Sunday 10 February 2013

Catnip, Clowder & the C.I.A.

Here are ten things you may not know about cats:

1.  Dubbed "Project Acoustic Kitty",  the C.I.A. tried using cats as spies in the 1960's.  They attached acoustic devices to them.  After five years of training and $20 million, they sent their first trainee out on the streets of Washington D.C. where it was promptly hit by a taxi, and the project was scratched.

2.  Catnip, an herb from the mint family, produceds a chemical named "nepetalactone" when crushed.  This chemical may cause bizarre behaviour (rubbing up against it, playing with it, eating it) amongst cats.  However, 30% of cats still exhibit no change in behaviour.

3.  A group of cats is called a "clowder" or a "clutter".  A group of wild cats is called a "dowt" or a "destruction".

4.  Cats have nine lives.  A study was conducted on several cats to see if how often they would survive a fall.  Ninety percent survived a fall from an average of 5.5 stories.  Two-thirds of the cats required a vet's services.

5.  Cats are not colour blind.

6.  The smallest cat in the world, Tinnkier Toy is 2.75 inches tall and 7.5 inches long.

7.  Damaged whiskers can make a cat confused and disoriented.  The whiskers contain nerves and sensory cells which serve as an environmental scanning system.

8.  Black cats were perceived to be bad luck in the Middle Ages because they were associated with the women who looked after them, some of whom were accused of being witches and practising black magic.

9.  A cat's sense of smell is twice as strong as that of a human.  A cat's sight only requires one sixth the level of light of that of a human.  A cat's hearing can detect sounds as low as 55 Hz and as high as 79 KHz.

10.  A cat can survive on very little water.  It has extremely dry feces, highly concentrated urine and does not sweat.  Originating in the desert, a cat can survive temperatures as high as 126 to 133 degrees Fahrenheit.


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