthy runs but they can attack at a moment’s notice.
Cats can hear noises in the ultrasound range. While we hear up to around 23 KHz, cats hear up to around 85 KHz, the sounds that rats and mice make. Instead of hunting these days, they are much more likely to recognize the sounds of the cat food tin opening or the rattling of the biscuit container!
Cats have 32 muscles in each ear, enabling them to move their ears in any direction and each ear independently of the other. Humans have 3 muscles in their ears. We can barely move our ears at all.
Seeing in the dark
While owners struggle to navigate their house and yard overnight, cats are at one with their nocturnal surroundings. With their ability to dilate their pupils and a reflective layer – the tapetum – which concentrates light, cats are adept at night time vision and activity. This is one reason they will gladly wake you at any opportunity!
You may think that you are captivating but your cat is so much more skilled at getting your attention - on their terms! They rub up against you; they drop to the floor and roll; they wink at you; they purr and meow – all to get your attention. While, at times, your cat may seem to ignore you, you are indeed special to your cat and they want to show you their love and affection. Sometimes it comes with a tooth and claw attack and sometimes with a smooch and purr. That’s life with a cat.
About Dr Joanne Righetti
Dr Joanne Righetti is an animal behaviourist, educating the public and professionals in all aspects of the human–animal relationship. Her background is in zoology, with a PhD in animal behaviour and a counselling diploma – qualifications which enable her to work with all sorts of animals – including the human variety! Joanne likes to help pet owners understand their pet's behaviour and solve any pet behaviour problems. She also consults to a variety of organisations including non-profit organisations, commercial companies and councils and is involved in a variety of media including regular spots on radio. Joanne is an honorary associate of the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, University of Sydney. Find out more about Joanne at www.petproblemsolved.com.au