Bad news for all you cat lovers: That feline you are obsessed with is a total jerk. Sure, cats are cute, soft, lovable and an endless source of viral GIFs and memes, but in actuality, they kinda suck.
Don't hate us for this blasphemy just yet. We understand your dilemma. Some people just love cats, and to be honest, we can't really blame them for that. Sure, cats are selfishly indifferent to your wellbeing, and in their minds you are their pets, not the other way around, but...look at the kitty!
When you're over that adorable little ball of fuzz, maybe you'll be ready to come to terms with the fact that, even thought you adore your cat, it is a total jerk...
Your cat hears you, but she won't do what you tell her to.
Your cat definitely hears you calling her name, and can even recognize your voice against a stranger's, but the truth of the matter is she doesn't care what you want. A recent study published in the Animal Cognition Journal in July discovered that cats can recognize their owner's voice, but that doesn't mean they will respond to them. The researchers observed 20 domesticated cats in their homes for eight months to monitor how the pets recognize and respond to human voices that call out their names. Fifty to 70 percent of the cats acknowledged the sound of the owner's voice by moving their head or perking up their ears. However, only 10 percent actually responded to the call, by meowing or moving their tails.
This is because cats have not evolved to become domesticated enough to obey human's orders, according to a study by researchers at the University of Tokyo. The study suggested that the reason for this is because cats were historically loners who essentially "domesticated themselves."
Meanwhile, when a cat wants your attention, they might try to get it by knocking some stuff off a table. Or maybe they're just doing that for fun and would prefer you let them do it in peace. Either way, typical jerk behavior.
Some cats actually hate the only thing they're good for: Cuddling.
When researching whether cats live better in homes with other cats or in solitary living situations, Daniel Mills, professor of veterinary behavioral medicine at England's University of Lincoln, discovered that petting may stress out some felines. Mills concluded that cats who live in a home with other cats are less stressed because it's easier for them to avoid being petted by owner, and instead, allow the other cats in the household to take on that burden. Just face it, if Fluffy avoids physical affection, it's not her, it's you.
Just because a cat rubs against you doesn't mean it likes you.
It's nice to feel good about yourself when a jerk cat is finally comfortable enough to brush up against you, but all he's really saying is that he now owns you -- at least in his mind. He isn't making physical contact because he's trying to say he loves you, but because he is trying to make you his property by putting his scent on you. Cats have an extraordinary sense of smell and they know that each cat has his or her own scent. When a cat rubs against you, it's informing other cats that you are its territory.
Your antisocial cat may not even be the smartest pet in your house.
Dogs may be more intelligent than cats because they know how to make friends. A University of Oxford study found that, because dogs are more social animals, they have developed larger brains in order to adapt to the demands of a socializing culture. Cats, on the other hand, thrive in more solitary cultures, and thus, have brains that have not developed as rapidly over time. And if you needed any more proof that cats are bad at making friends, check out these videos of them stealing dog's beds, or refusing to let their canine companions get past them.
One of your cat's favorite ways to "kiss" is through a distant gaze you probably don't even know she's giving.
So, this is kind of creepy: Your cat sends you a welcoming greeting by slowly staring and blinking at you. This slow cat blink, or "kitty kiss," is used by cats to inform whomever it's looking at that they actually like them. Beware though, if your cat looks at you with a long, deep, unblinking stare, it may indicates that the cat is guarding his territory and does not find you welcome at all.
Your love for cats could make you the butt of society's jokes.
If you are a female and you own more than two cats, you may start fearing that people will see you as a "cat lady," a type of person made famous by "The Simpsons," "Saturday Night Live" and real-life stories around the world.
In 2009, a sampling done by the American Pet Products Association found that out of 463 cat owners, 80 percent were female. In a 2010 study, researchers surveyed over 4,500 people, and only 11.5 percent of the people identified themselves as solely a "cat person" (27.7 percent identified themselves as both a dog and cat person). Also, millionaires and business executives are more likely to own dogs than cats. Sure, maybe this is society being a jerk and not the cat, but maybe not.
