The Truth About Cats
Cats. Kot, Katt, Gato, Got, Kissa, Felis catus. They domesticated themselves, of course, 3500 years ago but have been around our periphery since prehistoric times. Whether you love them or hate them, cats maintain a kind of tolerant interdependence with mankind. They are neither master nor slave and though they may love us it is only on their own terms.
Our domestic relationship with cats evolved because it was mutually beneficial to us both. They were attracted to the rats and mice near human grain stores and we enjoyed the rodent control felines provided. They slowly became accustomed enough to us to grudgingly move inside our homes. Today while there are some fancier breeds of kitties out there, by and large they remain unchanged.
How amazing are cats? Check it out…
- Cats are a true carnivore. That means that unlike humans or dogs they cannot survive on a vegetarian diet. They require active vitamin A, arachidonic acid and taurine all of which are derived from animal tissues. If kitties could talk they would tell us they want meat baby meat.
- Felines don’t have a fixed clavicle which means they can fit through any opening large enough for their head.
- Cats are especially agile. Their highly flexible vertebrae allow them to rotate their spine up to 180 degrees. This and their righting reflex is what allows them to always land on their feet.
- Felines have the same number of vertebrae as us until you add their tail which is comprised of 30 more.
- Kitties can jump! As in up to 5 – 6 times their own height.
- If you are a cat lover or fancier you are an Ailurophile.
- Speaking of Ailurophiles, the ancient Egyptians loved their cats so much that they dressed them in jewels. If a cat died, the grieving family would shave their eyebrows. Mourning continued until all the hair grew back. Felines were also often mummified and placed in tombs alongside nobility.
- Felines are smart too. They meow for our benefit alone. They use different vocalizations to communicate with each other. Kitties also have a surprisingly large vocabulary, containing of up to 100 varied sounds.
- Cats hearing is much better than humans or dogs. They also have superior night vision but people can see a wider variety of colors. At least we win at something.
- A group of felines is called a clowder or a pounce. The first is probably just a variant on the word clutter.
- A kitties brain is more similar to a human’s than a dog.
- Cat’s purr when they are happy but also when they are frightened or in pain. One researcher found that purring may actually promote healing and aid in pain relief.
- A Bobcat can purr but not a lion.
- According to legend, Noah was alarmed by the number of mice running around the ark and prayed for guidance. God told him to rub the lion’s nose. This produced a sneeze from the lion which contained two cats. Later legends would say that knowing he came from the lion is what made the cat so vain.
- Felines have 30 adult teeth, humans have 32 and dogs have 42.
- One unaltered queen can produce 100 or more kittens in her lifespan. Her kittens and their kittens can produce up to 400,000 kittens. Cats are wonderful but if they reproduce without control we can’t provide homes for them all. Please spay and neuter.
- Cats are ninjas at hiding illness. That’s why it is so important to get your feline friend in for regular exams so we can catch changes in their health before they become a major problem.