A SPECIAL NOTE:
Click on the purple button at The Animal Rescue Site
and give food to an animal living in a shelter or sanctuary --at no cost to you.
You'll also see tabs on the site to support Literacy and other programs.
Here's a clever, adorable video supporting the
spaying and neutering of cats:
The Fix by Five Months program advocates that the age for spaying/neutering cats be lowered to 5 months or less. See their website for more information.
Many celebrities love and live with cats. Find the list HERE.
DOWNLOAD sounds of cats purring on your desktop or tablet HERE.
FUN CAT SITES: The Caboodle Ranch
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The Six Life Stages of Cats:
The oldest cat to give birth was Kitty who, at the
age of 30, gave birth to two kittens.
To calculate your cat's age: www.npwm.com/petagecalculator.htm
Days to Honor Pets are listed in
June is Adopt a Shelter Cat month; November is Adopt a Senior Pet
month; September is Happy Cat Month;
Pets.Answers.com is a comprehensive, informative guide with articles and tips on dogs, cats, birds and other pets. Resident expert is Lorie Huston, a veterinarian with over 25 years of experience. Lorie is also the 2014 president of the Cat Writers' Association, and her cats belong to Simon Teakettle's Fan Club.
An excellent article about finding a lost cat: http://tinyurl.com/nrchy2q
The word cat is very similar in many languages: French
-kat; German - katz; Spanish - gato; Italian - gatto;
Dutch - kat; Danish - kot; Polish - kut;
Egyptian - kott; Russian - kat or katsi; African
- kedi; Turkish - gatz; Armenian - keko;
Japanese - mao or mio; Arabic - bass; Indonesian
- puss; Chinese - mao
Tempe Katz-Couvrette, a member of Terzo's MEWSical Society, lives in the Northwest Territories. Since her food dish is right by a window, she can watch a dinner-theatre production performed by a local squirrel stealing bird seed from a bucket. See it HERE and go to Terzo's Fan Club to see Tempe's pals, the llama, alpacas and two dogs who have been joined by a parrot, goat, pig, horse, rabbit, ducks, hens and cats in the club.
A cats brain is biologically more similar to a human brain than it is to a dogs. Both humans and cats have identical regions in their brains that are responsible for emotions.
New research has revealed that the affiliation between people and cats dates back at least as far as the dawn of agricultureabout 12,000 years. Researchers analyzed DNA from the remains of 209 cats from more than 30 archaeological sites across Europe, the Middle East and Africa dated back to the period when humans lived as hunter-gatherers. It is thought that when early farmers saw the value of having cats around for rodent control, thats when they began to tame them. Another study says that wild cats were known to live among people over 100,000 years ago in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) and were domesticated there around 12,000 BC at about the same time as dogs, sheep and goats.
Cats began living side-by-side with humans about 9,000 years ago when farmers in the Near East seem to have first tamed their wild ancestors. That lineage, first appearing in the Near East, then spread into Europe beginning around 4400 BC and another line of Egyptian cats moved throughout the Mediterranean along trade routes and paths of war (potentially to help control rodents on ships) during the first millennium BC. They then mated with local cats - tame or wild.
The genetic variant responsible for the distinct markings of tabby cats weren't found at a high frequency until after the Middle Ages, suggesting cats were until relatively recently selected for their behavior not their looks.
Scientists found that house cats had more mutations in genes known to decrease aggression, help with memory formation, and allow learning based on positive and negative reinforcement. They also had genes that help in the digestion of plants -- probably because domestic cats had more food available if they could stomach all human scraps -- while wildcats are totally carnivorous.
Rsearchers from Oregon State University and Monmouth University tested 50 cats both from peoples homes and from a shelter and deprived them of food, toys, and people for a few hours. Then, researchers presented the cats with different stimuli within four categories: human socialization, food, scent, and toys. The researchers concluded that there were no significant differences between the homed and the shelter cats, and that most cats preferred human socialization to any of the other categories. Half of the cats preferred social interaction to every other stimulus type, while only 37 percent preferred food.
There are 37 distinct species of cats, from the smallest house cat to the 600 lb. tiger. Species include those with webbed paws to help them swim long distances, and those with special tufts on their ears to sharpen their hearing. The Serval has the longest ears, which can rotate 180 degrees. Only big cats roar; small cats purr. Lions are very social, and will cooperate to hold territories, with males joining forces to hunt prey, and females caring for each other's young. The most ancient is the clouded leopard, and there are 13 species of cats which originate in the Americas.
There are more than 500 million domestic cats in the world, with approximately 40 recognized breeds.
Among the smartest cat breeds are the Siamese, Abyssinian, Bengal, Singapura, Tonkinese, and Cornish Rex.
Cats are North Americas most popular pets: there are 73 million cats compared to 63 million dogs. Over 30% of households in North America own a cat.
The World Capital of Cats seems to be Ciorani, Romania. The domestic cat population of Ciorani in Romania is nearly four times that of the human population
Piebald is the term used when an animal's coat is two colors, one of which is white. It was once believed that this was the result of sluggish genes that dont move fast enough to cover the coat. Science is now leaning toward proof that two-tone cats are created in the womb by a faulty version of genes that dont multiply at a normal rate. Tuxedos are very poplar, and although most are black and white, some, like the first two Simon Teakettle's, were almost all black, with just a tiny white spot on the throat.
Terzo was a true tuxedo, and Penny is what is called a "smoke tuxedo" whose colors are "cream" and grey. Tuxedos have green to greenish-gold eyes.
Kittens are born with blue eyes, which may stay that way or change color as the kitten matures. For instance, all pointed cats have blue eyes. Cats who are solid white or mostly white may have blue, green, gold or copper eyes. The most common eye colors range from greenish-yellow to gold.
The first and only cat to fly into space was a tuxedo named Félicette. In 1963, she flew 100 miles above the earth in a CNES rocket. CNES is the French equivalent of NASA.
Tuxedos can be male or female, but among orange tabbies there are more males than females, and calico or tortoiseshell cats are almost always female.
Aragon is a rescue dog who lives in Greece alongside his human, a volunteer for Second Chance Animal Rescue Society. Last week, the duo were on a walk when Aragon discovered a box of abandoned kittens near the mountain of Immitos. Fortunately, the kittens were in alive, so Aragon and his human took them home. Without missing a beat, Aragon assumed the role of foster dad and began treating the kittens as his own. He cleans them, carries them, nuzzles them, and generally serves as the perfect parent to the orphaned kitties. After receiving such good care, the baby cats are now ready to be adopted into their fur-ever homes.
Guantánamo, the base best known for its wartime prison, has a feral cat problem. In an unusual alliance, some troops, civilians and visitors have teamed up with the global animal rescue group SPCA International and are asking the Navys permission to sterilize the cats. Theyre also setting up a non-profit organization to help soldiers or sailors on temporary assignment here adopt them and take the home. The groups name? Operation Git-Meow.
The fathers at the Optina Monastery in Kozelsk, Russia, still practice the ancient rituals of their early 19th-century elders. But one daily prayer ritual at the Eastern Orthodox monastery for men has an unexpected group of devout followers a band of stray cats. Ten cats live at the monastery, which has shared space with cats since it was first founded in the early 19th century. None of the fathers calls the cats; they just follow the procession all by themselves.
A seminar called animal-assisted education was offered for the 2016 summer semester at a German university, teaching students the benefits of using animals at day care centers, youth centers, and schools, for example, with regard to the assumption of responsibility and mutual respect. It may just be a coincidence that Campus cat Fräulein Sinner has chosen Hildesheim University over shelters and family homes as her place to live, eat, sleep, and study, and has sat in on lectures for the past 13 years, since she turned up as a thin, injured stray.
The Cat Boat is one of Amsterdams most peculiar attractions. Its essentially a sanctuary for cats, but what makes it special is that the rescued cats all live aboard a quaint little houseboat that bobs along the Herengracht canal.
