Now’s the purrfect time get your tabby trivia up to scratch.
Thursday is International Cat Day, when the International Fund for Animal Welfare encourages the globe to celebrate the domesticated felines that have been keeping humans company for more than 9,000 years — and whose owners drop almost $100 a month on average doting on.
So here are 12 facts to satisfy your curiosity, cat lovers:
- 85.8 million cats are owned in the United States, according to the ASPCA, which finds that about 35% of all U.S. homes count a kitty as part of the family. Statista puts that number at 95.6 million as of 2017.
More than a third of U.S. homes have cats. (CasarsaGuru/iStock)
- Cat owners spend $92.98 per month (more than $1,100 a year) on average showering their fur babies with food, toys, medical care and litter boxes, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. That’s a conservative estimate compared to the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants Americans, which claims pet owners in general spend $1,560 per year on their cats.
- Americans spent nearly $800 million on pet products on Amazon alone over the first half of 2018, One Click Retail reports – a more than 30% growth compared to the same period last year. And cat litter and odor-treating products clawed in more than $55 million, which was up 48% year over year.
Cat owners shell out a lot for litter and litter boxes. (graphixel/iStock)
- The first domesticated cat dates back to 9,500 years ago in Cyprus. Archaeologists reported in 2004 that they had found the bones of a cat positioned alongside the bones of a human in a state of preservation that suggests they were buried together.
- Millennia later, a posh puss named Blackie became the wealthiest cat ever in May 1988 when its owner Ben Rea, a millionaire antiques dealer in the U.K., left the feline $12.5 million. That’s pretty good luck for a black cat.
- But the most expensive cat on record was a Bengal named Cato, which London socialite Cindy Jackson bought for a reported $41,435 in 1998. Bengals — which are a hybrid of the Asian Leopard Cat and domestic cats — are notoriously expensive, running $500 to $5,000 a kitten. Cato was bred by Lord Esmond Gay of Bedfordshire, who had many celebrity clients before closing his breeding business in 2004.
A Bengal cat is examined by a jury member at the 2015 World Cat show in Athens. (Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images)
- Google looked up cat searches for MarketWatch, and found more than a 1,000% spike in Google searches in 2018 for “rusty spotted cat,” which is one of the smallest cats in the cat family. Search interest for cats tends to spike between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. EST, with “cat memes” being the top cat image search; “funny cat videos” being the top cat-related video search; and “Savannah cat” being the top cat-related web search.
- The late Stewie (full name Mymains Stewart Gilligan), a gray tabby Maine Coon from Reno, holds the Guinness World Record for Longest Domestic Cat ever at 48.5 inches (more than four feet) long. He passed away in January 2013.
- The largest living cat is an adult male liger (a lion and tigress hybrid) named Hercules, also according to Guinness, who is 10 feet long, stands more than four feet high at the shoulder and weighs 922 pounds. He lives in the Myrtle Beach Safari in South Carolina.
- But the tiniest kitty on record was a male blue point Himalayan-Persian aptly named Tinker Toy that measured only 2.75 inches tall and 7.5 inches long when full grown at 2.5 years old. The Taylor, Ill., cat passed in 1997.
- Austin cat Creme Puff holds the distinction of being the oldest cat ever. She lived to be 38 years and six days old before passing away in August 2005. The average life expectancy of a domesticated cat is 15.1 years.
- Bow down to the queen of cat ladies. Carmen de Aldana has the world’s largest collection of cat-related items, boasting 21,321 different items at last count in 2011. She has a private museum of cat items at her family home in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala.
This article was originally published in August 2018, and has been updated for International Cat Day.