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Overview, Information, and Education About Domestic Cats

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History Of These Furry Felines:

Cats have been around longer than most people realize…4000 years to be exact. So where are the origins of these mystical felines? The first known domesticated cats were from Egypt. The Egyptians found cats to be quite useful in keeping pests way in their food markets. But cats also held a much higher reverence to the Egyptians who were known to worship cats as gods and goddesses. In fact, if someone were caught killing a cat-they would most certainly face the death penalty. Cats were also mummified after they passed on. Large cats also include lions, tigers, ligers, tiglons, tigons, and other "big cats". The sound they make is called a meow, and kitten is the name for baby cats.


Both big and small cats are mammals and felines. Another name for them is sometimes called a pussy. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, puss was used as a "call-name" for cats in both German and English, but pussy was used in English as a synonym for cat. It was also used in the form: "pussycat". In the 19th century, the meaning was extended "in childish speech, applied to anything soft and furry", as in Pussy Willow. To pussyfoot around the question or point means to be evasive, cautious, or conceal one's opinions. The reference is to the careful soft tread of the cat and has no vulgar implications, other than obvious ties to weakness, which "pussy" sometimes connotes.

Other ancient civilizations caught on and the cat became popular in other countries such as Italy, China, and Japan. Eventually they were transported with the pilgrims on the mayflower, and the rest as they say-is history. There was a time when the cat was thought of as evil and anyone that owned one was practicing evil and associated with the devil. But this Middle-aged superstition was short lived and soon by the turn of the 18th century, the cat became a worldwide popular household pet. Currently, there are over 80 cat breeds that are recognized by various cat registries. Today's' domestic cat is thought to have evolved from the African wild cat because of its tabby markings. Today if you take a good look at your own friendly feline, you'll notice that your Egyptian descendant takes on many characteristics of his long lost cousins. The hypnotic eyes, sleek body shape, feeding, and grooming habits; are all the same as his (or her) mummified ancestors. Today, we are still fascinated by our furry felines and their mysterious history.

What do I feed my Cat?

What to feed your new pet is a personal choice. Kittens shouldn't be taken from their moms until they are weaned. Once weaned then you can feed them kitten food mixed with a little water, until they can manage dry food on their own. How often should you feed your new baby? Here is a rough outline!

  • At 6 Weeks: Four or more small feedings, spaced regularly throughout the day.

  • 12 Weeks: Increase the amount of each meal, and gradually space them out to three meals a day.

  • Around 6 Months: gradually space out the meals to twice daily.

A cat is considered to have reached adult hood when he turns one. By this time you can feed your adult cat twice daily. Whether you choose dry or canned food is a personal choice. The easiest way to decide is to read the labels on the back of the can or the bag of food. If you are a health conscious pet owner, then you may even decide to make your pet's food from the comfort of your own kitchen. Cats need certain nutrients. Here is a list of what your cat needs:

  • Protein from meat, fish, or poultry

  • Taurine, (an essential amino acid )

  • Certain other vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and fatty acids

  • Water

Cats do not need carbohydrates. Sometimes corn, wheat, and/or rice are used as fillers for both canned and dry cat foods. Other ingredients, such as binders, flavoring, and coloring, are added by cat food manufacturers. Although preservatives are necessary, to keep foods fresh for our frisky felines, canned food should not be allowed to remain out for any length of time, or they may spoil.

If you plan on making your cats food from the kitchen, there are wonderful home made recipes that you can find on the internet. You can visit your local pet store and purchase taurine and vitamins to add to these tasty recipes! But be prepared for another cat characteristic: finicky eaters! I tried all those tasty recipes and my feline friends turned up their noses and ran the other way. Today I purchase their food at the local feed store, and they seem to be quite content!

Potty Training:

If you're a pet owner, then I'm sure you know that each one of your pets comes with his/her own personality. While some will piddle where you want them to- others will stare you down and refuse your method of training. On the other hand, cats are the easiest of pets to train. Most cats, once they are introduced to the kitty litter box; will learn how to use their new bathroom rather quickly. It's always a good idea to keep the litter box in the same place. If you have multiple cats, some will not mind sharing their toilet with the others. But other cats choose not to share their facilities and you may need to have an extra litter box on hand. There are many types of litter boxes on the market. You can go the inexpensive route and buy a small plastic box or you can go all out and spend around $200.00 on an electric box you can attach to your washing machine hook ups.

