If you are a fan of riddles, then you may have heard the one asking which side of the cat has the most fur. This tends to be used as a joke of sorts, with the answer being…wait for it… the outside!
But, is there an actual question framed beneath this joke/riddle?
With this in mind, we are going to be looking at this question to see if there is an actual answer to be had and if cats really do have more fur on a certain side. Let's get started
What You Need To Know About Cat Fur
Before we can answer this question, there are certain things that you need to know specifically about cat fur, so let's go through some facts.
Cats Have A Lot Of Fur
Certain breeds of cats might be hairless, but most cats have a lot of fur, especially long-haired cats with thick coats such as Maine Coons and Persians. The average cat has over 130,000 hair!
Cat Fur Grows Incredibly Quickly
Cats fur is in a constant cycle that is made up of shedding hair, growing hair and resting phases.
The average growth rate is different for a cat's secondary hair and guard hair, with secondary hair growing at 0.010 inches a day on average and guard hair growing at 0.011 inches a day on average.
As we mentioned above, one of the cycles of growth includes a resting phase.
These phases change with the seasons. Summer is the season where 50% of secondary hairs and 30% of guard hairs are in resting phase.
Winter is the season where 90% of secondary hairs and 75% of guard hairs are in their resting phases.
Each Hair On A Cat Has Three Layers
Each of these hairs have three individual layers, with the center of every hair having a layer consisting of cellular cavities.
This layer of cavities is encased in a tissue, which is where the melanin of the cat is. The top layer of cat hair is known as the outer cuticle, and it refers to the hard cell layer.
The Color Of A Cat's Fur Is Decided By Genes
Much like with humans, cats receive a lot of their physical traits depending on the genes that are passed down to them from their parents.
However, this doesn't mean that all cats born within the same litter- and to the same parents- will have the same coat color.
It all depends on whether certain recessive or dominant genes for certain colorations are present and are passed down to the offspring.
Whereas some breeds only have one or two colors, other breeds of cats have a wider range of color variations.
One Layer Of A Cat's Fur Acts As Insulation
Whilst we are on the subject of layers, cats also have a layer of fur that acts as an insulative coat. This is the first layer of their fur,, and they are known as primary hairs.
Primary hairs tend to be made up of thick guard hairs that are straight and coarse. These hairs taper off at the end to create a thin tip.
Not only do these hairs insulate a cat's body, they also protect their skin and enhance their sense of touch.
There Are Also Two More Layers Within The Fur
Alongside the primary hair layer, cats also have a layer of secondary hairs, which can be found within the undercoat.
The second layer has more to it than any other layer of hair, and it is used to help regulate body temperature.
Cat Fur Has Different Parts
There are several different parts that make up a cat's hair, just like human hair.
These parts consist of the main hair shaft- which is made up of keratin- and the root of the hair, which will sit within a hair follicle just below the skin's outer layer.
Of course, there is also the exposed section of the hair- known as the shaft- which is what we see when we look at our feline friends.
A Cat's Fur Is Attached To Muscles
The Arrector pili are the muscles that are attached to the hair follicles of a cat. These muscles are what allow a cat to make their fur stand on end when they are frightened or angry.
The Shine On A Cat's Fur Comes From The Sweat Glands
Cats are known for having glistening fur, and this happens because of what is happening below the skin of the cat.
This glisten comes from a tiny sweat gland that is housed in the root of each individual hair. The shine comes from the thick substance that is secreted from these glands, which then spreads along every hair.
So, What Side Of A Cat Actually Has The Most Fur?
Now that we have all the information we need on cat fur, is there actually a side that has more fur?
Well, this will depend on the breed and the type of coat that they have, such as whether you have a long haired or a short haired breed.
A cat's fur is meant to protect them and keep them safe from the elements, and so most cats have thinner and less dense fur on their bellies. Again, this will differ depending on the breed of cat.
For instance, cat breeds that are more prone to colder climates are likely to have more fur on the underside of their bellies in order to keep them warm.
Despite the question of “what side of a cat has the most fur”, being more of a riddle and a joke than a serious question, there is actually a genuine answer to be found underneath!
A cat's fur will differ depending on their breed, as will the side that has the most fur.
At Love4Cats, our practice involves consistent collaboration with licensed veterinarians and reputable industry experts. However, it's important to note that the content provided on Excited Cats is not intended as veterinary advice. While we strive to enhance your understanding of feline care, the information presented on this blog should not replace professional veterinary guidance.