Cats walk side by side
Cats enjoy playing and it is important for improving their motor skillsGetty

It is International Cat Day – an annual celebration of one of the world's favourite animal companions. We don't need any more reason to love cats but, just in case, here are 20 reasons why our feline friends are incredible creatures.

  1. Cats sleep for two-thirds – almost 70% – of their lives, usually spending between 13 and 16 hours of the day asleep.
  2. There are over 500 million domestic cats in the world.
  3. Cats are unable to taste sweet things.
  4. Cats are good for your mental health. A study, by the charity Cats Protection, of more than 600 cat and non cat-owners (with half attesting to mental health problems) found that 87% of feline lovers saw looking after a cat as having a positive impact on well-being.

  5. Adult cats 'miaow' to communicate with humans rather than each other.
  6. Cats use their whiskers as sensors to find out how wide a space is – and whether they can fit through it.
  7. A cat's heart beats two to three times faster than a human's.
  8. A cat's tongue has rows of hooked scales that act like a comb to groom its fur.
  9. Cats only sweat through their paws.
    KITTENS
    Cats only sweat through their pawsReuters
  10. Cats enjoy playing and it is important for improving their motor skills, encouraging social behaviour and providing brain training.
  11. A group of cats is called a clowder.
  12. A cat has the ability to jump up to six times its length.
  13. Cats can detect higher frequencies of sound than dogs or humans.
  14. Cats have powerful, tightly controlled muscles and fast reflexes that allow them to move quickly – they skilled at stalking, running, jumping and climbing.
  15. Morris the cat's 2013 bid to become mayor of Xalapa, Mexico fuelled a social media frenzy, with The Facebook page for the Candigato (gato is cat in Spanish) garnering 130,000 'likes'.
    Cats communication
    Cats can see at one-sixth the light level required for human visionMohamed Aymen Bettaieb/Flickr creative commons
  16. Cats communicate using visual indications, such as scratch marks.
  17. Cats are believed to have been domesticated in ancient Egypt.
  18. The Maine Coon is the largest breed of domesticated cat.
  19. Cats have good night vision and can see at one-sixth the light level required for human vision.
  20. Domestic cats purr at a frequency of 20 to 30 vibrations per second.