According to Hebrew legend, Noah prayed to God for help protecting all the food he stored on the ark from being eaten by rats. In reply, God made the lion sneeze, and out popped a cat.
Alexander the Great, Napoleon, and Hitler were apparently terrified of cats.
The United Kingdom is just one country who maintains a DNA database
of the cat population. Not all the 10 million British cats are
represented, but a man was convicted of murder recently based on cat
hair he left behind at the crime scene. The Veterinary Genetics
Laboratory at the University of California, Davis, has used animal
DNA to catch criminals for more than a decade. In the case of the
British killer, after his conviction, his cat was adopted by new owners.
In medieval England domestic cats were known as Gyb the short form of of Gilbert and that name was also popular for individual pet cats. Meanwhile in France they were called Tibers or Tibert was generic name fo domestic cat in France Tibert the Cat was one of the characters in the Reynard the Fox animal fables.
Other names for cats included Mite, who prowled around Beaulieu Abbey in the 13th century, and Belaud, a grey cat belonging to Joachim du Bellay in the 16th century. Isabella dEste also owned a cat named Martino. Old Irish legal texts refer to several individual cats and names them: Meone (little meow); Cruibne (little paws); Breone (little flame, perhaps an orange cat), and Glas nenta (nettle grey). An Irish poem from the ninth century describes how a monk owned a cat named Pangur Bán, which meant fuller white.
These came from a website called Medieval Lists: http://tinyurl.com/mj9urrq
The group of words associated with cat (catt, cath, chat, katze) stem from the Latin catus, meaning domestic cat, as opposed to feles, or wild cat.
There are several "collective" nouns used for groups of cats, including: a clowder, a cluster, or a clutter. One writer has even suggested "a glaring of cats."
Genetic studies trace the origins of the house cat to at least five wildcat species (Felis silvestris), originating in the Near East. The African Wild Cat (Felis silvestris lybica), above, is the house cat's most recent ancestor in the history of domestication. SCROLL DOWN to The History of Cats for more specific information on this topic.
Today's pet cats (Felis catus) descend from the wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica) native to the Middle East and Southwest Asia. It's typically thought that humans and cats first got cozy in the Near East some 10,000 years ago, after the birth of agriculture. A cat was found buried in the same grave as a human at a 9,500-year-old Neolithic settlement in Cyprus. Cat burials nearly 8,000 years old have also been found at an elite cemetery in Hierakonpolis, in Egypt. [Here, Kitty, Kitty: 10 Facts for Cat Lovers]
But researchers suspect wild leopard cats may have been domesticated by farmers in China more than 5,000 years ago, according to a new study of feline fossils. Asian leopard cats were probably domesticated by the same processes as wildcats in the Near East; the felines likely followed the rats that were drawn to the grain stores in early Chinese settlements. These cats were of a different species than the ancestors of today's house cats, which suggests that at least in the early history of pets, humans may have had two different kinds of cats keeping them company and protecting their grain. "It could be that the cat with a broken femur was caught in a snare, broke it's leg, but was kept alive as a curiosity or a pet," one researcher said. "This type of one-off taming is known to occur widely in early agricultural communities the world over."
The Egyptian Mau is probably the oldest breed of cat. In fact, the breed is so ancient that its name is the Egyptian word for cat.
A whole new species of Brazilian feline has been discovered after scientists analyzed the DNA of several different wild cat populations. The tigrina is one of the smallest, with yellowish fur and open spots. But it seems northern tigrinas and southern tigrinas have developed into two distinct lines.
Thanks to B.J. Bangs for this information about cats in Rome. The Roman Army recognized the value of cats as store watchmen, carrying cats with them in their quest to take over Europe - through Gaul and eventually to Britain. Cats were emblazed upon their shields and their flags. Roman families became avid pet owners, some keeping big cats in addition to smaller domestic ones. It is believed that some of their cats strayed and interbred with Felis Silvestris, the wild cat common at that time throughout the higher land of Britain and Western Europe. In the 4th Century A.D. when the Romans retreated to Rome, they left their cats behind. In ancient Roman history, the cat is associated cats with the Roman Goddess Diana, the Queen of the Hunt. One story tells of how Diana escaped Typhon (an evil dragon-like creature often associated with the Egyptian God of Storms) by transforming herself into a cat - although in other versions of the story she is transformed into a dog!
The Feline Forever website says that Diana was often associated with the Egyptian Goddess Bast, a feline goddess who was a guardian of the home and family. Romans, like the Egyptians, thought cats represented the warmth and safety of home. Sacrifices were made to their cats during both funeral and wedding celebrations to get the cat to bless the participants. According to Societa Vira Roman, cats show up in Roman art. A mosaic from the House of the Faun in Pompeii shows a spotted gray tabby cat taking some fowl. The cat is also found on a construction artifact from Britannia showing cat footprints and a pebble that stuck to the surface. The cat was walking across the not-yet-set-up surface and someone threw a stone at it to drive it off the soft surface. The goddess Libertas was said to be especially fond of cats, an indication that cats held a special place in ancient Rome.
Today, cats are well protected under Italian Law. Some 300,000 live amidst the Roman Ruins. Thousands more can be found in Florence, Venice, and throughout the country. However, the Italian government has made a point to protect these street cats. It is against the law to harm them. They promote Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) programs, and do not penalize those that feel the cats. Felines are so popular in Italy that they actually are a tourist attraction.
In the original Italian version of Cinderella, the benevolent fairy godmother figure was a cat.
DVM Marty Becker reminds us that cat have always helped writers: Medieval book historian Erik Kwakkel recently Tweeted a photo of a 15th century book with... you guessed it... cat paw prints in ink on the pages! We're part of a long and glorious historical movement, friends.
The first cat in space was a French cat named Felicette (a.k.a. Astrocat) who was blasted into outer space in 1963. Electrodes implanted in her brain sent neurological signals back to Earth. She survived the trip.
Google has developed an artificial brain that can recognize cats. Although the machine was fed random images from more than 10 million YouTube videos, the Artifical Intelligence "decided" one of the more interesting things to recognize was a cat!
17 Health Benefits of Owning a Cat: FutureMedica is a blog focused on the future of healthcare and biotechnology. Posts focus on the very latest news and information related to this growing field. http://mritechnicianschools.net/blog/
Bobbi was quoted in an article in Canadian Health about the health benefits of owning a cat. It's in the January 2013 issue at http://www.canadian-health.ca/8_1/39_e.html
Only three U.S. states have official cats. The state cat of Maryland is the calico, and the official state cat of Massachusetts is the tabby. But Maine, whose offical cat is the Maine Coon, has been named the best state for cat lovers. Maine has a high percentage of cat owners and cat-related Facebook activity. Animal protection laws and the number of no-kill shelters all factored into the rankings. More than 46 percent of Maine households have cats, and cat owners outnumber dog owners by 11 percent. Although Vermont, named the second-best cat state, ranked higher in both categories, the fact that Maine has an official state cat helped boost its rankings.
In recent experiments, cats were presented with a combination of wet and dry foods (1 wet + 3 dry; 1 dry + 3 wet; 3 wet + 3 dry). The foods were offered all together at first, then in a 3-day cycle. In all variations of the experiment the cats selected foods so that close to 52 percent of their daily calorie intake was from protein, 36 percent from fat and 12 percent from carbohydrates. This balance is similar to what feral cats had been observed to eat in earlier studies. The study authors noted that this may mean house cats have retained an instinctual ideal diet from their wild ancestors.
Aroma, taste and texture of food are less important to cats than is nutrition, according to a new study that helps explain not only finicky feline behavior but also what primarily controls cat cravings.
Cats as it turns out are driven to eat foods with a preferred ratio of protein to fat: 1 to .4. This translates to about 50:50 in terms of percentage of energy from protein and fat, according to the authors of the study, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.
The body composition of a mouse is ideal for feline nutrition. A mouse is 75% water, with the remaining solids being half protein, half fat, and less than 10% carbohydrate. That's why it's wise to select dry foods with at least 40% protein and no grains.