If you die alone with your cat, it won't hesitate to eat you.
In 1992, at an American Academy of Forensic Sciences conference in New Orleans, a forensic pathologist told a haunting story: He explained that when people who live alone with their pets die unexpectedly, their bodies are sometimes left in the house for several days. Without their owners around to fill their bowls, the pets often go unfed. In cases where these people owned dogs, their pets would usually go several days without resorting to eating the owner's body. However, a cat would only wait a day or two. The phenomenon is called "postmortem predation."
Cats don't give a damn about sugar and spice and all that's nice.
Unlike every other mammal examined to date, cats are the only ones who do not have the required number of taste receptors to taste sweetness. They lack 247 base pairs of the amino acids that make up the DNA of the Tas1r2 gene -- an essential gene to code for the proper protein to taste anything sweet. Instead, cats can taste adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the compound that supplies the energy in every living cell, which means they're more interested in finding animals (read: meat).
And that could be part of why it's such a vicious killer.
Biologists published a study in the Natural Communications Journal in January 2013 that stated that domestic cats kill as many as 3.7 billion birds and 20.7 billion smaller animals, including mice, voles and chipmunks each year. Another study, conducted by researchers at the University of Georgia, attached video cameras to 60 cats and concluded that about one-third of a cat's day is spent killing, or at least attempting to kill, small creatures.
Sometimes cats kill for fun, but other times, they kill to catch you presents, in the form of shredded little animals. While these gifts can be a form of tribute to their dominant master, sometimes it's also a cat trying to remind you just how bad you are at hunting these critters for yourself.
Your cat makes you clean up toxic poop.
Cleaning out your kitty's litter box is more than just a chore -- it could be affecting your brain and health. Your cat's feces may contain the Toxoplasma gondii parasite. If contacted, it can (rarely) cause a disease called toxoplasmosis. Most people just get flu-like symptoms if they contract the disease, but in people with weakened immune systems, it can be fatal. The disease has also been linked to some serious mental conditions, including schizophrenia, depression and anxiety, and health professionals have warned pregnant women to drop the kitty litter duty to avoid risk of miscarriage or other effects.
Their poop could make you like cats so much that you start hoarding them.
Some more freaky details about Toxoplasma gondii: The parasite can only reproduce in the digestive tracts of cats. When another species becomes infected, the parasite wires it to find its way back into a cat, which means that Toxoplasma has developed a complex system of overtaking the host's brain to increase the chance that it will be eaten by one. There has been some speculation that this could be the reason why the "cat lady" who owns an excessive number of felines exists. Because Toxoplasma can affect the mental conditions of people infected, some individuals develop an intense, almost obsessive attraction to cats. Those infected with Toxoplasma have even been known to develop a fondness for the smell of cat urine. That's right: A study found that infected individuals found the smell of cat urine "pleasant."
As if that wasn't enough, cats also use their purring to further control you.
Your cat knows exactly what he's doing when he makes that grating sound of a purr mixed with a high-pitched cry. He's manipulating you. Research has shown that the particular cry a cat makes is very similar to human infant cries. Karen McComb, a scientist who studies vocal communication in mammals at the University of Sussex, ran a series of tests on 50 cats and their owners' responses to the cats' purrs. When she removed the cry sound from the purrs, she noticed that the owner's sense of urgency extremely diminished. The final theory is that cats dramatize and exaggerate their cries in order to get something from their owner -- usually it's food.
Your cat cleans herself because she thinks you stink.
While licking themselves does provide a calming effect for the cat, the more important point to remember is that after being handled, cats lick themselves to smooth their fur and get rid of the "human" smell.
Also, this is what a wet cat looks like.
But even if cats are really just total jerks...
In the end, there's nothing quite like a cute, fluffy kitten.
Clarification: Language that suggested ATP affects a cat's ability to hunt has been amended to indicate more clearly that it influences rather the type of dinner a cat is likely to seek out.