Nina Nandy

Gastroenterologist at The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center

Fun Facts About Your Cat

Fun Facts About Your Cat

Cats. Those furry friends we all know and love. Have you ever looked at your cat and wondered what makes it so unique? Every cat has a personality that’s fun to explore and learn about. You can get to know your cat by reading into its body language and more. Cats are fun creatures and they’re even more fun to learn about. Here are some facts about cats you may not know!

Some Cats have “Thumbs”

Although it’s more common to find a cat with 5 fingers on their paws, some cats have more. Polydactyl cats have more than 5 fingers on their paws which look like mittens. President Theodore Roosevelt had a polydactyl cat named “Slippers” which was one of the first cats to ever roam the White House. Cats only get this trait through an inherited gene from one of their parents.

They Can Hear Ultrasonic Noises

Cats are known for their strong senses– particularly hearing. Cats have a pinna which is the outer flap on their ear. The pinna allows them to hear from all directions, taking the sound directly to their eardrum. Once the sound reaches the eardrum, tiny bones inside the middle of the ear will vibrate the sound waves to the cochlea and then on to the brain.

This process is what allows cats to have ultrasonic hearing. That means cats can hear sounds up to 5 times better than humans. A cat’s hearing is what makes it such a great hunter. Hearing rodents and being able to lock in their location based on sound helps to guide the cat in the right direction.


A Cat’s Nose is like Its Thumbprint

Every cat’s nose has a print that is unique just like every human has a unique fingerprint. Although your cat’s nose will appear to have simple, small bumps on it, those small bumps make out a specific pattern just for your cat.

They Sleep A LOT

On average, cats will sleep about 15 total hours each day. Some cats can even sleep up to 24 hours. Cats are crepuscular meaning they are most active at hours pertaining to dusk and dawn. Outside of those hours, cats are usually sleeping. Cats are also affected by the weather, so on a rainy day, cats will need more sleep to conserve their energy.

Speaking Cat: Do You Understand Feline Body Language

Speaking Cat: Do You Understand Feline Body Language

Cats get a bad rap. Too often, critics label cats as unfriendly, aloof, or uninteresting – and cite one bad experience with a friend’s Persian as their rationale. But I have trouble accepting these arguments; after all, few critics bother to think about how the cat feels before grabbing them for a stroke! Think about it: how would you feel if an unfamiliar stranger reached down and tried to immobilize you? Cats are unfairly stereotyped as unfriendly hermits, and I would argue that the misconception stems from humans who unfairly apply their behavioral expectations and assumptions for dogs to cats. Then, when cats don’t oblige – because they aren’t, you know, dogs – people reject them as universally unsociable. The logic is unreasonable. As Pam Johnson Bennett, cat behaviorist and author of Think Like a Cat: How to Raise a Well-Adjusted Cat puts it in her book: “Cats shouldn’t be viewed as acceptable and sociable only when they act ‘doglike.'” Cats can be wonderful, social, affectionate pets – but you need to throw out dog-based assumptions and learn cat cues to understand them! Here, I overview basic feline body language.

Tail

Dogs aren’t cats – so if you see yours twitching her tails back and forth, keep back! A cat who waves her tail about quickly is likely anxious and should be left alone. A slow wave, in contrast, can indicate that the cat is assessing her surroundings and considering her next move. If a cat’s tail is up, she’s interested and paying attention to her surroundings. If it’s down and/or tucked between her legs, she’s probably scared – and if you see her express fear, you should give her space until she feels safer.

Ears

Never, ever approach a cat whose ears are back and pressed flat against her head; this indicates that the cat is threatened and may be aggressive. However, if the cat’s ears are up and forward, she is likely content and wouldn’t be opposed to a stroke.

Eyes

Assessing your cat’s eyes can be tricky because the amount of available light in a room will change pupil dilation. However, cats with dilated pupils are generally shocked or scared, while those with constricted pupils can be taken as tense or aggressive. What the cat does with their eyes matters too; cats express contentment and affection by blinking slowly at those they care about.

Belly

To reiterate again: cats aren’t dogs. While a dog may show you its belly when it wants attention, a cat typically rolls onto its back to free up all four paws for swiping. Sometimes, the move is affectionate – but don’t count on it!

Cats for Those With Allergies

Cats for Those With Allergies

One of the biggest reasons a family will not adopt a pet happens to be allergies. Sneezing and itchy red-eyes are an unfortunate sign that a person is allergic to a cat if one is around. Contrary to common belief, it is not the cat hair that people are allergic to. Cat allergies come from the saliva in a cat, as well as the proteins secreted by the skin. While no cat is completely hypoallergenic, this list below showcases hypoallergenic cats that are best suited for people with cat allergies.

Bengal

Although there is not scientific evidence that Bengal cats produce less Fel d1 protein (the cause of the allergy), bengal cats are less likely to cause an allergic reaction. For those with mild cat allergies, a bengal cat might just be the perfect choice.

Bengal cats are known for their gorgeous patterns often in the form of stripes and leopard spots. This breed was created through scientists crossing domestic cats with the Asian Leopard Cat breed, creating a fancier look and a hybrid breed.

Sphynx

Opposite to a Bengal cat, the Sphynx is known to be the “naked” cat because it is completely hairless. This breed comes from a genetic mutation that was found among domestic cats in the 1960s. Because it is hairless, the proteins in the cat’s saliva can’t be trapped by fur– making this cat a perfect choice for those with cat allergies. Sphynx cats are known to be lap cats, so if you’re looking for a cuddly, dog-like cat, this is the one.

Cornish Rex

The Cornish Rex originates from Cornwall and are quite the social cats that thrive off of human attention. It’s not uncommon for this breed to have curly hair combined with large ears. Although humans aren’t allergic to cat hair itself, the less hair is better for allergies. The Cornish Rex is a great cat for allergies because rather than 3 layers of hair like most breeds, this breed only has the bottom layer, making their coat extra soft.

Russian Blue

While Russian Blues have standard hair for cat breeds, they do produce less Fel d1 protein, making them a great choice for those with cat allergies. The story of how this breed originated is an interesting one. It’s believed that Russian Blues originated about 150 miles south of the Arctic Circle and traveled with sailors on boats and then throughout Europe. Russian Blue cats will always have a gray/blue coat and green eyes unless they are crossed with another breed.

A Word From Nina Nandy’s Cat


Hi, my name is Lionel and I am a long haired tuxedo likely Maine Coon mix with giant kitten mittens and a big fluffy tail. I was a stray roaming the mean streets of Albuquerque until the age of one and a half when I was picked up by Animal Humane and neutered. My Nina Nandy Photohuman mommy, Nina Nandy, came in to meet me and though she was very sweet I was scared. Nina took me home and I was nervous because I had never lived inside before. She gave me lots of love and treats and toys but I would hide and one day I saw a way out and I ran away! I know she was very worried about me and put up flyers all over town and even went door to door looking for me. It took a few months and animal control picked me up and put me in the west side shelter and because I was microchipped Nina was able to find me again. Now I know to never run away again because I have the best life ever! I have all the cuddles, snuggles and treats a kitty could ever have and all the best toys! I particularly enjoy my giant black and white cat tree because it matches my colors, my window seat where I can catch all the sun I want, getting hair all over everything particularly clean laundry and generally being naughty. =^.^= Check out pictures, videos  and the latest antics of me, Lionel the snugglisest, most mischievous kitty in the world !