Foods that should not be given
to cats include onions, garlic, green tomatoes, raw potatoes,
chocolate, grapes, and raisins. Though milk is not toxic, it can
cause an upset stomach and gas. Tylenol and aspirin are extremely
toxic to cats, as are many common houseplants. Feeding cats dog food
or canned tuna thats for human consumption can cause malnutrition.
Thanks to Pauline Dewberry's U.K. Mewsletter for
some items on this list. Others come from
Catnip, CatWatch, www.catsplay.com, www.catchannel.com, Darlene Arden, BJBangs, Amy Shojai and
1006 Fascinating Facts About Cats.
Domestic cats share their heritage with 10 wild species of felidae: lions, leopards, cheetahs, caracals, servals, swamp cats, golden cats, black-footed cats, sand cats, and African wildcats. The five rarest wildcats are the Bornean Bay cat, the Flat-headed cat, the Snow Leopard, the Andean mountain cat and the Iberian Lynx.
A cat can be either right-pawed or left-pawed. Female cats tend to be right pawed, while male cats are more often left pawed. Watch a kitten to see which paw it favors when hitting a ball or toy, which paw he/she offers first when asking for a treat, and which paw is the first one used for washing.
Dr. Stefanie Schwartz of the Veterinary Neurology Center in Tustin, Calififornia, developed a test to figure out whether a dog or cat is right or left-handed. Researchers are studying things like right brain-left brain connections, genetics and sexual orientation that may one day change the way dogs and cats are bred, raised, trained and used, said Schwartz. When a cat really wants something, tests show it uses its dominant paw, but when it's just fooling around, it may use either or both.
The giraffe, the camel and the cat are the only animals to move forward by moving both their right feet, then both their left feet. This way of walking lets cats move with grace and agility in perfect silence.
Cats have 230 bones in their bodies (as opposed to humans, who have only 206 bones). A cat can jump as much as seven times its height, and sprint at 31 miles per hour. A cats back is extremely flexible because it has up to 53 loosely fitting vertebrae. Humans only have 34. Extra vertebrae in the spine are what give cats enhanced mobility and flexibility, allowing them to twist in mid-air (the reasons for the idea that a cat always lands on its feet). The tail also acts as a rudder.
A cat can jump up to five times its own height in a single bound. Powerful hind leg muscles allow it to jump very high, and they can rotate their front legs back and forth at a much greater range than other mammals. Cats walk by moving their front and back legs on one side, then the other side. That is, the right hind leg moves forward, then the right foreleg; then the sequence is repeated on the left side. Only camels and giraffes move in the same way.
Darlene Arden describes the cat's walk as: Cats walk on their toes, which probably accounts for their graceful movements. In ballet there is a step called pas de chat -- the cat step. It's a little jump to the side, but in truth nearly every move your cat makes is lovely.
Cats are better at problem solving than dogs, and have a better capacity for visual learning than dogs as well.
Cats have a distinct pattern on their nose, like a human fingerprint.
Cats have a total of 13 ribs.
The cat's collar bone is "free-floating," not fixed in place. This allows the cat to squeeze through any space that will accommodate the head.
Cats can move their jaws only up and down; they can't move them side to side like a dog or human. This means they cant chew large chunks of food.
Four rows of whiskers on the face are used to determine if a space is too small to squeeze through. The whiskers act as feelers or antennae, helping the cat to judge the precise width of any passage. They also sense air currents, and can be moved backward and forward since they're connected to small facial muscles.
There are about a dozen whiskers on each upper lip, with smaller ones on each cheek, above each eye, a few on the chin, and on the underside of each front paw. Whiskers on the paws help the cat determine the texture, size and shape of objects.
Whiskers also help the cat communicate. When a cat moves his whiskers forward, it indicates interest, or perhaps annoyance. Whiskers pulled close to the face show fear. Losing whiskers is normal, as they move through their normal life cycle. This is a regular occurence, but can fluctuate depending on light exposure, hormone level, nutrition, etc.
The little tufts of hair in a cats ear that help keep out dirt direct sounds into the ear, and insulate the ears are called ear furnishings.
Unlike dogs, cats do not have a sweet tooth. Scientists believe this is due to a mutation in a key taste receptor. While cats have around only 473 taste buds, dogs have about 1,700 taste buds. Humans have approximately 9,000.
A cat's sense of smell is five times better than humans. Cats intensely dislike the smell of citrus fruits like lemons and oranges. Because of this, add a bit of citrus to water makes a good spray for training a cat to stay off forbidden or dangerous places.
A cat can kill its own prey from two months old.
A cat has scent glands on her paws, along her back, on the base of her tail, on her forehead and on her lips.
Cats have a 220 degree field of vision. Humans only have a 180 degree field.
It's now believed that cats are actually NOT colour-blind, and that they can see blues, reds and greens. Cats tend to like the color purple.
A cat sees about six times better than a human at night because of the tapetum lucidum, a layer of extra reflecting cells which absorb light. But he can't see directly under his nose. You can communicate with your cat by delivering what Catnip Editor Arden Moore calls "soft wink hellos." Blinking your eyes slowly at the same time will indicate to your cat that you want to chat.
When a cat slow blinks at you, you should slow blink back. She's telling you she loves you and wants to know that you love her, too.
The most common eye colors in cats are in the middle of the eye color spectrum (greenish-yellow to gold). The colors at the ends of the eye color spectrum (deep green or brilliant copper) are usually seen only in pedigreed cats who have been selectively bred for dramatic eye color, but they may sometimes appear in non-pedigreed cats. All white cats are often deaf; others have "odd eyes" and the ear on the side of the blue eye is always the deaf one.
Some Siamese cats appear cross-eyed because the nerves from the left side of the brain go to mostly the right eye and the nerves from the right side of the brain go mostly to the left eye. This causes some double vision, which the cat tries to correct by crossing its eyes.
Cats hear sounds an octave higher than dogs, two octaves higher than humans. The cat has 32 muscles in each ear. Their ears can swivel 180 degrees, independently of each other. There are 10 major muscles per ear flap.
Japanese researchers have found that cats can distinguish their owners' voices from those of other people. The study, from the University of Tokyo, examined felines in their home environment. It involved recordings of strangers, as well as of the cats' owners. The cats could not see who was speaking to them, but responded differently to their owners' voices.
Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds, while dogs only have about ten. Different meows vary in pitch, rhythm, tone, volume, and pronunication. The number of sounds a cat makes depends on the situation. If the cat communicates primarily with humans, they tend to have a wider "vocabulary" because they've learned that humans respond more to sounds than to body language. They quickly learn which sounds elicit the reaction they're looking for. If a cat howls for food and the human ignores that and doesn't put food down until the cat performs some other behavior, the cat will stop howling. Both Tiki and Terzo learned that food didn't appear until they sat quietly beside the food tray.
A cat will almost never meow at another cat. Cats use this sound for humans.
Among the vocalizations cats use to communicate with humans are soft murmurs or consonants made with the mouth closed (purrs and that chirping sound), which indicate greeting or satisfaction, vowel sounds from an open-to-closing mouth as in meowing, which are requests or complaint, and loud sounds from a wide open mouth, which indicate arousal or stress.
Domestic felines make shorter and higher-pitched meows than feral cats, suggesting that socialization matters.
Cats purr at 26 cycles per second, which is roughly the same frequency as an idling diesel engine. (They only occasionally sound that loud). Although purring is usually a sign of contentment, it can also signal distress. Some new research about purring is HERE, courtesy of Beth Adelman, The Cat Lady who write in the New York Post.
