Cats can be allergic to people.
Source: Original photo by Linda Raymond/ iStock
Next Fact

Cats can be allergic to people.

If you love cats but can’t have one of your own because you’re allergic, the feeling may be mutual. It isn’t common, but cats can be allergic to people. The condition is rare in part because we humans usually bathe regularly and thus don’t shed as much dead skin or hair as other animals (and it’s somewhat unclear how much of a problem human dander may be for felines). That said, cats are fairly sensitive to chemicals and sometimes have a negative reaction to certain perfumes, laundry detergents, and soaps. Cat allergic reactions look much the same as the ones humans get — they may manifest as sneezing, runny noses, rashes, hives, or other uncomfortable symptoms. In rare cases, cats can even be allergic to dogs. (Maybe that’s why some of them don’t get along.)

Cats can have milk every day.
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It's a Fib
Though some cats can have a little, as a treat, most are lactose intolerant and should not be given cow milk. It has no nutritional benefits and simply isn’t good for them, however cute they may be while lapping up a saucerful.

Yet our feline friends are more likely to have the same seasonal allergies as us — especially grass and pollen — as well as year-round problems with dust mites and fleas. As much as 30% of the human population with allergies is allergic to either cats or dogs, with allergies to cats being twice as common as allergies to their canine counterpart. While ailurophiles (cat lovers) may consider that a fate worse than death, the good news is there are a number of hypoallergenic breeds who are less likely to make you sneeze.

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Numbers Don’t Lie
Percentage of DNA shared by cats and tigers
Bones in a cat’s body, on average (it’s 206 bones for most adult humans)
U.S households with a pet cat
31.9 million
Different sounds made by cats
Cats can’t taste _______.
Cats can’t taste sweetness.
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Think Twice
Ernest Hemingway had a number of six-toed cats.

The Nobel Prize winner wasn’t kidding when he said that “one cat just leads to another." After being given a polydactyl (six-or-more-toed) cat by a ship captain and naming the feline Snow White, Hemingway couldn’t help but accumulate more — and naming them after famous people. (Most cats have five toes on their front paws and four on the back, for a total of 18, but at least one polydactyl cat in Canada had seven on each paw for a record-setting 28.) Following his death in 1961, Hemingway’s former home in Key West, Florida, was converted into a museum that today is home to roughly 60 polydactyl cats. The six-toed celebrities bring so many visitors to the Hemingway Home and Museum, in fact, that they have their own app.

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