Animal Info Cats Physical Facts

About the physical facts of the feline cat including breeds, size, life expectancy, and vision.



All breeds are basically the same physically, differing only in texture and coloring of fur and eyes. Males weigh from 9 to 14 lb. and average 28 in. in length; females weigh from 6 to 10 lb. and average 20 in. in length. Cats have an average life expectancy of 14 to 17 years, but one remarkable tabby named Ma in Devon, England, lived 34 years.

The cat's keen vision--particularly at night--is its strongest sense. A cat's hearing is also acute. Exceptionally clean animals with a superb sense of balance, cats have powerful carnivore teeth, retractile claws, and sensitive whiskers which they use as feelers. They are the only animals that purr--that is, make a low rumbling sound associated usually with pleasure.

Some intelligence tests indicate that the cat is smarter than the dog. However, cats really can't be trained. They are proud, independent creatures that will obey because they like their owner or because they're in the mood, but not--as with the dog--always on command.

There are 36 feline breeds (wild and domestic) and two basic pure-breed categories--short-haired (including Siamese, Abyssinian, Burmese, Russian blue, Havana brown, Rex, Manx, Korat, and Chartreux) and long-haired (including Persian and Himalayan); plus the mixed breed, or "alley" cat.

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