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CATS

Small, mainly carnivorous animal, Felis catus, member of the family Felidae. It is a

popular household pet and is useful for killing mice and rats.

A cat’s body is extremely flexible; its skeleton contains more than 230 bones and its pelvis and

shoulders are loosely attached to its spine. The cat’s powerful musculature helps its great leaping

ability and speed. The cat’s sharp, hooked, retractile claws are sheathed in a soft, leathery pocket

at the end of each toe and are extended for fighting, hunting, and climbing. It uses its powerful

jaw muscles and sharp teeth to bite and kill its prey.

The cat has excellent night vision; extensive peripheral vision; and binocular vision, which

enables it to accurately judge distances. Its hearing is extremely sensitive, perceiving a wide

range of sounds, including those in the ultrasonic range. The cat has a highly developed sense of

smell and a specialized sense of taste. Its tongue is covered with rough protuberances that it uses

to rasp meat from bones and groom itself. The cat’s whiskers are extremely sensitive to the

slightest touch and are used for testing obstacles and sensing changes in the environment.

Cats were worshipped in Egypt because they minimized the rodent population in Egypt’s

grain fields along the Nile river. Cats were so revered that they were mummified and buried

either with their owners or in specially designated cemeteries. They were valued as predators in

the mid-14th century when a rat-borne plague, known as the Black Death, struck the population

of Europe. The first domestic cats in North America arrived with the colonists, who used them

to keep the rodent population under control in fields, barns, and homes. In India cats played an

important part in religious or occult ceremonies, and in South America the Inca revered sacred

cats. Cats continue to be worshipped as deities in some countries such as Thailand and China.

Here are a few cat facts that I bet you didn?t know:

~All domestic cats hate lemons,or any citrus scent of any kind.

~Onions are highly poisonous to cats. They induce a fatal form of anemia.

~The cat uses it’s tail like a tight-rope walker uses a long pole – as a counterweight to aid balance.

Even though the tail is useful for this, it is also used for communication purposes. Cats born

without tails do manage, though. There are other methods of balancing.

~When cats are happy or pleased, they squeeze their eyes. Also, cats contain an IQ in the animal

kingdom surpassed only by monkeys and chimps.

~Cat Purring: The mother’s purr acts as a homing device, announcing to her babies that nursing

time has arrived. Kittens begin to purr in return at about one week of age ? perhaps as a gesture

of gratitude, or maybe as a request for milk ? and continue to purr for the rest of their lives.

~Did you know that cats can listen for prey by rotating their ears independently? Or that their

whiskers can detect movements 2,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair? Or that house

cats, unlike other domesticated animals, have changed very little over the past 4,000 years?

~How a cat ’speaks’ is quiet remarkable. They don’t speak phrases to express affection, outrage,

hunger, loneliness, boredom, confusion, happiness and fear in their natural frequency range, which

would be inaudible to humans, but at a much lower frequency that humans can hear. Some

researchers believe they may have learned we can’t hear them in their natural range and have

adapted so they can relate to us on our terms.

~After cats eat, they always immediately bathe themselves. This is because their instinct tells them

to get the food scent off of them so that predators will not smell the food and come after them.

A cats visual acuity is very poor at close range. Anything closer than 6 inches to a cats eyes will

be a blur.

~When cats are happy or pleased, they squeeze their eyes. Also, cats contain an IQ in the animal

kingdom surpassed only by monkeys and chimps.

Page

? Domestic Cats.? Encarta 98 Desk Encyclopedia.1996-97 Microsoft Corporation.

Schlegel, Allison M.D., Katz Corner. 1998-1999.

30f


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