Friday, December 17, 2010

Cats are beautiful mammals and widely kept pets. Cats are valued as a pet because of their beauty, companionship and ability to kill mice and other household pests. They are considered to be the most common pets and are found in almost all parts of the world.
Cats have strong and flexible bodies along with extremely sharp reflexes. They have sharp claws and teeth which are extremely useful in capturing small prey. Cats have tremendous hearing capability and they also posses the ability to see nearby objects in darkness. These two capabilities are extremely useful in attacking the prey. Cats can hear the sounds above and below the frequency range humans can hear. This ability is specially useful for capturing mice(which makes noises of frequency greater than the one's humans can hear). But cats mainly rely on their sense of smell and their sense of smell is a lot better than those of humans.
Although cats are born hunters but they are social species and they have the capability of becoming friends of humans. They often express tier love and friendship with various gestures.
Cats have extremely fast reproduction rate and if proper environment is provided, then they can grow rapidly in number. The group of cats is called "clowder", male is referred to as "tom" while a female is called "molly". The male ancestor of a cat is called it's "sire" and the female ancestor is referred to as it's "dam". A small child of a cat is called mostly called kitten.
The natural behavior of cats is perfectly acceptable for human society and no major grooming is required for a cat to live with humans. A pet cat can also easily survive in wild world. There are two major approaches to domestication of cats. One is trying to train the cat to follow instructions. But this approach is often criticized as cats are not really good at following instructions. Another approach(the most popular one) is to simply bring the cat home and believing that people are tolerant of cats, and after spending some time with humans, cat would automatically adopt necessary behavioral changes to become more compatible with human society.
Cats normally weighs between 4kg to 5kg. However few breeds of cats can have more weight. The world record for heaviest cat is 21.297kg and that of lightest cat is 1.36kg. Average height of cats is 23 to 25 centimeters and the average length of cats(from head to tail) is 46 centimeters. The tail normally has average length of of 30 centimeters.
Cats have powerful jaws and teeth. When cats attack prey, they delivers neck bite with their two long pointed teeth to prey's vertebrae which causes paralysis and death of the prey.
Cats walk on their toes and the bone of leg is the lowest part of their leg. Cats have the capability of walking precisely and they walk by moving both of legs of one side at a time but when a sprint is required, cats move diagonally opposite hind and forelegs simultaneously.
Cats have sharp claws, and the claws on the front legs are more sharper than the ones on the rear legs. Normally cats have five claws on their front feet and four claws on their rear feet. These claws are covered with skin and fur under normal circumstances. This prevents their claws from wear and tear and enables the cats to walk without making any noise. Cats extends thier claws while fighting, hunting and climbing. They also extend claws to avoid skidding on slippery surface.
Cats have normal body temperature of 38.6 °C (101.5 °F) but they have the capability of tolerating high temperature and can easily tolerate the temperature of upto 52 °C. Cats reduce the flow of blood to their skin for conserving heat and they lose the amount of heat by evaporation through mouth. Cats do not sweat and they can survive even if the supply of water is too low. They can survive if they only have access to meat without any additional eating or drinking stuf.
Cats can digest meat extremely easily as compared to plant stuff. Cats have very high protein requirement and twenty percent of cat's diet must contain protein. But if a cat is being fed on a diet consisting purely of meat, then this would cause calcium deficiency in cats. One natural solution is hunting as cats normally eat whole of it's prey that's why they fulfills their calcium and mineral requirement by digesting the bones and teeth of their prey. Another solution is the addition of some milk in the diet of the cats.
Cats have limited number of taste buds and are not good at all in sensing sweatiness in food however they can sense bitter taste. They have several whiskers over their body which aid them in sensing the location of the objects. These whiskers are also useful to sense near by objects in darkness.
Male cats have an average life of twelve to fourteen years and females normally have a bit more life(a year or two) as compared to that of male cats. However, this is just an approximation and exact figure about the average life of the cats can't be given.
Cats can suffer from a variety of diseases which may include infections, parasites and viral diseases. The best way to prevent or cure your pet cat from these health problems is to consult a well reputed veterinary doctor or surgeon. No medicine should be given to the cat without the advice of a qualified veterinary professional as there are many medicines that are extremely safe for humans but are really dangerous for cat's life. For example, all medicines that contain "Paracetamol" are life threatening for cats although such medicines are generally considered extremely safe for humans. Similarly, few essential oils such as tea tree oil are also very dangerous for cat's life. Phenol can also cause serious health problems to cats and they must be stayed away from the places where Phenol is being used. Heavy quantity of chocolate, onions and garlic is also poisonous to the cats. Cat's life can also be lost by eating few plants such as "Easter Lily" which may be planted in or near the house.
Cats remain active at both day and night time, however, wild cats are normally more active at night while pet cats are often more active at day time. Pet cats normally moves freely within the area of 69 acres around their home, although they spend more time inside the house. Cats sleeps well and they spend a reasonable amount of time enjoying their sleep. On average, cats sleeps thirteen to fourteen hours a day. During their sleep, their eyes often moves rapidly and their muscles twitches which indicates that they are dreaming.
Cats are serious about their cleanliness and they spend hours cleaning their body. The tongue of the cats has backward facing spines, which are about five hundred micrometers long. These spines are called "papillae". These spines or papillae are pretty rigid and they allow the cats to clean themselves with this natural hair brush by licking their fur. This licking can result in the presence of hair balls in the stomach of the cats. This problem is more common with long haired cats. These hair balls can be prevented by regularly grooming the cat with a comb or a brush. If these hair balls are present in the stomach, then these can be removed by using medicines which facilitates the removal of these hair balls via stool.
Male cats fights more as compared to that of female cats. The most common situation when two male cats fights is when both are interesting in mating the same cat. Another situation what a cat fights is when there are problems in establishing a personal territory within the house. Female cats also fights to defend their children. While fighting, cats normally raise their fur and arch their backs. Their ears moved to down and back which reduces the chances of having a damage to their inner ear. Cats generally attacks with their front claws and their teeth but mostly they don't cause any serious damage to the opponent. Male cats fights many times in their lives and often have visible scratches and cuts to their faces and ears.
Cats obtain their food mostly by capturing small prey such as birds, mice etc. They normally take many meals of small food multiple times a day. The number of meals a day vary from individual to individual. Cats normally uses two different strategies to capture the prey. One is stalking the prey straight away and another is waiting in ambush for the prey to close and when the prey comes closer enough to be captured, then they attacks and captures the prey. Cats normally sits in ambush near burrows waiting for the prey but actively stalks birds. Cats normally prefer to sit at higher places for hunting and then pounce to capture the prey. Whenever cats falls down from height, they always lands on their feet because they recursively twist their body to attain proper pose for landing. This phenomenon is called "righting reflex" of cats. Cats can balance themselves whenever they fall from a height of 90 cm(3 feet) or more.
Cats decides to eat or reject a food on the basis of meal's smell and temperature. Cats hates chilled foods and they starts avoiding foods which they found unpleasant in taste in the past. They also avoid sugary foods because such foods are not easily digested by cats and causes gastro intestinal problems in the cats. Few cats have also developed the habit of eating wool, plastic, paper and such other stuff. This situation is called "pica" and it can lead to serious health problems and even to the death of the cat.
Cats cannot close their mouth fully to create suction, they rely on lapping method with their tongue to move the liquid into their mouths. This lapping is done at the rate of four times per second.
Cats, especially the kittens, love to play and they often seen playing with the objects that looks like prey such as toys etc. but they lose their interest in a toy after playing with it for a short time. They are often found engaged in play fighting with other cats as well as with humans. This play fighting also helps them a lot to get prepared for real combat. Cats are more interested in playing when they are hungry. It is not advisable to give small toys to cats for playing as these small toys are sometimes swallowed by the cats which can lead to serious medical problems and death of a cat.

