Black Cat Appreciation Day — August 17th

Monique Balas | Special to The Oregonian By Monique Balas | Special to The Oregonian
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on October 29, 2011 at 6:30 AM

The black fur gene is recessive, so a cat must carry two copies of it to be black.
Scientists have found genetic mutations among several different kinds of cats that caused them to be black, meaning they are favored in nature.

Scientists also discovered that the mutations affect a gene related to one that’s resistant to HIV in humans, leading some to theorize that black cats may be resistant to disease.

In Europe, poor, lonely women often fed alley cats. When witch hysteria hit, many of these homeless women were accused of witchcraft, and their feline companions (especially black ones) were deemed guilty by association.

The Egyptian goddess Bast was thought to take the form of a black cat, so many ancient Egyptians owned black cats as a way to court her favor.

According to British lore, a black cat’s presence in a house will bring a young woman many suitors.

The British also believe that a black cat will bring its owner good luck, but coming across one accidentally brings bad luck.

Some people believe that plucking a single white hair on an otherwise ebony cat — without getting scratched — will make them lucky in love.

On Britain’s Yorkshire coast, fishermen’s wives believed owning a black cat would keep their husbands safe at sea.

 

 

Black cat trivia

1. Which English monarch was so devoted to his black cat that he insisted it be guarded 24 hours a day?

2. A black cat’s tail is thought to cure what ailment?

3. In Scotland, a black cat’s appearance on your porch is thought to bring what?

Answers:
1. King Charles I; the day after the cat died, he was arrested for treason.
2. Sty
3. Prosperity

 

Feline Facts: Cat Trivia For The Curious

Black Cat 150x150 Feline Facts: Cat Trivia For The Curious

A cat can be either right-pawed or left-pawed.

A cat can jump as much as seven times its height.

A cat can spend five or more hours a day grooming himself.

A cat can sprint at about thirty-one miles per hour.

A cat cannot see directly under its nose. This is why the cat cannot seem to find tidbits on the floor.

A cat has 230 bones in its body. A human only has 206 bones.

A cat has four rows of whiskers.

A cat in a hurry can sprint at about thirty-one miles per hour.

A cat is pregnant for about 58-65 days.

A cat sees about six times better than a human at night because of the tapetum lucidum , a layer of extra reflecting cells which absorb light.

A cat that bites you for rubbing his stomach is often biting from pleasure, not anger.

A cat uses its whiskers to determine if a space is too small to squeeze through. The whiskers act as feelers or antennae, helping the animal to judge the precise width of any passage.

A cat will almost never meow at another cat. Cats use this sound for humans.

A cat will clean itself with paw and tongue after a dangerous experience or when it has fought with another cat. This is believed to be an attempt by the animal to soothe its nerves by doing something natural and instinctive.

A cat will never break a sweat because it has no sweat glands.

A cat will spend nearly 30% of its life grooming itself.

A cat will tremble or shiver when it is extreme pain.

A cat’s arching back is part of a complex body language system, usually associated with feeling threatened. The arch is able to get so high because the cat’s spine contains nearly 60 vertebrae which fit loosely together. Humans have only 34 vertebrae.

cat on a cat tower
Cats are the only animals to voluntarily become domesticated. (Photo by A. Jones)

 

A cat’s brain is more similar to a human’s brain than that of a dog.

A cat’s brain is more similar to a man’s brain than that of a dog.

A cat’s ear pivots 180 degrees.

A cat’s field of vision is about 185 degrees.

A cat’s hearing rates as one of the top in the animal kingdom. Cats can hear sounds as high-pitched as 65 kHz; a human’s hearing stops at just 20 kHz.

A cat’s heart beats at 110 to 140 beats per minute, twice as fast as a human heart.

A cat’s jaws cannot move sideways.

A cat’s normal body temperature is 101.5 degrees F (38.6 C).

A cat’s sense of taste is keener than a dog’s sense of taste.

A cat’s tail held high means happiness. A twitching tail is a warning sign, and a tail tucked in close to the body is a sure sign of insecurity.

 

 

More Cat Trivia…

  • Cats cannot taste things that are sweet. A cat’s taste buds cannot detect sugar.
  • Kitty litter was originally made from sand. In 1948, however, it was discovered that clay was more absorbent.
  • Isaac Newton invented the cat flap door.

    black cat using a cat flap

    Issac Newton invented the cat flap.

  • Cats can see in the dark.
  • Abe Lincoln and Robert E. Lee supposedly loved cats. Rumor has it that Lincoln kept four cats in the White House.
  • While Abe Lincoln was quite the cat lover, Dwight Eisenhower was NOT a cat lover.
  • A cat purrs at the same frequency as an idling diesel engine. (Pretty cool, huh?)
  • Cats can run up to speeds of 30 mph!
  • Cats use their whiskers to determine if they can fit through a space.
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