Cats, rabbits and guinea pigs are popular pets in Hong Kong. They are relatively easy to care for and don't take up much room - perfect for small-apartment living. They are also rather fascinating, as these fun facts show.

CATS

Cats are not just popular in Hong Kong, they are one of the most popular pets in the world. While an exact number of domesticated felines globally is near impossible to pin down, sources have estimated that it could be as many as 500 million.

Cats sleep a lot, on average 13 to 14 hours a day. This helps them conserve energy, so that when they want to play, they can do so with focus and intensity.

Feline flexibility developed to enable them to hunt for small animals, such as mice and rats, allowing them to get into small spaces, under a sofa, say, to spy on their prey.

Other hunting strengths can be found in the way they walk. A cat's back paws land in almost exactly the same place as their front paws step, keeping noise to a minimum and increasing the element of surprise as they slowly and quietly creep up on their prey.

Also in their hunting arsenal is a powerful night vision - they can see objects at night at light levels six times lower than humans require. They also have excellent hearing and a sharp sense of smell.

"Clowder" is the name for a group of cats, or, alternatively, they are called a "clutter" or a "glaring". The collective noun for kittens meanwhile is a "kindle".

RABBITS

The adjective "fluffy" is commonly used to describe rabbits, but they are far from fluffy at birth. In fact, they come into the world with no fur and their eyes can remain closed for up to two weeks.

Rabbits have nearly 360-degree vision, which allows them to detect predators from nearly all directions. Interestingly, rabbits can see everything behind them, their blind spot is in front of their nose. They also have an excellent sense of smell, hearing and vision.

A rabbit's ability to leap far is due to extremely strong hind limbs, and they have the ability to jump up to one-metre high, and cover a distance of three metres.

A common term for a rabbit displaying sheer joy is "binky" - this is when it jumps into the air, twists its body and head in opposite directions, and flicks its feet, sometimes twice, before falling to the ground. A binky can be executed from a stationary position or when running.

Young rabbits are called "kits" or "kittens".

Rabbits are most active at dawn and dusk, and the term for this is "crepuscular".

The rabbit is one of the animals in the Chinese zodiac and is said to have the qualities of elegance, graciousness, tenderness, kindness, sensitivity and compassion.

GUINEA PIGS

Guinea pigs originated in South America and studies indicate they do not exist naturally in the wild, but are the domesticated descendants of a closely related species.

On their home turf of the Andes mountains, they have been used to find illnesses in people - the guinea pig goes around the person and when it comes to where the source of the disease is, they are said to let out a squeaking sound.

This is not the only noise they make; they can also purr like a cat when being held or petted and, when excited, such as at feeding time or when its owner greets it after being out, it may make a whistle sound. Guinea pigs also squeal when frightened and have been known to "sing" by rubbing their teeth in a certain way, which indicates fear. Baby guinea pigs are called "pups", an adult male a "boar", and an adult female a "sow" - but they are not related to pigs (they are rodents), nor as the name would suggest, are they from Guinea.

When born they have all their fur, claws that they can use, open eyes and they can eat solid food.

Guinea pigs normally have 14 toes, four on each front paw and three on each hind paw.

They need to be handled with care. Being too rough can easily lead to the breaking of some of their 258 bones.

Their teeth continue to grow but are kept from becoming overly long through a diet that includes foods on which they can gnaw to wear down the teeth. 

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