13 Cat Qualities

Many cat qualities leave us fascinated: Intelligence, skill, sociability, independence... Aren't they amazing? Keep reading to discover more!
13 Cat Qualities
Sara González Juárez

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Sara González Juárez.

Last update: 31 August, 2023

The qualities that cats possess can be endless, making them perfect companions in the home. It should come as no surprise that, after dogs, they’re the most popular pets among caregivers. At My Animals, we love cats for many reasons, and below, we’ll tell you about our favorite cat qualities.

Cat qualities

You’ll surely be surprised by all the qualities of cats that you didn’t know until today. Some of them are very noticeable, others quite surprising, and some perhaps a little unbelievable, but the truth is that they’re all very interesting. Below, and in no particular order, we’ll tell you what they are. Surely, they’ll make you want to have a cat as a pet. Take note!

1. They’re clean

Cats always go to the bathroom in established places, so if you get them used to using the litter box and keep it clean, they’ll have no problem going to the bathroom on their own. In addition, they groom themselves daily with their tongues, so you can say that they bathe themselves with their saliva to keep their fur impeccable.

A cat in a litter box.

2. They’re family-friendly

A big mistake some people make is expecting cats to behave like dogs. Although cats are very affectionate, they have their own way of showing affection and making their humans feel part of their family. Among the most common actions they use to show affection are rubbing their head and body against their caregivers, licking their caregivers’ face or hair, and giving them small nibbles on their hands or feet.

3. They’re independent

One of the main cat qualities is that they’re very independent in some of their daily tasks. They love to have their own space and aren’t as attached to their caregivers as dogs can be.

Having routines such as going to the bathroom in the litter box and not relying on a walk to relieve themselves allows us to leave them alone while we go out to work, study, or run errands. However, this doesn’t mean that we can leave them alone for long periods of time.

Cats also need to feel that they can count on their humans, as their presence reduces stress a lot.

4. They’re crafty and curious

Cats are natural hunters, so it’s no wonder they’re constantly on the lookout for a target. They go around the house looking for holes of all sizes to enter or surfaces of different heights to jump on, but that doesn’t mean they’re always successful.

5. They’re great hunters

From birth, cats develop predatory skills that help them have fun, in the case of domestic cats, and food, in the case of feral cats.

While this can be of great use to them, cat caregivers may be startled if their pets ever surprise them with a dead mouse or other small animal. Remember that this is part of their instincts, so it’s a mistake to scold them.

6. They’re sentimental

It’s a mistake to humanize animals, as they’re not capable of feeling guilt or shame. However, it’s possible for them to express sadness, happiness, or anger. In the case that a person moves to a new home without them, the cat will feel melancholic for some time.

7. They’re intelligent

Cats, besides being instinctive, are capable of learning through experience. That’s why their caregivers can tame them by teaching them commands, for example, for mealtime. Also, cats learn to communicate through meows and gestures with their humans, so it’s important to research and learn about their body language.

8. They’re always alert

Even though cats sleep an average of 16 hours a day, they never stop being alert. This is because, thanks to their vibrissae (what looks like whiskers) they can perceive vibrations in the air and notice changes in their environment, for example, when someone approaches them.

9. They have excellent night vision

Vision is another of the best and most special cat qualities, as they only perceive the colors blue, green, and yellow. However, compared to humans, their vision is much wider. While humans have a visual range of 180 degrees, cats have a visual range of 200 degrees.

In addition, during the night, their pupils dilate almost completely, so that they can perceive the slightest hint of light in the environment and that’s why they never stumble, no matter how dark a room is.

10. They’re good balancers

Cats have a great talent for keeping their balance even when walking in high and narrow places. This is due to the little hairs that cover their inner ear, which allow them to synchronize their steps in a precise way.

11. They have a highly developed sense of smell

Unlike humans who have 5 million olfactory cells, cats have 200 million cells sensitive to smell. This allows them to refine their sense of hunting, as well as to detect scents that represent danger, such as enemies that are nearby.

A fluffy gray and white lying outdoors with its eyes closed.

But that’s not all. As VCA Animals Hospitals points out, cats have a special organ called Jacobson’s organ. This operates as a secondary olfactory system for specific chemicals through a series of nerves that conduct the information directly to the brain. Thanks to it, their olfactory system is further enhanced.

12. Their purr is special

Although it’s not a unique characteristic of felines, we can say that it’s one of the most distinctive. Experts are unsure how or why they do it. It has been documented that cats purr when they’re calm, excited, hungry, angry, stressed, in pain, and even before they die.

For many, purring is an evolutionary mechanism whose main intention, at least in the cat-human relationship, is to send an “I’m not a threat” signal. In any case, and as already outlined, much depends on the context. Most domestic cats produce between 20 and 30 vibrations per second during purring.

13. Cats scratch the furniture for multiple reasons

Another behavior that’s part of the qualities of cats is that they tend to scratch sofas, curtains, and other objects within their reach with their claws. There are multiple reasons behind it, ranging from boredom, marking their territory, and sharpening their claws. Sometimes, they do it to satisfy all of these at the same time.

When cats have access to a natural environment, they tend to do so in tree roots and other places. At home, you can set up a specific area with the help of scratching posts so that they can do this without destroying your furniture. This is an innate behavior, so you should try to satisfy the need without compromising the animal’s integrity (for example, by declawing or punishing your pet).

The qualities of cats make them wonderful pets

There are many advantages of having a cat as a pet, as the qualities they present are those that make them the best companion animals for those who love independent beings. If you want to adopt a cat, keep in mind that they’re clean, intelligent, and very grateful animals.

Don’t expect them to be exactly like dogs, as they’re very different species, but with one by your side, you’ll be sure to enjoy companionship, affection, and a lot of happiness in your life.

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The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.