- The cat (Felis catus), also known as the domestic cat or housecat to distinguish it from other felines and felids, is a small domesticated carnivorous mammal that is valued by humans for its companionship and its ability to hunt vermin and household pests.
- Cats have been associated with humans for at least 9,500 years, and are currently the most popular pet in the world.Due to their close association with humans, cats are now found almost everywhere on Earth.
- This extreme adaptability and their worrying impacts on native animals has led to them being classed as an invasive species. Most of these problems are caused by the large number of feral cats worldwide, with a population of up to 60 million of these animals in the United States alone.
- Cats are similar in size and anatomy to the other felids, with light, flexible bodies and teeth adapted to killing small prey. A skilled predator, the cat hunts using its excellent eyesight and hearing. Unusually, cats have lost the ability to taste sugar. Some breeds show hereditary deafness.
- Despite being solitary hunters, cats are a social species and use a variety of vocalizations, pheromones and types of body language for communication. These include meowing, purring, trilling, hissing, growling, and grunting.They are also bred and shown as registered pedigree pets. This hobby is known as cat fancy.
- As The New York Times wrote in 2007, "Until recently the cat was commonly believed to have been domesticated in ancient Egypt, where it was a cult animal."A study that year found that the lines of descent of all house cats probably run through as few as five self-domesticating African Wildcats (Felis silvestris lybica) circa 8000 BC, in the Near East.The earliest direct evidence of cat domestication is a kitten that was buried with its owner 9,500 years ago in Cyprus.
SENSES OF CAT
- Cats have excellent night vision and can function at only one-sixth the light level required for human vision.This is partly the result of cat eyes having a tapetum lucidum, which reflects any light that passes through the retina back into the eye, thereby increasing the eye's sensitivity to dim light. Another adaptation to dim light is the large pupils of cats' eyes.
- Unlike some big cats, such as tigers, domestic cats have slit pupils.These slit pupils can focus bright light without chromatic aberration, and are needed since the domestic cat's pupils are much larger, relative to their eyes, than the pupils of the big cats. Indeed, at low light levels a cat's pupils will expand to cover most of the exposed surface of its eyes.
- However, domestic cats have rather poor color vision and can only see two colors: blue and green, and are less able to distinguish between red and green, although they can achieve this in some conditions.
- Cats have excellent hearing and can detect an extremely broad range of frequencies. They can hear higher-pitched sounds than either dogs or humans, detecting frequencies from 55 Hz up to 79 kHz, a range of 10.5 octaves; while humans can only hear from 31 Hz up to 18 kHz, and dogs hear from 67 Hz to 44 kHz, which are both ranges of about 9 octaves.
- Cats do not use this ability to hear ultrasound for communication but it is probably important in hunting, since many species of rodents make ultrasonic calls. Cats' hearing is also extremely sensitive and is among the best of any mammal, being most acute in the range of 500 Hz to 32 kHz.
- This sensitivity is further enhanced by the cat's large movable outer ears (their pinnae), which both amplify sounds and help a cat sense the direction from which a noise is coming.
- Cats have an acute sense of smell, which is due in part to their well-developed olfactory bulb and also to a large surface of olfactory mucosa, in cats this mucosa is about 5.8 cm2 in area, which is about twice that of humans and only 1.7-fold less than the average dog.
- Cats are very sensitive to pheromones such as 3-Mercapto-3-methylbutan-1-ol, which they use to communicate through urine spraying and marking with scent glands. Cats also respond strongly to plants such as catnip which contains nepetalactone, as they can detect this substance at less than one part per billion. This response is also produced by other plants, such as Silver Vine and Valerian, and may be caused by the smell of these plants mimicking a pheromone and stimulating cats' social or sexual behaviors.
- Due to a mutation in an early cat ancestor, one of two genes necessary to taste sweetness may have been lost by the cat family. Their taste buds instead respond to amino acids, bitter tastes and acids.
- To aid with navigation and sensation, cats have dozens of movable vibrissaeblink reflexes to protect the eyes from damage.(whiskers) over their body, especially their face
- These provide information on the width of gaps and on the location of objects in the dark, both by touching objects directly and by sensing air currents; they also trigger protective
- Free-ranging cats are active both day and night, although they tend to be slightly more active at night.
- The timing of cats' activity is quite flexible and varied, which means that house cats may be more active in the morning and evening (crepuscular behavior), as a response to greater human activity at these times.
- House cats have territories that vary quite a lot in size, in one study ranging from seven to 28 hectares. Although they spend the majority of their time in the vicinity of their home, they can range many hundreds of meters from this central point.
- Cats conserve energy by sleeping more than most animals, especially as they grow older. The daily duration of sleep varies, usually 12–16 hours, with 13–14 being the average. Some cats can sleep as much as 20 hours in a 24-hour period.
- The term cat nap refers to the cat's ability to fall asleep (lightly) for a brief period and has entered the English lexicon—someone who nods off for a few minutes is said to be "taking a cat nap". During sleep cats experience short periods of rapid eye movement sleepdreaming. accompanied by muscle twitches, which suggests that they are
- Domestic cats use many vocalizations for communication, including purring, trilling, hissing, growling, snarling and several different forms of meowing.
- In contrast, feral cats are generally silent. Their types of body language: position of ears and tail, relaxation of whole body, kneading of paws, are all indicators of mood.
- The tail and ears are particularly important social signal in cats, with a raised tail acting as a friendly greeting. Tail raising also indicates the cat's position in the group's social hierarchy, with dominant individuals raising their tails less often than subordinate animals.
- Nose-touching is also a common greeting and may be followed by social grooming, which is solicited by one of the cats raising and tilting its head. However, some pet cats are poorly socialized.
- In particular older cats may show aggressiveness towards newly-arrived kittens, which may include biting and scratching; this type of behavior is known as Feline Asocial Aggression.
- For cats, life in proximity with humans (and other animals kept by humans) amounts to a "symbiotic social adaptation". They may express great affection towards their human companions, especially if they imprint on them at a very young age and are treated with consistent affection.
- It has been suggested that, ethologically, the human keeper of a cat functions as a sort of surrogate for the cat's mother, and that adult domestic cats live their lives in a kind of extended kittenhood, a form of behavioral neoteny.
- Conversely, the high-pitched purrs cats make to solicit food may mimic the cries of a hungry human infant, making them particularly hard for humans to ignore.
With love from, atie.