BJ Bangs has some interesting information about purring in her blog, Paws For Reflection. Among other things, she points out: According to the Library of Congress website about everyday mysteries, the purr is shared by Bobcats and Cheetah, Eurasian Lynx, Puma and Wild Cat. They say while lions exhibit a purr-like sound, members of the Patherinae subfamily - Lion, Leopard, Jaguar, Tiger, Snow Leopard and Clouded Leopard - do not exhibit true purring. Cats that purr, such as mountain lions and bobcats, can't roar, however. And cats that roar, such as lions and tigers, can't purr. The structures surrounding their voice box (larynx) aren't stiff enough to produce a purr. Many theorize the 25HZ frequency offers a type of physical therapy for cats. According to Scientific American this frequency is used to help heal human wounds faster. The article states that many researchers have found that frequencies in this 25HZ range can improve bone density and facilitate healing. Because cats have adapted to conserve energy via long periods of rest and sleep, it is possible that purring is a low energy mechanism that stimulates muscles and bones without a lot of energy. The durability of the cat has facilitated the notion that cats have "nine lives" and a common veterinary legend holds that cats are able to reassemble their bones when placed in the same room with all their parts. Purring may provide a basis for this feline mythology.
Cats are extremely sensitive to vibrations. Cats are said to detect earthquake tremors 10 or 15 minutes before humans can.
A cats nose pad is ridged with a unique pattern, just like the fingerprint of a human.
Cats have the most facial expressions of all carnivores, says Stefanie Schwartz, DVM. They use every part of their bodies to express their feelings, with more than two dozen different signals in addition to subtle clues humans likely don't recognize.
A cats heart beats nearly twice as fast as a human heart, at 110 to 140 beats a minute.
Adult cats have 30 teeth: 16 upper and 14 lower. These permanent teeth replace the "baby" teeth at about six months of age.
A cat will clean itself with paw and tongue after a dangerous experience or when it has fought with another cat. This is believed to be an attempt by the animal to soothe its nerves by doing something natural and instinctive. Licking the fur is not only a means to keep clean. It also serves to regulate temperature. Keeping the hair smooth tends to raise the cat's temperature slightly, but the evaporating saliva can also keep the cat cool.
Alexis Noel, a doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering, working in the Hu Biolocomotion Lab at Georgia Tech, investigated the properties of cat tongues. "When you look closely at a cat's tongue, it looks as if it's covered in tiny Velcro-like hooks which catch tangles and snags. When the cat's tongue hits a snag, it pulls on the hooks, which rotate to penetrate the snag even further. A typical hairbrush has spines that stick straight out. When hair collects on the brush it forms a thick mat that must be removed by hand. In comparison, the cat's flexible spines make it easier to clean. When not in use, the spines on a cat tongue lie nearly flat against its surface, like overlapping shingles. These openings face the cat's throat and are also why cats swallow their hair and end up with hairballs."
Trichobezoar is the scientifc name for a hairball.
Female cats produce less allergens than males. More testosterone is the culprit.
Cats dont have sweat glands over their bodies like humans do. Instead, they sweat only through their paws.
There are about 60,000 hairs on per square inch on the back of a cat and 120,000 on his or her belly.
Most cats had short hair until the 19th century, when it became fashionable to own cats and experiment with breeding.
Cats use more than 25 different visual signals to communicate. They have the most facial expressions of all carnivores, and use their tails more than dogs do to indicate how they feel. Dr. Stefanie Schwartz, a specialist in animal behavior, says, "If your cat winds her tail around your legs as she rubs up against you, it's a sociable gesture." Cats often greet their feline friends by intertwining their tails.
Sharon Crowell-Davis, a professor of veterinary behavior at the University of Georgia explains why cats rub up against us. When cats are coming back from hunting, what we commonly see in the feral situation is they may spend several minutes rubbing up and down, up and down, against each other, she said. Theyll also wrap their tails over each others backs its like a human hug. Its a commonly performed behavior when cats are reuniting after a period of separation. When cats do this with their humans, it's their way of saying, Youre back! I missed you!
Tail signals include:
Straight up with a tiny curve at the end: interest and curiosity
With a slight swaying motion: invitation to play
Curved with a twitching tip: annoyance
Hanging down, swishing from side to side: agitation, anger
Fluffed and erect: anger, readiness to attack
Fluffed but held down: fear
Lowered between the hind legs: submission
Cat pregnancy lasts only nine weeks. A female cat achieves sexual maturity between six and eight months and a male between nine and 12 months. This means that early neutering is essential to prevent unwanted kittens. A litter will generally be made up of between one to nine kittens. It is possible for every kitten in a litter to have a different father. The largest known litter ever produced was 19 kittens, of which 15 survived.
One reason that kittens sleep so much is that a growth hormone is released only during sleep.
The fluffy cheeks you see on some adult male cats are called stud jowls. Toms that are neutered before they reach sexual maturity won't have them. If an older tom cat has these stud jowls, it's likely he fathered a lot of kittens.
Cats blood types are A, B or AB. There is no O (or universal donor), so if a cat needs a transfusion, the blood type must be matched.
Some male cats can receive a double dose of testosterone in utero. Because of the way litters are "sandwiched" in the female cat's Y-shaped uterus, if a male is between two other males, he can receive more of the masculizing hormone.
Obesity is a major problem for pet cats. A 15-pound cat is equivalent to a 225-pound 5 foot, 9 inch male and a 20-pound feline equals 300 pounds on that man. Each pound on a cat is equal to about 13 pounds on the average female and 15 pounds on a male.
Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.
Cheetahs are the fastest land animal and can reach speeds up to 72mph. Because their claws don't retract like other cats, they have better footing and use their tails to balance. Cheetahs are also reclusive, and females don't come into "heat" unless a male is present. That has made them endangerd. At the San Diego Zoo they have introduced dogs to socialize with the big cats, teaching them to play and keeping both cheetahs and their potential prey safe.
A cat cant climb head first down a tree because every claw on a cats paw points the same way. To get down from a tree, a cat must back down. However, the Norwegian Forest Cat has front legs which "toe out" and their powerful legs and claws give them the ability to go down head first.
An article by pet expert Amy Shojai explains the differences between the eyes of cats and dogs. Read it at: http://www.pawnation.com/2011/07/28/seeing-eye-to-eye-comparing-cat-and-dog-vision/
Amy also shares many fascinating cat facts in her new guide, ComPETability. Among the things she points out are that coat coloring pigments (melanin) are produced by the same biochemical pathway in the brain as dopamine, a substance that plays an important role in brain activity. Therefore, coat color may influence behavior. One study suggested that cats carrying the non-agouti allelea type of gene that produces solid coat colors (usually black cats)may be more tolerant of crowding and the conditions of urban life, as well as having a greater amicability. In other words, black cats may adjust more readily to living in groups. Amy mentions that cats reach social maturity by age four, but kittens separated too early from maternal and sibling interactions develop poor social bonds later in life. Find Amy's book on Amazon, where we've posted a review.
Roman Stocker, an engineering professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who specializes in fluid dynamics, studied how his cat drank water, setting up a video camera to record the action. He and the other authors of a paper on this subject in the journal Science found that domestic cats average about four laps per second, with each lap bringing in about 0.1 milliliters of liquid. In contrast, tigers, lions and jaguars lap at less than half the rate. In each scenario, the lapping action strikes a balance between the inertia that makes the liquid rise into the cat's mouth ... and the gravity that makes the liquid fall. What is remarkable is that cats seem to know about this balance, and lap with a frequency that maximizes this volume ingested, said MIT's Pedro Reis, another co-author of the paper. The paper describes how different the lapping action is in cats and dogs.
It's not a myth that cat can
predict the weather. When cats are
snoring foul weather follows, is an
old saying, but it turns out to be true. Other indications include:
When cats sneeze it is a sign of rain.
The cardinal point to which a cat turns and washes her face after rain shows the directing from which the wind will blow.
It is a sign of rain if the cat washes her head behind her ear.
When cats lie on their head with mouth turned up [on their back] expect a storm.
When a cat washes her face with her back to the fire expect a thaw in winter.
Cats are extremely sensitive to vibrations, and can often detect earthquake tremors 10 or 15 minutes before humans can.
