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The Kitty Numbers Racket

Interesting Numerological Facts About Cats, and What They Mean to Us


Photo of Cat With Questions

Kitty Numbers Racket

Image © Franny Syufy

Some people are fascinated with numerology, and even order their lives upon aspects of that belief. The fear of Fridy the 13th is a good example. I am particularly interested in numbers, as they relate to cats. Here are some sometimes fun, sometimes tragic numbers, and how you can help correct some of the tragic ones.

The human equivalent in years that a kitten will reach at the end of his first year. For more information on how cats' age compared to human age is determined, how long cats can be expected to live and more facts about cats' life spans, see How Old is My Cat?

The chances of a human 'catching' AIDS from an FIV+ cat. Although Feline Immumodeficiency Virus is a retrovirus similar to HIV, it is not a Zoonotic disease.

The percentage of cats in the U.S. estimated to be FIV positive.

110 - 140

The average number of feline heartbeats per minute.

101.5 - 102.5
Normal temperature (Farenheit) of a cat.

The average number of bones in a cat's body. (About 40 more than humans) The number of cats' bones will vary, however, depending on the length of his tail and the number of toes. Normally, cats have 18 toes in total (Five in each front foot, and four in each back foot.) Polydactyl cats may have up to 27 or 28 toes on their feet. The cat once listed in the Guiness Book of Records, had 27 toes, and was named Tiger or Jake, depending on the website listing that claim. However I have not been able to verify that due to changes with the ownership and format of Guiness records-keeping.

The approximate number of kittens born in the U.S. each day. Failure to spay and neuter our pet cats is the number one cause of the cat overpopulation problems we see today.

The year of the first cat show in America. From Sarah Hartwell: "Though cat shows were featured at county fairs in 1860s New England, America, most people date the beginning of the American cat fancy from a show organised in 1895." That show was held at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The number of muscles in each ear of a cat. These muscles allow the cat to rotate his ears for "directional hearing," for self protection, and to hear prey such as mice scurring in nearby grass. Cats also use their ears for balance, which gives them the amazing ability to right themselves prior to landing from a fall. Cats also have a superior sense of hearing compared to humans, from 45 to 64,000 HZ, compared to 64-23,000 HZ in humans.

The age of the oldest cat on record. (Owners of a cat in the U.S. now claim that their cat is 37, but that has not been officially verified.)

The number of vocalization sounds from an average cat. (My hard-of-hearing Shannon came up with a few new ones during his final year.) Interestingly, cats do not meow at other cats - that special kind of cat talk is reserved for their humans.

Record for the largest number of kittens in a litter.

The year of the first formal cat show in the world. (In London, England)

The estimated number of known cat breeds.

295 million
The approximate amount (in USD) spent annually in the U.S. for kitty litter. We've come a long way since the 1940s when Edward Lowe started marketing Fuller's Earth as "Kitty Litter."

62+ MPH
The speed at which Cheetahs can run, in short spurts.

100 to 400
The potential number of cats that can result from a single pair of cats and their kittens, over a seven-year period.

The approximate number of years ago now believed to be the time of the first domestication of the cat.

The percentage of chance at which an outdoor cat will be exposed to toxoplasmosis at some time during its life.


The equivalent in human years of a 12 year old cat. Much like humans, cats will be considered seniors at that age, and will need a solid plan of veterinary care to help them maximize their Golden Years.


The number of years it may take a Maine Coon to reach his full growth and development.

The number of permanent adult teeth in a cat's mouth, split evenly between the upper and lower jaws. So far, dentures have not been designed for cats, and it is crucial to their overall health to initiate a regular dental plan at an early age.

The average life span (in years) of "unmanaged" feral cats. Thanks to groups such as Alley Cat Allies, managed feral colonies are spayed and neutered, given vaccinations, and fed regularly. Their number go down by attrition, as they jealously guard their colonies against outside cats. Those stray cats and kittens who have been abandoned by their owners, and are not fully feral are fostered or taken to shelters where they might find homes.

The average number of days in a gestation period for felines.

The number of cycles per second in a cat's purr (about the same number as a diesel engine). (See "The Remarkable Purr of a Cat" for more.)

13 Million
The estimated number of animals euthanized in shelters every year in the U.S. The only way to slow or stop this wholesale killing of animals is to spay and neuter our cats and dogs, and to keep them indoors, at least until they have been neutered.

The year of birth of T.S. Eliot, author of "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats," the source of Andrew Lloyd Weber's famous Broadway musical, "Cats."

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