4,000 years of cohabitation and yet so many things cats do remain a mystery.
4,000 years of cohabitation and yet so many things cats do remain a mystery.

Your cat queries answered

Questions about cats are one of the most commonly searched terms on Google and it's obvious these are vital questions that need answers.

While our relationship with domesticated cats stretches back to Ancient Egypt, there's still so much we don't know about our beloved pets.

Dogs are enthusiastically loving and loyal, but cats are often standoffish and secretive, which for some people (though not all, hello!) only makes us like them more.

Even if cats could talk it's unlikely they'd be willing to share, so it's probably best to stick to the search engine for the answers to your common cat questions.


Number one on our list, and hardly surprising once you know the answer. Purring is a way for cats to show they are content and happy but also to communicate. Cats perform a special type of purr when they want something, usually food. It's also not an involuntary action, cats deliberately purr by quickly vibrating the muscles in their larynx while moving their diaphragm at a rate of 20-30 times per second. The sound comes from air moving over the vibrating muscles as they breathe.

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While it's well known cats lick their own coats to clean themselves, what's less known is the reason they lick their owners. Unlike many common cat behaviours, that bumpy run of the tongue isn't out of disrespect. Cats lick themselves, but they also lick their young. When they lick us, it's a way of showing their affection and trust. Of course if you've just come in from a workout they could also just be licking the salty sweat off your skin, which is also kind of nice.


This one is technically about the musical but the answer is Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on the 1939 book of poetry by TS Eliot.


Depending on how early you got on to YouTube, you'll likely be aware that cats love nothing more than playing with an empty box (or suitcase, basket, pretty much any confined space). This one isn't deliberate, it's all instinct. Cats are attracted to confined spaces because they allow them to simultaneously hide from predators and stalk their prey. Their secretive nature means they love a good hide, but their penchant for sleep means they also like cozy, dark spaces.

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Contrary to popular belief that they're doing it to tenderise our flesh before eventually killing and eating us, cats kneading their paws on soft surfaces like pillows and blankets (and, somewhat shamefully, our bellies) is a carryover trait from their youth. While kittens, they perform similar kneading motions on their mothers to promote the flow of milk. It's thought that this stays in their mind as a comforting behaviour and could be a way of showing their contentedness. It could also be a way of settling down to sleep, as cats in the wild are known to pat down foliage to create a soft bed to laze away 18 hours of the day.


Cats typically live for about 13 to 17 years, but it's not uncommon for them to live longer. They tend to have a fairly easy life of eating and sleeping, with the occasional trip outside to massacre local native fauna. Of course when you divide those years by each of their nine lives you get an average life span of around 18 months, so it all depends on how you calculate things.


What curiosities do you have about your cat? Let us know in the comments below.

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