What is the average lifespan of pet cats in 2021?
What is the primary hunting strategy of cats?
What is the range of hearing for cats?
What is the primary reason cats are valued by humans?
What is the primary reason for the decline of native species?
What is the primary sense used by cats to detect aromas and pheromones?
What is the primary reason for surgical sterilization of cats?
What is the primary reason for cats to engage in play fighting?
What is the primary reason cats spend considerable amounts of time grooming themselves?
The Domestic Cat: Anatomy, Behavior, Domestication, Characteristics, and Senses
The domestic cat is a small carnivorous mammal and the only domesticated species in the family Felidae.
Cats are commonly kept as house pets but can also be farm cats or feral cats.
Domestic cats are valued for companionship and their ability to kill rodents, and about 60 breeds are recognized by various cat registries.
Cats have a strong flexible body, quick reflexes, sharp teeth, and retractable claws adapted to killing small prey.
Cat communication includes vocalizations like meowing and purring, as well as cat-specific body language.
Domestic cats can have kittens from spring to late autumn, with litter sizes often ranging from two to five kittens.
Cat domestication occurred in Western Asia around 7500 BC, not ancient Egypt as previously thought.
As of 2021, there were an estimated 220 million owned and 480 million stray cats in the world.
Domestic cats have seven cervical vertebrae, 13 thoracic vertebrae, seven lumbar vertebrae, and a variable number of caudal vertebrae in the tail.
Cats have protractible and retractable claws and can voluntarily extend their claws on one or more paws.
The cat is digitigrade and uses a "pacing" gait, moving both legs on one side of the body before the legs on the other side.
Cats have excellent night vision and can see at only one-sixth the light level required for human vision, and also possess excellent hearing and sense of smell.The Senses and Behavior of Domestic Cats
Domestic cats have tapetum lucidum, which reflects light back into their eyes, allowing them to see in dim light, and slit pupils, which help them focus in bright light.
Cats have poor color vision and are sensitive to blue and yellowish-green, but not red and green. They also have a nictitating membrane that allows them to blink without hindering their vision.
Cats have excellent hearing, detecting a broad range of frequencies and ultrasound, and their large movable outer ears amplify sounds and help locate noise. They can hear in a range of 10.5 octaves.
Cats have an acute sense of smell, using their well-developed olfactory bulb and Jacobson's organ in their mouths to detect aromas and pheromones. They are sensitive to nepetalactone found in catnip and other plants.
Cats have relatively few taste buds and cannot taste sweetness. They prefer food at around 38°C and dislike chilled food. They also have dozens of movable whiskers that provide information on their surroundings.
Domestic cats spend most of their time in the vicinity of their homes but can range hundreds of meters from it. They establish territories and are generally crepuscular, active in the morning and evening. They sleep between 12 and 16 hours a day and conserve energy.
Cats have a social behavior that ranges from solitary individuals to feral cat colonies. They establish territories, and one cat is usually dominant. They communicate through vocalizations, body language, and scent rubbing behavior.
Cats communicate through purring, meowing, hissing, and growling. They use their tails and ears to indicate mood, and nose-to-nose touching is a common greeting. Purring is a sign of contentment but is also used in other circumstances.
Cats spend considerable amounts of time grooming themselves, using their tongue's backward-facing spines. They also occasionally regurgitate hairballs of fur. Males are more likely to fight than females, and fights are usually short in duration.
Cats hunt small prey, primarily birds and rodents, and use two hunting strategies: stalking or waiting in ambush. They are often used for pest control, but they are also a major predator of wildlife, killing billions of birds and mammals annually.
Cats select food based on temperature, smell, and texture. They prefer moist foods rich in amino acids and dislike chilled food. They also reject novel flavors and are lactose intolerant.
Cats often "play" with their prey by releasing and recapturing it due to an instinctive imperative to ensure that the prey is weak enough to be killed without endangering the cat. They also present prey to their human guardians, possibly as a gift or to show off their hunting skills.Summary Title: Domestic Cats - Behavior, Reproduction, Lifespan, Ecology, and Interaction with Humans
- Domestic cats are social animals that share excess kill with others in the group according to the dominance hierarchy.
- They engage in play fighting to practice the skills needed for real combat and reduce fear of launching attacks.
- Cats prefer to play with objects resembling prey, such as small furry toys that move rapidly.
- They become habituated to a toy they have played with before.
- Female cats are polyestrous and usually ready to mate between early February and August.
- They can mate with more than one male when in heat, resulting in kittens with different fathers.
- Kittens are weaned between six and seven weeks of age.
- Cats can be surgically sterilized as early as seven weeks to limit unwanted reproduction.
Lifespan and Health
- The average lifespan of pet cats has risen to about 15 years in 2021.
- Neutering cats increases their life expectancy and confers health benefits.
- About 250 heritable genetic disorders have been identified in cats, and vaccines and treatments are available for many infectious diseases and parasites.
- Domestic cats are a cosmopolitan species and occur across much of the world.
- They are adaptable and present on all continents except Antarctica and on 118 of the 131 main groups of islands.
- Feral cats are domestic cats that have reverted to a wild state and are found in large colonies.
- Feral cats can be successfully socialized and 're-tamed' for adoption.
- Domestic cats are an invasive species that contribute to the decline of native species and have contributed to the extinction of some species.
Interaction with Humans
- Cats are common pets throughout the world, and their worldwide population as of 2007 exceeded 500 million.
- Cats have been used for millennia to control rodents and are still used for this purpose.
- Cat pelts have been used for superstitious purposes as part of the practice of witchcraft.
- A cat show is a judged event in which the owners of cats compete to win titles in various cat-registering organizations.
- Cats can transmit diseases to humans, and humans who have cats living in their home or in close association are more likely to become infected.
History and Mythology
In ancient Egypt, cats were worshipped, and the goddess Bastet was often depicted in cat form.
Domestic cats were spread throughout much of the rest of the world during the Age of Discovery.
Several ancient religions believed cats are exalted souls, companions, or guides for humans.Cats in Culture and Religion
Cats have been worshipped as divine beings in ancient cultures such as Egypt and Japan.
In Islam, cats are not considered sacred but are revered for their cleanliness and hunting skills.
One of the companions of Muhammad was known as "father of the kitten" due to his documented affection for cats.
Many cultures have negative superstitions about cats, such as the belief that they bring bad luck or are witches' familiars.
In Medieval Ypres and mid-16th century France, cats were burned alive as a form of entertainment.
According to a myth in many cultures, cats have multiple lives, usually nine, but sometimes seven or six.
The myth is attributed to the natural suppleness and swiftness cats exhibit to escape life-threatening situations.
Cats can still be injured or killed by a high fall despite their instinctive righting reflex.
Cats have been the subjects of many works of art, literature, and film, including the musical "Cats."
They have also been popularized in modern culture through the Internet and social media, with numerous memes and viral videos.
There are many organizations dedicated to cat welfare and rescue, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
Cats are the second most popular pet in the world, with an estimated 220 million owned worldwide.
Do you consider yourself a cat lover? Test your knowledge of the beloved domestic feline with our quiz on the anatomy, behavior, domestication, characteristics, and senses of cats. Discover interesting facts about their incredible senses of sight, hearing, and smell, their communication methods, and their hunting strategies. Explore the history and mythology of cats, their role in culture and religion, and their impact on the environment. From their lifespan and health to their interaction with humans, this quiz covers everything cat-related.
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