13 Surprising Facts About Female Cats You Need To Know
Many people think that there isn’t much difference between a male cat and a female cat but believe it or not, there are some surprising facts about female cats that are unique to their sex.
In this blog, we will talk about 13 interesting facts about female cats.
1. Nearly all calicos and tortoiseshell cats are female
Tortoiseshell cats also known as torties have bi-coloured coats that look like the shell of a tortoise. Their colours are often ginger, red and black. Likewise, calico cats have a tri-colour coat with distinctively marked patterns that contain black white and orange. Interestingly enough calicos and torties are almost always female. In fact, research has shown that fewer than 1 in 1 000 calico cats are male and only about 1 in 3 000 tortoiseshell cats are male. This is because only the female x chromosome carries information on coat colour. Males have only one x chromosome but females have two x chromosomes, this means coloured coat patterns are almost always reserved for female cats. But there is an exception, although very rare, male cats can be born with two x chromosomes which can result in a male tortoiseshell or calico, these male cats are sterile and often face serious health issues.
2. Female cats form colonies and stick together
In the wild female cats live in colonies. Within colonies, female cats help each other raise their kittens and guard the colony against intruders, the queen cats will nurse groom and protect each other’s young. Adult male cats however do not live in colonies. They remain on their own to avoid having to compete for food and females. Female cats also claim much less territory than male cats. In one study, researchers found that on average male cats maintain a territory three times larger than females. For this reason, it is often easier to introduce female cats to other female cats or to introduce one male and one female.
3. A litter of kittens can have multiple fathers
Yes, this is true. Cats can have between one and nine kittens in a litter and kittens in a single litter can have multiple fathers. As you can imagine if a female cat interacts with multiple males during her fertile days, her eggs can be fertilized by more than one male cat. The ability to produce a litter of kittens fathered by more than one cat is known as superfecundation. This helps to explain the differences seen in a single litter not only in the variety of coat colour or length but also the personality of the kittens. Studies have shown that friendly fathers produce friendly kittens, whereas fearful fathers tend to produce more fearful kittens. Interestingly enough superfecundation also happens in other animals such as dogs and horses and although very rare it can also happen in humans with multiple pregnancies.
4. Their behaviours change when they are in heat
It is important to remember that female cats have a heat cycle usually between February to October. During these stages, a female cat will experience stress and anxiety. They meow frequently and are more likely to run away or roam for miles around to find mates. They also frequently make a loud distinct yowling sound to attract male cats. Your female cat may also become unusually affectionate, She may rub up against furniture, doorways and especially your ankles to spread her scent. When a female cat is in heat she is also more likely to spray a concentrated mix of urine on vertical surfaces to leave a scent mark and let the opposite sex know that they’re available. But keep in mind that although female cats can urine mark males are more likely to spray urine because they are more territorial. Spaying your cat will significantly cut down on all these habits because it takes away their urge to search for a mate.
5. The oldest cat ever lived was female
Creampuff was an American cat who died at the age of 38 years and three days. She was the oldest cat ever recorded. On top of dried commercial cat food, Creampuff owner fed her eggs, turkey, bacon, broccoli, coffee with cream and every two days an eye dropper full of red wine. Don’t go replicating that diet though it is important to remember that wine and coffee are toxic to cats so we don’t know how her long life can be explained. It may be that the cat itself was genetically predisposed to living a long life.
6. Females live longer
As in humans, female cats tend to live longer than their male counterparts. On average, the life expectancy of female cats is a year or two more than male cats. Although the exact reason for the longer life expectancy is not fully known. It might be that males are more inclined to fight to roam or experience health problems such as a blocked urethra.
7. Female cats can get pregnant young
If they are not spayed female cats can get pregnant as soon as they reach puberty at 4 months old and in just 10 years one female cat could produce around 49 000 kittens. Therefore it is recommended to get them spayed to avoid any unwanted kittens being born. Unfortunately, there are not enough families to adopt kittens which can lead to cats being abandoned or mistreated.
8. Female cats have several nicknames
Molly is a generic nickname for female cats whether they are kittens or older. When a cat is pregnant or nursing and raising kittens she is called a queen. This is meant to reflect the cat’s importance as well as her protective nature. Female cats are continued to be called queens until they stop nursing kittens. Unneutered male cats however are often referred to as Toms or Tomcats.
9. Female cats are more standoffish
A survey of veterinarians who specialise in cats ranked females as less affectionate than male cats and some studies support the claim that female cats are more standoffish and fearful toward humans. However, it is important to remember that the individual personalities between female and male cats will vary. Other factors such as early socialisation individual personality and reproductive health are the better determiners of how affectionate your cat will be.
10. Female cats are more likely to be right-pawed
Believe it or not, most cats have dominant paws. Scientists have found that cats show a marked preference for the left or right front paw when it comes to knocking things off the table, walking, downstairs or reaching for food. Interestingly enough these preferences differ by sex. Female cats tend to prefer their right paws whereas males are more likely to be lefties. In fact, a study found that 52% of female cats showed a right paw preference 27% showed a left paw preference and 21% showed no preference.
11. Female cats are less likely to scratch
In the wild cats scratch trees and fence posts to mark their territory by leaving both a visual mark and ascent. Cats have scent glands on their paws. By depositing their scent on an area they are marking it as theirs and alerting other felines to their presence. Because male cats are more territorial. They have a stronger urge to scratch furniture, doors and things like carpets. For cats scratching is a normal instinctive behaviour. Be sure to provide your cats with plenty of sturdy scratching posts to help them satisfy their need to claw and scratch.
12. Female cats are harder to get adopted
Multiple studies conducted on animal shelter data have found that female cats had a longer stay at animal shelters than male cats. On average male felines were at the shelter for 6.4 months while female cats were there for 8.3 months. This is likely because many people believe male cats are more loving than female cats. While there is some truth to this. It is important to remember that a cat’s affection towards you primarily depends on the cat’s individual personality. If you are thinking about adopting a feline companion make sure to base your decision on how well you two bond with each other.
13. Spayed female cats live longer
Studies have found that spayed cats live 39% longer than intact females. This is because spaying prevents reproductive diseases such as mammary and breast cancers. Even better it eliminates her risk of developing ovarian and uterine cancers because the ovaries and uterus are removed during the procedure. Sterilisation also reduces the risk of developing malignant tumours and life-threatening infections like pyometra. A spayed feline is also less inclined to roam dangerously. Once an unspayed female enters her heat cycle she will do whatever it takes to find a mate. If she’s indoors she’ll likely attempt to escape outside. This can increase the risk of getting hit by a car, catching diseases and encountering predators which can lead to a shorter lifespan.
Read more: 12 Surprising Facts About Male Cats: CLICK HERE!