John Bradshaw, author of Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet, writes: "When cats are coming back from hunting, what we commonly see in the feral situation is they may spend several minutes rubbing up and down, up and down, against each other. Theyll also wrap their tails over each others backs its like a human hug. Its a commonly performed behavior when cats are reuniting after a period of separation, and the meaning likely applies to the way the animals interact with their humans, too. When youve been at work or school all day, and your cat comes up and rubs back and forth against you, and he may wrap his tail across your calves what your cat is doing is taking a friendly greeting behavior that normally functions within their species and moves it to relating with the human species. Its the cat-language way of saying, Youre back! I missed you!"
The nine lives attributed to cats is probably due to their having nine primary whiskers.
Some cats have survived falls of over 65 feet (20 meters), due largely to their righting reflex. The eyes and balance organs in the inner ear tell it where it is in space so the cat can land on its feet. Even cats without a tail have this ability.
Under the rubble of the World Trade Center, rescuers found three newborn kittens and their mom in a carton of napkins. The mother cat was named Hope and her kittens Freedom, Amber and Flag.
The Cat Boat is one of Amsterdams most peculiar attractions. Its essentially a sanctuary for cats, but what makes it special is that the rescued cats all live aboard a quaint little houseboat that bobs along the Herengracht canal.
The fathers at the Optina Monastery in Kozelsk, Russia, still practice the ancient rituals of their early 19th-century elders. But one daily prayer ritual at the Eastern Orthodox monastery for men has an unexpected group of devout followers a band of stray cats. Ten cats live at the monastery, which has shared space with cats since it was first founded in the early 19th century. None of the fathers calls the cats; they just follow the procession all by themselves.
The oldest cat ever recorded in the Guinness Book of Records is Creme Puff, a cat in Texas, who was 38 years old when she died in 2005.
Chuck Blazer, a member of the FIFA Executive Committee from 1996 to April 2013, has a $6,000/month apartment in the Trump Towers just for his cats, next to his own $18,000/month unit.
Farm cats form closed societies. Littermates remain together for the first year, and then leave home. Females sometimes remain if the mother is gone. Males always leave.
One reason for this is the territorial nature of all cats, wild and domestic. The reason why a circus lion-tamer doesn't get attacked is because he walks into the ring before the cats, where they can observe him establish his dominance. He stands tall, radiates confidence, and makes it clear that the ring belongs to him. According to the description in Life of Pi, he reinforces this by shouting, stomping, and cracking his whip.
But there are exceptions. A cat named Charlie has become famous because he accepts newborn kittens, strays and fosters, treating them with nuturing and attention. He reminds me of Wuffy Rohde, a dog in California who rescued cats. He was featured in National Geographic Kids 125 True Stories of Amazing Animals: Inspiring Tales of Animal Friendship.
Charlie is a 7-year-old house cat living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and is the ASPCAs top foster dad in New York City. Over the past five years, this gray-and-white feline has helped raise 25 foster kittens, cuddling, grooming and getting them emotionally and physically ready for adoption. Charlies owner, Chandler Alteri, found Charlie in 2010, with his siblings, in a box near Alteris parents home in Nashville, Tenn. Upon moving to New York with Charlie in 2012, Alteri got her first ASPCA fosters, Bitsy and Jitterbug. Charlie immediately went into caretaker mode. He started bathing them and being supergentle, said Alteri of the trios first meeting. They were kind of shy, [but] when they saw how Charlie was with me, they started trusting me. Alteri and Charlie keep fosters between three weeks and three months, depending on the kittens needs.
Tucked away in the trees that border the rear of Parliament Hill in Ottawa was a small community of stray cats. Called the Cat Sanctuary, it's been home to strays since the late 1970s. Volunteers ensured that the shelters used by the cats were maintained and that the animals are fed every day. Gradually, because of a neutering program, the population of cats has diminished, and the last few have just been adopted by volunteers. The shelters will be dismantled, to the disappointment of tourists who enjoyed visiting this unusual spot. The original cats came from a group brought into the Parliament Buildings to get rid of rodents. When more sophisticated pest control began, the cats were let loose, and took up residence behind the buildings.
At night after it's closed to the public, Disneyland becomes overrun by the feral cats. They're fed and looked after by the staff in return for their mouse catching duties.
Another place that still employs cats as mousers today is the State Hermitage Museum in Moscow, Russia.
Over the July long weekend in 2017, several Tall Ships were docked in Boston Harbor. Several had resident cats, including Leeloo, a little black cat, who lives on the Lynx. Plucked from a rescue center six months ago in St. Petersburg, Fla., shes traveled with the ship up and down the Eastern Seaboard, from Key West to Nantucket.
A 4-year-old tabby cat named Fiji has almost circumnavigated the globe on the Picton Castle, visiting cities like Cape Town in South Africa and La Rochelle in France. In all, shes crossed the Atlantic roughly five times.
The China Post carried an article about a small town in New Taipei City (Taiwan) that has become known for its large cat population and was just named by CNN as one of six places worldwide where cats outshine tourist attractions. Here's the article: http://tinyurl.com/mkdjt5w
Natalie Wolchover, Life's Little Mysteries Staff Writer, points out that experts agree that a world without cats would be hazardous to humans. She quotes Alan Beck, professor of veterinary medicine and director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University, who says cats "are a significant predator of small animals, and can survive as almost solitary animals when the prey is scarce, while thriving in high density when the prey is abundant." By killing mice and rats in barns and grain storage areas, cats are vital for keeping those pests in check. In India, Beck said, cats are believed to play a significant role in lessening the amount of grain loss caused by consumption or contamination by rodents. In other words, it may be true that humans feed cats, but without cats, humans would have less food in the first place. A study in New Zealand in 1979 found that, when cats were nearly eradicated from a small island, the local rat population quickly quadrupled. And if the rodent population shot up, this would of course trigger a cascade of other ecological effects. On that same island in New Zealand, for instance, ecologists observed that, as rat numbers increased in the absence of cats, the population of seabirds whose eggs rats preyed upon declined. If the approximately 220 million domestic cats in the world all bit the dust, seabird populations would likely fall worldwide, while the populations of non-cat predators that prey on rats would be expected to increase.
In a related story, Colombian scientists are breeding and training rats to help rid the country of its deadly landmines, planted over many years by guerrilla groups and drug gangs to deter security forces. Rats have a highly developed sense of smell and, because of their light weight, are less lilely than dogs to detonate mines. The rats are also taught to respond to voice commands and develop friendly relations with the trained cats who serve as their guardians against feral predators when the programe moves outside.
The Turkish Van is a water-loving cat originating from the eastern Turkish city of Van. So rare that they're under government protection, these pure white, long-haired cats love to swim, and often have odd eyes one blue and one gold. The Angora is also native to Turkey, originating in the city of Ankara. It's also usually white with long hair and odd eye colors.
Siamese cats carry albino genes that work only when the body temperature is above 98° F. If Siames kittens are left in a very warm room, their points wont darken and they will stay a creamy white.
In Japan, cats are thought to have the power to turn into super spirits when they die. This may be because according to the Buddhist religion, the body of the cat is the temporary resting place of very spiritual people.
From Associated Press Writer Hamza Hendawi:
Archaeologists have unearthed a 2,000-year-old temple that may have been dedicated to the ancient Egyptian cat goddess, Bastet, the Supreme Council of Antiquities said Tuesday. The ruins of the Ptolemaic-era temple were discovered by Egyptian archaeologists in the heart of the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, founded by Alexander the Great in the 4th century B.C.
The city was the seat of the Greek-speaking Ptolemaic Dynasty, which ruled over Egypt for 300 years until the suicide of Queen Cleopatra.
The statement said the temple was thought to belong to Queen Berenice, wife of King Ptolemy III who ruled Egypt in the 3rd century B.C.
Mohammed Abdel-Maqsood, the Egyptian archaeologist who led the excavation team, said the discovery may be the first trace of the long-sought location of Alexandria's royal quarter.
