A Group of Cats is Called a ‘Clowder’

Daven Hiskey 24
kittensToday I found out that the correct term for referring to a group of cats is ‘clowder’.  Interestingly, there are also two other valid ways to refer to a group of cats, other than just saying “group of cats” or “cats”.  Those other two terms are ‘clutter’ and ‘glaring’.

In addition to this, if one wants to refer to a group of wild cats, the correct terms are ‘dowt’ and ‘destruction’.   A male cat, when neutered, is called a “gib”, when not, is called a “tom”.  Female cats are known as “molly”.

The word “cat” itself derives from the Old English “catt”.  Catt has its source in the Late Latin “catus”, meaning: “domestic cat”.  This Late Latin word probably derives from an Afro-Asiatic word: “kaddîska”, meaning “wild cat”.

Bonus Facts:

  • Cats can survive a fall from virtually any height. According to a study done by the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 132 cats falling from an average of 5.5 stories and as high as 32 stories, the latter of which is more than enough for them to reach their terminal velocity, have a survival rate of about 90%, assuming they are brought in to treat their various injuries that may occur because of the impact with the ground.  Read more Here
  • Cats cannot detect the sweet taste.  This is due to a mutant chemoreceptor in their taste buds.  Because of this, cats generally ignore sweet tasting food items like fruit.
  • Cats purr at around 26 cycles per second, which is about the same as an idling diesel engine.  Cats are also not the only animal that purrs.  Other animals that purr include: squirrels, guinea pigs, lemurs, and elephants, among others.
  • Domestic cats can run as fast as 30 mph.
  • It was long thought that domestic cats have their origin in Ancient Egypt.  However, in 2007 it was discovered that domestic cats pre-date Ancient Egypt and actually go as far back as 8000-9000 BC, with the first direct evidence being of a cat buried along side a human in Cyprus around 7500 BC.
  • It was also once popularly thought that cats were domesticated by humans in order to provide rodent control.  However, it is now thought that domestic cats were probably self domesticated in that they simply lived around humans long enough, hunting rodents and other vermin in towns, and gradually became adapted to domesticated life. Fast forward to today and cats are currently the most popular pet in the world.
  • A cat’s forelimbs have a free-floating clavicle bone.  Unless they are very overweight, this allows them to fit through any space their head can fit through.
  • The heaviest cat ever recorded was 46 pounds 15.2 ounces.  The lightest adult cat ever recorded was just 3 pounds.
  • A cat’s normal body temperature is around 101.5° F.  Unlike humans, they can comfortably withstand high external temperatures ranging up to 126° F to 133° F before showing any signs that they are hot.  This is thought to be a remnant of the fact that they were once probably desert animals.  Their feces is also typically very dry and their urine highly concentrated so as not to waste water.  In fact, cats need so little water that they can survive on nothing but uncooked meat, with no other water source needed.
  • Cats can see quite well in light levels as little as 1/6 of what is required for humans to see well.  They accomplish this largely via a tapetum lucidum, which reflects light passed through the retina back into the eye.  They also have exceptionally large pupils for their body size.
  • Cats also have some of the best hearing of any animal.  They can hear frequencies as high as 79 KHz and as low as 55 Hz.  For reference, humans hearing range is typically between 31 Hz to 18 KHz and dog’s hearing range is typically between 67 Hz and 44 KHz.  This extremely good hearing helps cats hunt rodents in that rodents often communicate in ultrasonic frequencies which the cats can hear.
  • A cat’s sense of smell is also about twice that of a typical human.
  • Cats are attracted to catnip largely because of the chemical nepetalactone, which mimics the smell of a certain pheromone found in cats.  Other plants that produce the same effect in cats are Silver Vine and the herb Valerian.  Interestingly, nepetalactone has the opposite effect on cockroaches and mosquitoes in that it repels them.
  • Domestic cats typically have a lifespan of around 12 to 14 years.  The current world record holder for oldest cat, though, is 38 years.  The cat’s name was Creme Puff.
  • Human foods that can be toxic to cats include: chocolate, because of the theobromine; onions, in large amounts; and garlic, again, in large amounts.  Tylenol is also very toxic for cats.
  • The male cat’s penis has around 120-150 barbs on it that point backwards.  When the penis is withdrawn from the female, this scrapes her vagina and triggers ovulation, as well as attempts to clean out any sperm from other cats.
  • A female cat will often mate with several male cats while they are in heat.  This will often result in cats within the same litter having different fathers.
  • While domestic cats are pets in most parts of the world, in certain parts of Asia, particularly southern China in the Guangdong province, cats are also seen as a food source.  It is estimated that around 10,000 cats per day are eaten in that province alone.  In all of Asia, it is estimated that around 4 million cats are eaten every year.

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24 Comments »

  1. Scott November 30, 2011 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    I wonder if this is where the term “molly-coddling” comes from. It makes sense in that a mother cat (a molly) grabs her kittens by the scruff of the neck and hauls them away from dangerous situations. An overprotective human mother could be seen as molly-coddling her children when she doesn’t allow them to take risks.

  2. i3e5l4 November 1, 2012 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    Big Bang Theory sent me here! Who else? :D

  3. Dahi November 13, 2012 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    :) I am also here because I heard this on big bag theory!

  4. Natalie December 5, 2012 at 12:39 am - Reply

    Hahaha Big Bang Theory brought me here too!

  5. Angela December 5, 2012 at 11:27 am - Reply

    Yup, Big Bang. Love that show.

  6. Tuco Ramirez February 3, 2013 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    Big Bang Theory brought me here too.

  7. Ali March 11, 2013 at 8:41 am - Reply

    If cats cannot detect sweet then why are we repeatedly told they will lick antifreeze because of the sweet taste?

  8. Sara April 27, 2013 at 7:11 pm - Reply

    Big Bang Theory as well! “The Zazzy Substitution” in particular.

  9. Cheryl August 14, 2013 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    I have 12 very spoiled cats. Several of them like sweets. So if they don’t have the taste for sweet, why do they insist I share my sweets?

    • Daven Hiskey
      Daven Hiskey August 14, 2013 at 2:01 pm - Reply

      @Cheryl: They can still like sweets, just obviously not for the sugar taste. :-)

      • Sam S November 24, 2013 at 1:41 pm - Reply

        Cats can like alsorts of odd stuff, not tasting sweet they may still like the texture.

        Cats I have know have eaten eggs, carrot cake, pasta, melon, cheese, bread (raw or buttered), chocolate, yogurt, fresh raspberries, celery, moths.

        Each cat is really partial to something perhaps chicken skin, tuna, liver. When prepare something they are partial to they display the reaction in body language.

  10. Lisa December 10, 2013 at 4:31 am - Reply

    Yep im here cos of big bang. i have my own clowder of 8 lol. some interesting facts on here.

    • Cheryl August 18, 2014 at 7:30 am - Reply

      My clowder is up to 15 now. All rescued in some way shape or form. All live inside. Love them, but sometimes it is worse than having 15 human children.

  11. Jude August 16, 2014 at 10:30 am - Reply

    Here thanks to Pointless Celebrities :-)

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