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Cat conundrums

Do you know what a female cat is called? Or why cats lick you? Why do cats purr? Why do cats knead? And is it true that cats only meow at humans, not at other cats? Test your feline knowledge with our fun cat conundrums quiz.

Answers are at the bottom – but no peeking!

The Questions

Q1: What is a female cat called?

  1. a) A princess b) A duchess c) A queen

Q2: Why does your cat lick you?

  1. a) Because you taste nice b) To show they like you c) To clean their tongue

Q3: Why do cats purr?

  1. a) Because they’re happy b) Because they’re frightened c) Because they feel unwell

Q4: Why do cats knead?

  1. a) To exercise their paws b) Because they’re feeling contented c) To activate the scent glands in their paws

Q5: Can cats eat cheese and drink milk?

  1. a) Yes b) They shouldn’t eat cheese, but they can have milk c) No, dairy foods are not good for cats

Q6: Why do cats meow?

  1. a) To ask for food b) To ask to be let out c) Because they want to play

Q7: When can a cat have kittens?

  1. a) When they’re four months old b) When they’re six months old c) When they’re a year old

Q8: Why do cats sleep so much?

  1. a) Because they can – they don’t have jobs b) Because they’re naturally quite lazy c) To store energy

Q9: Why do cats scratch furniture?

  1. a) To stretch their muscles and keep their claws in good condition b) To anoint everything from table legs to the sofa with their personal scent c) To annoy their human

Q10: Why does your cat bite you?

  1. a) To show that they’re a wild cat at heart b) To demonstrate they’re at the top of the household hierarchy c) Because they’re worried about feeling too relaxed

Q11: What is a group of cats called?

  1. a) a catastrophe b) a clowder c) a caterwaul

Q12: If you love cats, what are you?

  1. a) A felineophile b) An ailurophile c) A catophile

THE ANSWERS

Q1 ANSWER: c) A female cat that has not been neutered is known as a queen. A neutered female cat is known as a molly.


Q2 ANSWER: a) and b) Cats often lick other cats and animal family members to show their affection. According to animal behaviourists, your cat is most likely licking you because it’s their way of showing they really like you. It could also be because they like the way you taste. Feline experts suggest that some cats develop a penchant for the taste of the salts that build up naturally in human sweat.


Q3 ANSWER: a) b) and c) Cats don’t only purr when they’re happy – they may also purr when they’re frightened or feeling unwell or in pain as a way of comforting themselves. If your cat exhibits this behaviour, it’s vital to get them checked out by your vet.


Q4 ANSWER: b) and c) The habit of kneading comes from kittenhood when baby cats knead their mother’s stomach to increase the flow of milk. Cats knead when they're happy and it’s meant as a compliment to their human – although this can also mean that the happier your cat is, the harder they knead you! Cats also knead their paws onto surfaces to activate the scent glands inside their paws to mark an area as their territory – so it’s another sign that they’re feeling really comfortable hanging out with you.


Q5 ANSWER: c) While it’s true that kittens must drink their mother’s milk or specially formulated kitten milk provided by a vet, adult cats should not be given milk. This is because once weaned, cats become lactose intolerant and lose the ability to produce the enzyme needed to properly digest it. They also shouldn’t eat cheese. Cats are what’s known as ‘obligate’ or ‘true carnivores’, which means they must eat meat to survive and thrive. Obligate carnivores require nutrients found only in animal flesh. The optimum diet to help your cat stay healthy and happy is one that supplies the correct number of calories and balance of nutrients for their size, life stage and lifestyle. This means calculating the nutrient content and dietary components such as protein, fat, carbohydrate and vitamins and minerals required. This is what our expert team of nutritionists do when we create our delicious recipes. Burgess Cat Food is a complete food. This means, whatever variety you choose for your cat, you know that it will contain all the nutrients they need in the correct balance.


Q6 ANSWER: a), b) and c) Essentially, meows are demands: Let me OUT. Let me IN. Pet me. Play with me. FEED me! As a cat becomes more insistent, his or her meows may grow more strident and lower-pitched until they get the response they require from their human. Cats communicating with other cats use a combination of scent signals, body postures and a range of vocalisations including yowling, hissing and growling. However, meowing isn’t one of them. This is something they’ve adopted just for humans. Feline experts believe this is because cats have figured out that that their human guardians are not great at noticing or understanding cat body language.


Q7 ANSWER: a) Young cats can have kittens of their own from just four months of age. With their independent lifestyles, accidental pregnancy is a big risk, with one female capable of having up to 18 kittens a year. Cat pregnancy lasts for nine weeks and a female cat can get pregnant again just six weeks after giving birth – even more reason to get your cats neutered as soon as possible. Queens can have between one and nine kittens in a litter, although usually there are between four and six.


Q8 ANSWER: c) Cats are crepuscular, which means that their activity levels peak during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk. Between these times, they take life easy in readiness for what they perceive as their next ‘hunt', which will likely require an intense burst of energy.


Q9 ANSWER: a) and b) For your cat, scratching stuff is really, really important and it’s an activity that plays a large part in health and wellbeing. When a cat scratches, they are stretching muscles and keeping their claws in optimum condition. Cats also have scent glands between their toes in the pads of their feet, so they’re also leaving behind their personal scent. You can try, however, to encourage them to use a scratching post rather than the table leg.


Q10 ANSWER: c) If your cat bites you when you’re stroking or petting it, this is something that is referred to by feline behaviour experts as the ‘petting and biting syndrome/threshold’. Feline welfare charity, International Cat Care , explains this further: “Many cats enjoy the sensation of being stroked since it is like being groomed by their mothers when they were tiny kittens. However, the adult cat has a strong instinctive survival mechanism, and they can feel vulnerable to attack if they allow themselves to become too relaxed and comfortable. They develop a sense of conflict between pleasure and potential danger, and this can result in a sudden aggressive gesture to escape from the situation.”


Q11 ANSWER: b) A group of felines is known as ‘a clowder of cats’. First recorded in 1795-1805, clowder is a variant of ‘clodder’ or clotted mass – perhaps referring to the way that bonded cats curl up with each other. A litter of kittens is sometimes called ‘a kindle’.


Q12 ANSWER: Cat lovers are known as ailurophiles. This rather unusual word comes from a combination of the Greek word ‘ailouros’, which means ‘cat’, and the suffix –‘phile’, meaning ‘lover.’ And, if you’ve got most of the answers right, you can definitely class yourself as one!


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At Burgess, all our cat food is made using premium ingredients and is high in protein, to ensure excellent quality and superior taste to help keep your cat happy and healthy – from kitten, to adult and mature and our award-winning variety for neutered cats.

CARE MORE Find out more about caring for your cat from the pet experts >>


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