The large number of statues depicting Bastet found in the ruins, he said, suggested that this may be the first Ptolemaic-era temple dedicated to the cat goddess to be discovered in Alexandria.
This would indicate that the worship of the ancient Egyptian cat-goddess continued during the later, Greek-influenced, Ptolemaic period, he said. Statues of other ancient Egyptian deities were also found in the ruins, he added.
There are no cave paintings of cats. They became domesticated much later than other animals like goats, cows and dogs.
Before domesticating cats, the Egyptians first tried taming hyenas to deal with their rodent problem. Ancient Egyptians also used cats as 'hunting dogs'. The oldest painting of a cat dates to around 1950 BC and comes from Egypt. It shows a cat crouching under his mistresses chair. The name of the earliest cat on record is Bouhaki, who is mentioned in Ancient Egyptian writings that date back to 2000 BC.
The Ancient Greeks somehow managed to keep their cats on leashes, like dogs.
The Romans kept both dogs and cats as pets. Cats were the only live animals allowed inside ancient Roman temples.
In China one cat was always kept inside to protect the home. White cats were owned by both the Chinese and Japanese emperors.
In Siam, a white cat was always in the procession when a new king was crowned.
Mohamed, was a big cat lover. In fact, he had his very own cat, a female tabby called Muezza.
No one really knows how cats made it to Europe.
The therapeutic use of animals dates back to the 9th century in Belgium, where animals were used to teach people with disabilities to care for farm animals. Florence Nightingale also promoting the use of animal companions for the sick. By the late 18th century, animal companions were use to help treat the mentally ill. Although the use of therapy animals declined in the 19th century, it was revived after World War II.
Thousands of cats were despatched to the trenches
during WW1 to keep rodent numbers down and act as early warning
detectors for mustard gas. Many also gave great comfort to the troops
as companions and mascots.
A kitten just six months old saved a family from disaster when she woke her owner from a deep sleep to alert her to a gas leak. Great Falls, Montana, has honored the cat, who saved the life of Trudy Guy after a gas pipe outside the bathroom broke above the shut-off valve.
A friend who lives in a seniors' residence told me that one of the women there collapsed and was unable to reach the pull cord to summon help. She watched in amazement as her cat grabbed it with his paw! When an aide arrived, she found the woman unconscious, the cat by her side.
In 2014, the family cat chased off a dog with was attacking a toddler on the front lawn.
In January, 2015, a stray cat heard a baby crying and lay on top of it, keeping it warm in freezing temperatures, until the cat's meows and the baby's cries attracted attention.
CATS interacting with other animals:
Among the charming stories about the wild cats
making friends with animals who are usually their prey is the lioness
who befriended a baby antelope. See it HERE.
There are more than half a billion house cats in the world.
The cat population in the United States is more than 75 million.
More people in North America own cats than own dogs. The percentage in the U.S. is 20% more cats than dogs.
Cats overtook dogs more than a decade ago. Stray and feral cats are estimated to double the number of cats owned as pets. Because cats breed primarily in the spring and summer, shorter, warmer winters might be contributing to the increase in cat population. There are active programs in many areas who practise TNR, where they trap stray cats, neuter them, and then return them to the colony. This keeps the stray population from increasing geometrically every few months.
A famous Maud Lewis painting, Three Black Cats, has sold for $36,800 at an art auction.
If you want to tame a feral, it's ideal to take
them from their mother (and the colony) between two and seven years
of age. The sooner they become accustomed to humans, the less likely
they are to exhibit wild behavior.
That's why Bobbi adopted Tiki when he was just seven weeks old, instead of waiting until 8-12 weeks, which is usually recommended for kittens.
Viennas first-ever cat cafe has 6 different kitties available for snuggling. Moritz, Luca, Haru, Momo, Sonia and Thomas are from the Viennese animal shelter and are regarded as particularly friendly and playful. The cats roam freely in Cafe Neko, ready to be stroked and cuddled and when they are tired of all the attention, they can disappear into their own space or climb high above the tables, out of reach of the guests.
You're twice as likely to be bitten by a spider than a cat.
In the last 4,000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.
The New York Times reports that approximately 51% of women live alone. Many of them count their cats as their primary companions.
PussNBoots, developed by the packers of Starkist Tuna, was the first cat food advertised widely. By the 1960s, cats had become similar to dogs in status, and other companies developed cat food, kitty litter, and other specialized products for them.
The Sylvia Hotel, in Vancouver, B.C., has always had a resident cat. The former cat was called Mr. Got to Go, and the current one is Mrs. Gotta Stay (www.sylviahotel.com)
At one time Ray Bradbury (88-year-old sci-fi author) owned 22 cats.
Pope Benedict has been a cat-lover since childhood. Other popes who owned cats include Leo XII, Leo XIII, Pius VII, as well as Cardinal Wolsey, Cardinal Newman, and Cardinal Richelieu, who named 14 cats in his will.
The Koran also recognizes cats as pets. One story says a cat saved Prophet Mohammed from being bitten by a deadly snake. In another, when Mohammeds cat Muezza fell asleep on his sleeve, the Prophet cut off his sleeve rather than disturb his cat. Mohammed favored white angora cats.
King Louis XVI of France and his wife, Marie Antoinette, also favored white angora cats.
A cat belonging to British author Jerome K. Jerome raised a motherless spaniel puppy and a squirrel.
Famous fashion designer Balenciaga began his career early. At age six he made a coat for his cat.
An article in Cat Fancy mentions all the cats who lived in the White House. They include kittens Abraham Lincoln rescued, the first Siamese to be brought into the U.S., by Rutherford Hayes, four Angora kittens who lived with William McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt's Tom Quartz and Slippers (who had six toes), Calvin Coolidge's Blacky and Tiger, John Kennedy's Tom Kitten, and Shan Shein, a Siamese who lived in Gerald Ford's White House. Jimmy Carter also had a Siamese, Misty Malarky Ying Yang, and Ronald Reagan had cats, Cleo and Sara, at the "western White House," their ranch in California. Socks was a black and white cat who provoked Bill Clinton's allergies, and George W. Bush's India was often called Willie or Kitty.
Other famous cat owners include Winston Churchill, whose cat was called Nelson. Churchill commissioned a painting of his adored orange tabby cat, Jock, who slept in his bed every night, went to all of Churchill's wartime cabinet meetings, ate at the same table and was with him when he died. Jock had been an 88th birthday gift.
In his will, Churchill specified that there should always be a marmalade cat at Chartwell, his country estate. The sixth cat to assume this role, a rescue, is now in residence.
Number 10 Downing Street has a tradition dating back 200 years of having a cat about the house.
Charles Lindbergh had a black cat, Patsy, who often went with him on his flights. But she wasn't on the historic flight across the Atlantic.
Among the famous writers who owned cats were Alexandre Dumas the Younger, whose cat was named Myrouff, and Charles Dickens, who had a cat named William.
The Algonquin Hotel in New York City, is famous for it's Roundtable, where actor John Barrymore named a stray cat who hung out there Hamlet, for the character he was played onstage that season. All subsequent male cats at the Algonquin have been called Hamlet, with the only two females called Matilda. The first Hamlet was adopted by hotel management in the early 1930s. The current Matilda has just replaced a 13-year-old Ragdoll, who retired after 11 years at the hotel. The 11th Matilda can be reached at her e-mail address, AlgonquinCat@AlgonquinHotel.com.
T.S. Eliot's famous poem, The Naming of Cats, includes the following feline monikers: Peter, Augustus, George, Plata, Admetus, Bill Bailey, Electra, Demeter, Munkustrap, Quaxo, Coricopat, Bombalurina, and Jellyorum. Some of these appeared in the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical, CATS. Bobbi saw this show three times, in New York, London, and Toronto.
Crime writer Raymond Chandler owned a black Persian called Taki and nicknamed her his secretary due to her habit of sitting on his manuscripts while he was trying to edit them.
Edgar Allen Poe's cat was called Caterine, Thoreau's cat was Min, and D.H. Lawrence called his cat Puss Puss.
Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway had a six-toed Maine Coon cat named Snowball, who lived with him at his home on Key West, where he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls. The many cats still living on the Hemingway property are descendents of Snowball, and the majority of these also have six toes.
CATS IN HISTORY: Check this article: http://tinyurl.com/38rx2wo
Although cats have been important companions to many leaders and statesmen, there are a few who were afraid of cats. King Henry III of France, Louis XVI of France and Napoleon all suffered from ailurophobia.
Before 1850, golf balls were made of leather and stuffed with feathers. Wonder if cats living close to golf courses thought they were toys?
Isaac Newton invented the cat flap. Newton was experimenting in a pitch-black room. Spithead, one of his cats, kept opening the door and wrecking his experiment. The cat flap kept both Newton and Spithead happy.
Leonardo da Vinci loved animals so much he would often buy caged birds just to set them free.
Cats are often depicted in Chinese culture. A cat with his left paw up indicates "Welcome," and one holding up his left paw means "Money is Coming." That's why you'll often see figurines of cats in Chinese restaurants, stores, and other places of business.
There is a special saint for cats: St. Gertrude of Nevilles is the patron saint of cats and of people who love them, as well as of gardeners.
Freddie Mercury loved his cats so much that he wrote the Queen song, Delilah about his cat of the same name.
When Nikola Telsa received a static shock from stroking his cat, it inspired him to find out more how electricity worked.
Hodge, Samuel Johnson's favorite cat, has his own statue at Number 17 Gough Square where Dr. Johnson lived from 1748 to 1759. Hodge is sitting on Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary, as any respectable cat would, with a couple of tasty oysters. On his death, Hodge's life was celebrated in An Elegy on The Death of Dr Johnson's Favourite Cat by poet Percival Stockdale: Who, by his master when caressed, warmly his gratitude expressed, and never failed his thanks to purr, whene'er he stroked his sable fur&ldots;
The phrase the cat's pajamas has nothing to do with cats. In the late 1700s a tailor made pajamas for the British elite made from rare silk, newly imported from the far east. The tailor's name was E.B. Katz, hence the cat's pajamas.
Catwalk doesn't just refer to fashion runways. Its a word for any narrow platform on which people walk. The term first appeared in the late 1800s and is thought to have been a reference to narrow walkways bridging buildings under construction. Cats didnt actually walk on these early catwalks, but the bridges were named for them, referencing the fact that to walk on them without fear, youd need the balance of a cat.
At night after it's closed to the public,
Disneyland becomes overrun by the feral cats. They're fed and looked
after by the staff in return for their mouse catching duties. Another
place that still employs cats as mousers today is the State Hermitage
Museum in Moscow, Russia.
A cats brain is biologically more similar to a human brain than it is to a dogs. Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine: reseachers discovered that the physical structure of the human brain and the cat brain are very similar, with the same lobes in the cerebral cortex, the "seat" of intelligence. Both humans and cats have identical regions in their brains that are responsible for emotions.
Julia Albright, MA, DBM, animal behavior resident at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, says: "Cats demonstrate an adaptable behavioral ecology, which is a sign of intelligence beyond instinct or conditioning."
Cats have a larger amygdala in proportion to the size of their brain. That's the part of the brain which serves as the emotional center. It allows the cat to react both to what's happening right now, as well as to bring up past memories. This ability makes them more emotionally attached to humans.
A team of experts at IBM's Almaden Research Centre have developed a computer simulation of a cat's brain.
How smart are cats? An engineer at the Univ. of Michigan is using the feline brain as a model to develop a computer that will be able to recognize objects, make complex decisions, and perform several tasks at the same time. Read more at: www.bit.ly/braincat.
Ellen Lindell, board-certified Veterinary Behaviorist, says, "Some cats enjoy watching what others (humans and animals) are doing, and are good at observational learning."
Cats are thought to have four different temperaments. (This information from an article by Karen Lee Stevens in Catnip. The Curious/Clown Cat is an extrovert, not easily frightened, curious about strangers and new toys, and get into trouble easily. This is definitely Terzo's personality!
The Care-Less Cat tends to be indifferent toward people, stand back and observe visitors and only approach those they decide are "interesting." This type of cat isn't timid or easily frightened, just fiercely independent. He/she may have been a feral, who will defend his or her "territory" and accepts human affection only on his/her terms. This was Tiki.
The Cautious Cat is initially shy, but generally likes people. But they often hide when strangers arrive, and are easily frightened by loud noises and sudden movements. That describes Simon the Elder.
The Catatonic/Xenophobic Cat is extremely fearful, and will hide for hours when something frightens them. They're the cats who retreat as soon as they hear thunder, and may even tremble in fear if they feel threatened.
Bonnie Bergin's book, Teach Your Dog To Read, suggests that dogs can be taught to understand simple words, first by showing them photos of certain behaviors, then stick figure representations, and finally, actual words. She uses flash cards, and words like UP, KISS, BED, OUT. Nobody has yet tried this experiment with cats (but stay tuned; this may be next in Terzo's repertoire!)
The Six-Toed Cat:
Polydactyl means "multiple digits," and is the term used for cats who have more than five toes, usually just on their front paws. Rare outside of North America, polydactyl cats are common in the New England states, and also in Maritime Canada, where they were brought by Loyalists when they moved from the American Colonies.
These cats are often better hunters because they're able to use the extra toes to capture prey. Often, the sixth toe is used almost as a thumb. Because they were considered to be superior mousers by some sailors and ship captains, they were likely selected for voyages to the New World with the Puritans in 1630.
Most polydactyls are black and white, which indicates that the trait may be genetically related to color. When I first saw Terzo, I noticed his paws seemed larger than normal for a kitten, and as he grew I realized he had a vestigal sixth toe at the bottom of each front pad.
He was able to pick up plastic straws with his paws, and also to catch things tossed to him. However, Penny is also able to do these things, although she doesn't have the extra toe.
Polydactyl cats were considered to be lucky by sailors, and its believed that such cats traveling on board ships may have been brought to the New World by English Puritans in the 1600s. This could account for the increased number of polydactyl cats found on the East Coast in cities such as Boston, and the spread along the East Coast correlates with various ports that established trade with Boston.
Ernest Hemingway's cats, who live in a colony on his former home in Key West, Florida, are all descendants of the authors favorite feline, Snow White. This white six-toed feline was given to Hemingway as a gift by a ships captain friend.
Black & White Cats: Recent research has revealed that adrenalin and melatonin are genetically linked in many animals. This means that animals with some white markings tend to be more friendly, and explains the popularity of black and white cats.
The completely back cat is especially rare in the Northeast U.S., since black cats with at least one white hair were spared during the witch mania in the 18th century. Black cats are least likely to be adopted, but a Siamese female will select a black cat as a mate if no Siamese male is available. For that reason, many black cats have Siamese traits. That was the case with Simon Teakettle II, who was all black, with just a tiny white locket.
He had many Siamese characteristics (although his mother was a feral grey tabby, so the Siamese ancestry must have been a generation removed). He was smaller than the average domestic male, with a pointed chin and green eyes. He was very smart, clever at using his paws, and much more active than most domestic cats.
A famous all-black cat, Midnight Louie, Jr., dust-jacket cover boy for the popular mystery novels by Carole Nelson Douglas, died this year. His newsletter, however, lives on.
In 1900, an advertisement for Ivory Soap featured black and white cats. They've been less popular than other colors in advertising, but Simon Teakettle had a comment on this, which was picked up for The Bedside Book of Celebrity Gossip (published by Crown in 1984). He called Garfield a loud-mouthed phoney in an orange-striped suit. Certainly a spokesPURRson in a black fur tuxedo has far more credibility!
Dr. Elizabeth Devitt, DVM, writing about cat color in www.catchannel.com, describes the black and white cat as born to be an ambassador. There is always a black and white cat in residence at 20 Downing Street, residence of the British Prime Minister. Her article also discusses personality traits associated with other cat colors.
