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Origin, Behavior and More!
The common domestic cat has been documented to be more than 9,500 years old. Although it may sound crazy, most paleontologists agree that the cat's oldest ancestor was a weasel-like animal called Miacis, which inhabited the earth more than 40 million years ago. Miacis is the common ancestor of all terrestrial carnivores. The most popular prehistoric cat is Smilodon, the saber-toothed cat, also called saber tiger, which hunted all over the globe but eventually became extinct.
It is possible that the first relationship between cats and humans developed in the Stone Age. When humans began to practice agriculture, animals such as goats, pigs, sheep and dogs were domesticated. Cats were the last animals to be domesticated as they were not so easy to train. It is believed that this process took time as cats that disliked living near humans would breed and eventually pass on their "docile" genes to their offspring. Perhaps the fact that these cats had smaller brains played a role in the domestication process, although it has been observed that a domesticated cat can still survive in the wild. Historians have shown that cats were accepted as domestic animals 5000 years ago in Egypt. Many of today's cat breeds are descended from these ancient cats.
The Egyptians used the cat to hunt fish and birds, keep the rat and mouse populations down in grain stores. The cat was of such inestimable importance that the Egyptians passed laws to protect it. A cult of cat worshipers developed and existed for over two thousand years. One of the most sacred figures was the cat goddess called Bastet, represented with a cat's head. When a cat died, it was mummified and kept in a special cemetery. One such cemetery was found in the 19th century with more than 300,000 cats.
Although the Egyptians made it illegal to export cats, the Greeks and Romans brought them to Europe, where they could rid the continent of pests such as rats. For these skills and as prized pets, they would later spread as far as India, China and Japan.
In the Middle Ages, cats were perceived differently in Europe. People attached superstition and evil to them because they believed that cats possessed abilities in black magic. They were considered to be associated with evil witches and some even went so far as to believe that a cat embodied the devil. Anyone who kept a cat was suspected, and was sometimes killed along with their pet.
It was a terrible time to be a cat - they were hunted, tortured and sacrificed. In religious ceremonies, many cats were burned alive. When building houses, cats were buried alive in the walls because people believed it would bring good luck. As the number of cats dwindled, the number of rats increased, and this has contributed to the plague and other epidemics.
Much of this superstition is still evident today. There are those who believe that it brings bad luck when a black cat crosses their path. Conversely, the Hollywood film "The Mummy" shows the cat as a patron.
As the 17th century began, the cat regained its former position as a pet and rodent hunter. Famous authors in France and England wrote about their cats. Long-haired cat breeds became fashionable to own and breed. Cat shows were held in England and the USA in the late 19th century. Organizations for cat lovers were established.
Domestic Cat Breeds
Since the late 1950s, the number of recognized breeds has increased, becoming popular pets. There are over 30 distinct cat breeds, all categorized as either long-haired or short-haired domestic cats.
When cat owners liked the qualities of a particular cat, they would breed with them, and when those qualities continued to be present one generation after another, a new pure breed was established. This century's most recognizable breeds are the Siamese, Manx and Persian.
Today, breeders follow the same rules. If a certain quality has been produced for four generations, it is considered true breeding.
The repeated comments you will hear made about the common domestic cat is that it is nocturnal, territorial, solitary and aggressive. What you personally experience are loud or soft purring sounds that begin when a kitten is a few days old. Scientists cannot explain how these purring sounds are made.
Because the common domestic cat is descended from wild cats, it can function quite well at night or with limited light. Along with excellent night vision, the cat has keen hearing. Most domestic cats have patterns and colors in their fur, derived from the fact that camouflage works well in the wild when hunting.
A cat can move quickly and precisely using scent glands located on its feet and on the sides of its face. As the cat walks through its territory, it will leave its mark on prominent objects on the path. This trail is easy for them to follow. A cat that has marked an area will constantly inspect it to make sure the scents are fresh and to leave their mark again if there has been a change to this. The cat has a different maternal nature compared to other domestic animals. The mother cat has full responsibility for the care of her young. She alone teaches them everything they need to know to survive. A very strong bond is formed between a cat and her kittens.
There are ways to know how a cat feels about you. Body language is important. If it lies on its back, it means that the cat cares for you and feels comfortable around you. This exposure of the belly, which is one of the most vulnerable parts of the body, reveals how secure the cat is around you, as it allows you to pet or play.
According to Wikipedia, the cat breeds are as follows:
Country of origin
|Burmese||Burma and Thailand|
|Cymric||Isle of Man|
|European Shorthair||Sweden - Italy|
|Javanese||North America/Southeast Asia|
|Manx||Isle of Man|
|Norwegian Forest Cat||Norway|
|Russian White, Black and Tabby||Australia|
|Siberian Forest Cat||Russia|
|York Chocolate Cat||USA|
The common domestic cat is one of the smallest in the cat family. It has the most amazing agility, flexibility and graceful movement. Watch how the cat turns its body to access all areas when washing.
Its triangular ears have 32 muscles that control the outer ear. A human has only 6 muscles for each ear. A cat can move its ears like a radar to locate the source of the sound. This is why you discover that the cat reacts to a sound before your dog.
The cat will usually turn its head together with its ears in the direction of the sound. The mechanism that enables the cat to land on its feet when it falls is in the cat's inner ear. The cat's eyes are large and located on the front of the head, just like a human. With the exception of owls and monkeys, cats are closest to having binocular vision like humans. When the cat is in bright surroundings, the pupils contract into narrow vertical slits. When in a dark environment, the slits turn into round openings that appear to glow in the dark.
A cat's nose is usually cold and moist to the touch. The color varies from black, red or pink. Cats are equipped with an acute sense of smell and that is why your cat quickly runs into the kitchen when you prepare its life dishes.
The whiskers on each side of the cat's face are sensory organs for touch. They grow on the upper lip, above each eye, on both cheeks and on the back of the front paws. When you clip these whiskers, you impair the cat's ability to feel around.
A cat has 30 permanent teeth that are used as weapons and to crush or tear food. The canines grab and tear, while the small incisors are used during cleaning. The few molars are used for crushing and cutting.
The rough tongue feels like coarse sandpaper because it has small barbs that help absorb liquid and during cleaning. The entire cat family uses their tongues to remove the meat from the bones, as well as to clean and groom themselves.
With a short nose and jaws, the cat's face is flat compared to dogs and horses. The strong jaws can bite and crush food, but does not allow the cat to chew from side to side. A large part of the cat's food is swallowed whole, after which digestive fluids break it up.
Interesting facts about cats:
Did you know...
→ A domestic cat spends 13-14 hours a day in dreamland.
→ The average cat can live up to 12 to 15 years.
→ In the Asian continent, more than four million cats are eaten annually.
→ Because of the way the cat's claws are curved, it climbs down with its head up.
→ Like humans, cats have their emotions controlled by the same part of the brain.
→ Cats can make more than 100 different sounds, while dogs are limited to only 10.
→ The domestic cat can jump more than five times its own height.
→ A cat can feel an earthquake coming ten minutes before a human.
→ Persians, Maine Coons and Siamese are the most popular purebred cat breeds, while the largest breed is the Ragdoll and the smallest is the Singapura.
→ A cat normally has 12 whiskers on each side of the face.
→ The most famous comic cat is Cheshire in the book and movie Alice in Wonderland.
→ Cats only meow at humans, and communicate with each other by spitting, purring and hissing.