Female cats have many periods of heat in a year. These periods starts in spring and ends in late autumn. These heat periods occurs after every two weeks and lasts for four to seven days. During these periods, multiple males try to mate with the female cat and the male cats fights with each other and the strongest one(the winner of the fight) mates the female cat. The female cat initially refuses to mate but after some time she allows the male cat to mate. When a male cats pulls out of a female cat, she utters a loud yowl. This is because of the fact that penis of male cat has a band of 120 to 150 backward pointing spines which are about one millimeter in length. When the male cat withdraws the penis after mating, the spines rakes the female cat's vagina. This clears the vagina of another sperm in the context of next mate, and as a result the chances of conception are greater for the males who mates later. After mating, the female cat washes her vulva properly and if during this time, a male cat tries to mate, the female cat doesn't allow him to mate him and she also attacks the male in such situation. However, after twenty to thirty minutes, the female cat gets ready to mate again.
The cats have average gestation period of 66 days and normally a cats gives birth to 3 to 5 kittens at a time. The kittens of first litter are normally smaller than the one's of later litters. Cats are weaned after 6 or 7 weeks and becomes sexually mature in five to ten months and female cats takes a bit more time as compared to that of male cats. Cats normally have two to three litters per year.
Cats can be surgically sterilized after the age of seven weeks to control unwanted reproduction and to stop negative sex related acts such as aggression, making territory by spraying urine(this act is common in male cats) and yowling(an act of calling by female cats).

Other Recommended Links

JF-17 (This is a great website for JF-17 information, updates and pictures)