Cat Facts



Air Righting/Balance Reflex

KOSHKA Animation adapted from still sequence presented in:

The Readers Digest Illustrated Book of Cats, Rutherford, Alice, ed.,

Readers Digest, Sydney, 1992


Cats have the remarkable ability to flip right side up and land safely when they fall from considerable heights. This air righting balance is dependent on the fine coordination of a number of senses that include vision and the vestibular apparatus (balance mechanism within the ears), a very flexible skeleton, especially the spine, a resilient and finely honed musculature, soft padded paws and flexible joints that act as shock absorbers.

A falling cat can right itself in just 60cm or 2ft. This amazing feat is accomplished by completing a full flip or rotation of the body in mid air, firstly by rotating the head and front half of the body, until the head has achieved the correct horizontal orientation to the ground, it then rotates the back half of the body to align with the front, while arching the back and extending the forelegs in readiness for impact. The forelegs land first, allowing the flexible and strong shoulders to absorb the impact and lessen the chance of injury, thus enabling a safe and  efficient landing. Air righting is a reflex action that has been observed in kittens as young as 3 weeks.


  Age Comparison - Human vs Cat 


How old is your cat in human years?

You just might be surprised.

The following table provides a guide to help make the calculation.


  Cat's Age Human's Age  
  6 Months 10 Years  
  8 Months 13 Years  
  1 Year 15 Years  
  2 Years 24 Years  
  4 Years 32 Years  
  6 Years 40 Years  
  8 Years 48 Years  
  10 Years 56 Years  
  12 Years 64 Years  
  14 Years 72 Years  
  16 Years 80 Years  
  18 Years 88 Years  
  20 Years 98 Years  
  21 Years 100years  

Senior Cats:

The Oldest of the Old



In 1997 CATFANCY Magazine,  ran a competition to find America's Oldest Cat. Over 800 entries were registered, providing some interesting statistics indicating that a healthy, well cared for cat can live to a considerable age.  CATFANCY found that of the 800 entries, quite remarkably, 180 were 20 years and older and, 483 were between 15 to 20 years. The following table provides a breakdown of the ages of the senior cats entered in the competition. 


Age of Contestant (years)

















  Number of Entries 

 (by age)

36 35 52 36 59 78 87 93 80 73 72 46 24 18 9 11

Three of the seniors  were over 25 years of age:

Champagne: 24,  Lucy: 29,  and  Granpa Rex Allen: 31 (see below).



       Granpa Rex Allen

Source: CAT FANCY, March 1997


Granpa Rex Allen, a Rex and Sphynx mix and retired Supreme Grand Champion, owned by Jake Perry, Austin, Texas came in as the oldest of all the entrants..

Granpa was adopted by Jake from an animal shelter  in 1970 and became a TICA show cat for 12 years.  In that time he accumulated more than 8,600 points and more than 500 awards.

Granpa's age has been confirmed at 26, but estimated to be 31.



This is one of the best cat photographs I have ever seen. Granpa Rex Allen has such a profound look of wisdom in his expression that one can almost see the living he has done and the experiences he has encountered along the way.


Bringing Home Prey



      A present for you!

Cats are renowned for bringing their booty home and dropping it at their beloved human's feet. Often with an expression of pride.


In many instances, much to the human recipient's  disgust, especially if the the prey is still alive or happens to hold some esoteric value for the owner of the cat, for example a bird, the response is one of disgust that may result in disciplinary action. If the prey is a rodent, spider or some other crawly that is perceived as a "pest", then the cat is usually praised for being clever. Mixed messages that end up being  meaningless and hold little tutorial value.

"GIFT"  behaviour is thought to stem from several different instinctual foundations. The first is the instinct to hunt and return to the lair or den with the "kill" to share the meal with kittens and others in the pride. The second, especially when the prey is brought home alive, is to teach young kittens how to hunt. Both behaviours have a high degree of value in the wild and help to ensure survival. Thirdly, in a domestic situation, where food is plentiful, the pet cat that presents you with a gift that has been hunted down and brought home, is establishing quite categorically that as the one who usually puts out the food, you are a valued and important member of the pride. Your pet is reciprocating.


Trapping and Releasing Your Gift  Live prey can present a challenge however. The animal is often a little stunned and disoriented when released by its captor, making it slower and less able to respond than it normally would. It can also be very unpleasant for the human to have a live field mouse running around the house. My vet gave me a good tip not long ago, by suggesting that most trapped animals, especially those in a disoriented state, will run along straight lines such as the skirting boards of a wall and will seek shelter in the nearest space that is dark. A gumboot, closed pvc pipe or any other long cylindrical object that is dark inside will attract your unwitting visitor, enabling you to trap it inside, cover the end and, release it outside where it can escape.


Living With Humans & Other Animals


Cats are extremely adaptable and open to relationship building with other species, as well as humans if they are exposed to them at around 3 to 7 weeks of age, in what is generally considered to be, the socialising period in their development.

Positive exposure to other species at this time reinforces trust and the kitten learns quickly to accept the other animal, or human as non-threatening, or more importantly, as non-edible.


The mother cat is a very powerful determinant in instilling a "friend or foe" instinct in her offspring (read about Cocoa who doesn't have any fear). If the mother does not exhibit fear or hunting behaviours towards alien species or other environmental factors at this stage the natural "predator or prey" instinct does not develop and the the kitten will instead develop rapport with, and trust in the alien species.


Dogs and cats, often referred to as natural enemies, will bond closely if the conditions are right, as was the case with our German Shepherd "JB" and one of our Russian Blue kittens, Alexsandra. JB came into a house "run" by several cats when he was six weeks old and became an integral part of the "cat" family. He was so bonded that he helped raise every litter of kittens. Alexsandra (above) was one of "his" kittens. The two were inseparable. From 3 weeks of age, Ali spent all her time with JB, only returning to her mother and siblings for feeds. 


The reverse can also be true however. If the kitten does not learn to interact at this early stage, it will more often than not develop into a fearful, withdrawn adult. While this is a generally the case, it is not a law. We have introduced adult cats that have only ever lived in an isolated cattery with little exposure to humans and none at all with other species, that have settled in well and accepted dogs as part of the normal family. 


Positive socialisation is dependent on many factors, not the least of which, is personality. All breeders will have experienced the individual differences within a litter of sibling kittens that include the lively, outgoing kitten, the aggressive kitten, the nervous kitten, the gentle laid back kitten, the outsider (often the runt) and, sometimes the weakling or sickly kitten.


Each of these personality and/or physical types respond differently to its human carers and other environmental factors, including the introduction of other species. It is therefore essential that there is a good "fit" between the person seeking a kitten and the chosen kitten.  The kitten that is perfectly suited for one owner, can be totally inappropriate for another. Experienced breeders are very adept at identifying the differences within a litter and assisting new owners to make the right choice.