August 8 is the day – nay, the institution; the timeless tradition even (est. 2002) – when the world sets aside 24 hours for “recognition and veneration of one of humanity’s oldest and most beloved pets”, while they sit in the corner with effortless contempt and moderate indifference.
According to a casual Tuesday belly flop into Google, there are apparently around 500 million cats in the world.
They are the most popular pet in the US, outnumbering dogs by around 14 million, can survive falls from more than 32 metres, and one called Morris ran for Mayor of Mexico City in 2013.
The sheer number of domestic cats in the world means that if one hasn’t begrudgingly adopted you yet –intermittently bringing home birds in a fatalist attempt to teach you how to hunt properly – chances are they have got to one of your close friends or family.
It turns out cats do way more for us than we might think.
For one thing, being a cat-owned human can be crazy-good for your health. According to a couple of real science studies (found on the internet), cats as pets can help us manage allergies, lower stress levels and generally feel pretty good.
In fact, one university found that people who live with cats are between 30 and 40 per cent less likely to die of heart attacks than people who have other pets (we’re looking at you birds!)
Cats promote the release of Oxytocin and help lower blood pressure. Scientifically speaking, they make the feels.
Aside from forever carrying the title of uncontested overlords of the internet (praise be unto them) Cats cannot detect sweetness in anything they taste, their noses are like our fingerprints – never two alike – and they only meow when they are trying to communicate with humans.
Interestingly, they would rather starve than eat a food they don’t like, according to Animal Planet, but too much tuna can be addictive and lead to Vitamin E deficiencies.
As non-rent-paying residents in the house they let you think is yours, cats a pretty chilled out. They sleep about 70 percent of their lives, and are pretty independent.
But don’t let the constant catnapping fool you. For the low, low price of living in a state of gazelle-like readiness for the random 17 seconds when they want immediate unconditional love and attention, cats will willingly participate in:
- The occasional brisk walk around your apartment:
- Playing fetch:
- Sharing in all your favourite hobbies:
- And even helping out with the odd household chore:
But here’s the best one:
- Household cats have been traced to Ancient Egypt where, when a home kitty died, its humans would show their grief by shaving their eyebrows. Take that Hamsters!