Miss Penny Teakettle is a Blue Smoke Tuxedo, the name given to tuxedo cats who have "blue" (grey) and white fur in a more or less tuxedo pattern.
Tabby Cats: The Cat Fanciers' Association points out that all cats are genetically "tabby," as a pattern of stripes or spots remains from primitive cats' need for camouflage. Sometimes this pattern is hidden beneath what appears to be a solid color, and if they carry this recessive gene they're called "non-Agouti," which means non-tabby. Tabbies come in all breeds and four basic patterns. Mackerel tabbies are the most common, identified by rings around their tails. Classic tabbies have "whorls" on their sides with big blotches surrounded by circles. Spotted tabbies have mostly spots, although they may have a few stripes on their legs. Ticked tabbies have different bands of color from the bottom of each hair to the tip. Most tabbies appear to have the letter M on their foreheads, and red and orange cats are almost always tabbies of some type.
Calico cats have a sex-linked gene that produces the orange color that's added to brown and white. All cats with three colors are female. The very exceptional male is sterile. A tortoiseshell cat is a black cat with red and/or cream mixed in randomly. If she has even a little white, she's a tortoiseshell-and-white. A calico is a white cat with spots or blotches of red and black all over. If the spots and blotches on a calico or bi-color cat are mainly on the head and tail, it's a van.
Sixty percent of orange cats are male.
Cats as Predators:
Cats have been blamed for the decline in the population of
songbirds. But a much bigger threat are pesticides, deforestation
(songbirds nest on the forest floor, and as roads are cut through
northern forests, foxes, racoons and other predators can reach these
habitats more easily), and even highrise buildings. Thousands of
birds are killed each year by flying at night, when they migrate,
into highrise buildings whose bright lighting confuses the birds.
Tiki had a special relationship with both birds and squirrels. Our huge maple tree is home to a family of black squirrels, and Tiki and the squirrels devised a game where he would wait for a squirrel to descend from the tree to eat from the squirrel feeder (or enjoy the sunflower seeds that had fallen to the ground).
Tiki would sit quietly, about six feet away, and when the squirrel finished eating and started to run across the yard, he would give them a head-start, then dash in pursuit. As the squirrel ran back to the tree and climbed out of reach, Tiki would stretch full-length against the tree trunk, then return to his position some distance away and wait to begin the game over again.
When the babies first descended from the tree they weren't afraid of him, so there must be some way the parents communicated that this cat wasn't a threat.
Teaching cats not to hunt takes patience. I began by taking him outside on a leash. Whenever he made predatory body postures or noises, Id scold him and pull him back. Sometimes Id go out and sit with him, wait for a bird or squirrel to appear, then hold him on my lap and encourage him to sit quietly and watch.
Tiki soon decided that if he cant chase the birds, other cats shouldn't be allowed to, either. As a result, my backyard is a haven for wildlife, and has been Certified by the Canadian Wildlife Federation because it offers food, shelter, water, and pesticide-free plants.
Cat licensing is a great idea, especially if the municipality offers a significant discount for pets who are neutered. But mandatory licensing or neutering can backfire, resulting in cats who have good homes being surrendered because the family cannot afford to pay veterinary fees. This can affect low-income families, seniors, and others who benefit from having a pet, and whose adoption of strays and feral cats have allowed these animals to live in a safe environment. Award-winning columnist and broadcaster, Steve Dale, talks about his on his website: www.stevedalepetworld.com/
Another misconception is that cats are the primary
threat to the songbird population. Alley Cat Rescue, who are key
proponents of Trap/Neuter/Return for feral cat colonies, has provided
the following article to explain this:
Many skeptics think that stories about cats finding
their way home are myths. But cats actually have an instinctive
ability to do this. Tests have shown that they use the earths
magnetic fields to navigate.
The correct term for the domestic cat is Felis Silvestris Catus, but it was Felis Catus up until 2003, so you will still see that used in many places, particulalry in texts which predate that. Felis Domesticus is a misnomer. (Thanks to Anthony Nichols for this)
The Cat Herder, a cultural ailurologist, writer, and fabulous
cat artist, has sent us some great information about why cats are
such good hunters.
Chasing, stalking, and pouncing are hardwired feline instinct. The three basic forms of feline "play" (which is essentially mock- or practice-hunting) are reflected in the design of cat toys for a good reason: the primary, instinctual feline hunting moves (the small-mammal pounce, the bird leap-and-snag, and the fish flip) are natural as breathing to a cat. Some cats have a higher prey drive than others (based on genetics, gender, individual differences, etc.), but if a suitable prey animal makes a particular series of moves within a suitable distance of the cat (for example, a diagonal run from behind, to in front of the cat), that cat is gonna pounce. Guaranteed. He might miss. But he's gonna go for it.
The nuances of properly administering the killing bite, and the knowledge that killed prey is food, are learned from mother cat in early kittenhood. Kittens with non-hunting mothers (mothers who never learned to hunt themselves) generally have a lot of trouble perfecting their kill-and-eat-prey skills, and sometimes never catch up -- which can be a fatal skillset deficiency.
Even cats who have never hunted, or have never been taught how to do the job properly and efficiently, are still deeply compelled -- physically compelled -- to react to the sights, sounds, scents and -- especially -- movements of appropriate prey. Simply by virtue of being feline, they're sublimely skilled at stalking, pouncing, and fixing their canines on the cervical spine for the kill (of toys, if that's what's available). They thrive on the hunt, literally and figuratively. Even a pampered, well-fed cat who has never had to kill to eat still needs opportunities to chase, stalk, pounce and "kill" -- every day. It's an essential part of what makes a cat, a cat.
Research from the University of California at Davis, Veterinary Medicine: Random bred cats from around the world can be traced back to 8 geographic regions of origin: Western Europe, Egypt, East Mediterranean, Iran/Iraq, Arabian Sea, India, South Asia and East Asia. Cats are not like dogs. Dog breeds have a long history of development and selection for specific tasks such as herding, retrieving and hunting. Today, most mixed dogs descend from crosses between different breeds. Wild cats were originally tamed to provide vermin control for human settlements. Cat breeds were more recently developed from these tamed, random-breeding cat populations. Cat breeds were selected more for their appearance than performance. Today, most mixed (random bred) cats descend from crosses between random bred cats and not from crosses between breed cats.
The 29 reference breeds are:
Western Europe: Abyssinian, American Shorthair, Bengal, British Shorthair, Chartreux, Cornish Rex, Egyptian Mau, Exotic Shorthair, Japanese Bobtail, Maine Coon, Manx, Norwegian Forest Cat, Persian, Ragdoll, Scottish Fold, Siberian, Sphynx.
South Asia: Ocicat, Birman, Burmese, Havana Brown, Korat, Russian Blue, Siamese, Singapura, and Australia Mist.
Eastern Mediterranean: Turkish Angora and Turkish Van.
Arabian Sea: Sokoke
The Cat Ancestry test was developed by Dr. Leslie Lyons and the Lyons' Feline Genetics Laboratory in the Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California at Davis.
Research has revealed that the domestication of
cats goes much further back than anyone realized. Once thought
to go back 4000 years to ancient Egypt, a new study of a village in
China called Quanhucun reveals that cats interacted with humans there
5,300 years ago. The author of the study said, Even if these
cats were not yet domesticated, our evidence confirms that they lived
in close proximity to farmers, and that the relationship had mutual
benefits. The data suggests that cats were attracted to ancient
farming villages by small animals, such as rodents that were living
on the grain that the farmers grew, ate and stored. This study
appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Read
the article in Science Daily at:
During the Spanish Inquisition, Pope Innocent VIII condemned cats as evil and thousands of cats were burned. Unfortunately, the widespread killing of cats led to an explosion of the rat population, which exacerbated the effects of the Black Death.
4,000 people are injured by teapots every year, but none by teakettles!
You become responsible,
forever, for what you have tamed.
(Antoine de Saint-Exupery, in The Little Prince)
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