Another important point regarding your cats' bathroom: cats are clean animals and most will not use their facilities if it isn't kept clean!

To Groom or not to Groom…

I know people who give their cats a bath on a regular basis. As for me, I choose not wear scratch marks on my arms and legs. Cats can clean themselves. That's the beauty of being doubled jointed. They can reach places that we as humans-can not. You can clip their nails as long as you know what you're doing. The trick to this is to clip just above the red mark you see on their nails. If you hit the red mark, you will know it! It is extremely painful and your cat will let you know. As far as having your cat declawed-that's another personal choice. Although both my cats are inside cats, I choose not to have them declawed. I t can be extremely painful and should only be done with the advice from your vet.

Why doesn't my cat get along with her brother?

Thinking about introducing a new sibling to your older cat? If you're wondering if they'll get along, you'll never know until you try. Some older cats will take on a nurturing role, while others couldn't be bothered by the new competition. I always think it best to bring cats up together while still kittens. The chance of them getting along is always greater!

Cats are much like us in this way. Do you have a brother or a sister? I can remember having fights with my sister as we were growing up. Today we are great friends, but growing up in the same household meant that there would certainly be disagreements. Well, our cats are no different. They too will have their upsets and disagreements. As for us, unless we are like Dr. Doolittle; we probably won't know what they're arguing about.

Worried about your cats getting along with your new dog? Well that all depends on the dog! When I first met my dog Max, I was almost certain that my cats would not put up with this cuddly canine. One look at Max and Sonic's fur stood up on end! After a tearful 8 year olds plea, I decided to give it a try. And to my surprise, after 2 weeks all of them were friends! When I moved and Penny came into the picture- that was a different story. She ruled the house from the get go, and my cats were not thrilled with her arrival. But after 6 months, everyone adjusted. As for my latest pet, Blackie Joe-let's just say that the cats take off in the other direction when Blackie enters the room! Blackie is part Mountain Cur (from the Hound family) and Lab. The Mountain Cur in him wants to chase the cats every time he sees them! Plus the fact that he looks like a horse. The cats are so scared of him that he needs to be tied up when brought in on cold evenings! During the day, Blackie retires outdoors for his daily activities. He is perfectly happy playing outdoors with his friends. As soon as Blackie retreats back outside, my 2 cats wander out from hiding and resume their normal activities.

Now for some interesting facts:

  • In ancient Egypt, all families were required by law to shave their eyebrows as a sign of mourning when the family cat passed on.
  • The earliest cat name on record, Bouhaki, dates back to Egyptian writings of 2000 B.C. In the hieroglyphs of that period, bou meant “house” and “hak” was the symbol for “divine ruler.”
  • Cats lose nearly as much fluid in their saliva while grooming themselves as they do through urination.
  • There are an estimated 60,000 hairs per square inch on the back of a cat and nearly 120,000 per square inch on its underside.
  • The largest litter documented in history was produced by a Burmese/Siamese mother. There were 19 kittens in her litter.
  • Your cat's ears have over two dozen muscles, enabling them to do a 180-degree swivel forward, backward, up and down. Although they pan around like metal radar detectors scanning for sounds, they're not just for hearing. The position of a cats ear can tell you a lot about them. They are the sign language of your cat.
  • A domestic cat can run up to 30 MPH.
  • Besides smelling with their noses, cats can smell with an organ called the vomeronasal organ (or sixth sense), located in the upper surface of the mouth.
  • A cat named Towser killed 28,899 mice while she resided at the Glenturret Distillery near Crieff, Tayside, Scotland.
  • Just as we have individual fingerprints. All cats have their own unique nose pad print.
  • Last but not least: did you know that both humans and cats have identical regions in the brain responsible for emotion?

Cats will always continue to amuse us with their mysterious and unique ways. But as long as there are cat lovers like you and me, they will always have a warm bed and a bowl of fresh food waiting. And for those lucky few felines, they'll get some extra attention, because we love them! Cat information sources and more information about cats.


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