Man has managed to fully or partially tame several dozen species of animals. But even among this mass, cats have a very special role. Therefore, “tailed quadrupeds” deserve a separate discussion.
The cat is considered to be one of the two most sought-after “companions” among animals. She can compete in this regard only with a dog, and it is still unknown who exactly will get the “pedestal of honor”. If we proceed from modern biological systematics, then cats are classified as representatives of the cat family, which is part of the order of predators. Previously, it was generally recognized as a separate biological species. But an in-depth biological study showed that this is a subspecies of forest cats.
In nature, forest dwellers prey on rodents and other small mammals. During the hunt, not only sound signals are used, but also characteristic movements. In total, there are at least 200 breeds of domestic cats. They look very different, there are both long-haired and completely devoid of wool. Problems with determining the number of breeds are associated not only with the breeding of some and the disappearance of other varieties – different felinological organizations recognize a different composition of types.
For about 10,000 years, cats have been used by people because they help protect homes and property from rodents.
As a result of complex genetic analyzes, it was possible to establish that the spread of this subspecies across the planet occurred in two stages. First, between 9 and 12 thousand years ago, the domestic cat populated the entire territory of the Middle East. The second breakthrough occurred several thousand years later – then from Egypt, animals spread throughout Europe and also settled in northern Africa.
Despite their long history of domestication, the vast majority of cats, both male and female, survive effectively in the wild. Feralization, when these animals are left without human control, occurs very quickly and simply. Many of them settle singly, but biologists have also described small colonies of feral animals. Therefore, even experts cannot fully figure out whether cats are fully domesticated.
Some of the scientists believe that it was not so much domestication as a transition to coexistence.
But there are also counterarguments. It is known that felines can become strongly attached to people. They tend to be playful at times. Any kitten, not to mention an adult animal, is able to establish close emotional contact with the owner. And not only emotional. The craving of many individuals to lie on their owners’ laps or rub against a person’s legs is well known.
Cats can swim. And they do it just fine (certainly better than most dogs). However, they do not like to dive into the water. Compared to other members of the family, these animals are simply small. Because their thermoregulation is too bad, unlike the same lions, tigers, leopards or even lynxes.
Since the cat is almost always exclusively a loner, it cannot take advantage of the “dog” way out – to warm up after going to land in a group.
Further, wet wool emits a strong unpleasant odor. And this crosses out the possibility of hunting from an ambush. Yes, pets do not need hunting, but the blind will of the unconscious instinct is stronger. At home, immediately after bathing, it is required to wipe the animals dry so that they do not get cold and do not catch a cold.
There are individuals of cats with green eyes, but blue-eyed specimens can also look no less attractive. More importantly, regardless of eye color or coat, the behavior patterns are the same as those of wild ancestors. Unlike humans, these animals have only 3 blood types. In length, a cat can reach 0.6 m (excluding the tail), and the tail itself varies on average from 0.25 to 0.35 m. For this subspecies, as well as for other animals, sexual dimorphism is characteristic.
The average height of a cat at the withers is 0.25-0.3 m. However, this figure is very arbitrary, and a lot depends on both the specific breed and the conditions of detention.
Most breeds weigh no more than 9 kg, Siberian and Maine Coons pull 11-13 kg; an even larger mass is already a sign of pathology. The anatomy of cats is consistent with the structure of a small predator. But compared to other mammals, this animal is distinguished by an unusual skull, where there is:
- especially large eye sockets;
- strong jaws;
- roughly coinciding in the level of development of the facial and brain sections.
Such structural features significantly improve the quality of vision in healthy cats. The sense of smell and hearing are also much better than those of humans. The field of view is 20 degrees wider, but the contrast and brightness of color perception are worse. But in the darkness of the night and at dusk, the cats navigate perfectly. However, in absolute darkness, they will be completely helpless.
What are they for?
Talk about cats cannot, of course, be limited to a general description of their properties. It is also necessary to understand why these animals are raised at all. Judging by the responses of people, many attach great importance to emotional relaxation. Coming home after a tiring day or faced with difficult household chores, it is very nice to meet such a helper. A feeling of calmness and peace returns, negative thoughts and negative moods go away.
For people who are lonely for one reason or another, eating in the presence of a cat will be much more pleasant than alone. If the owners have health problems, then four-legged pets will definitely show care and attention.
Since ancient times, “tailed friends” have been highly valued by people. The earliest discovered ability of a cat was the ability to hunt rodents.
Even today, when it is easy to buy all kinds of poisons and traps, the help of animals is invaluable, and it was even more important in the past, when such sophisticated technical means were not available.
This ability helped the cat survive the dark times of the Middle Ages, when the church took up arms against it. None of the fiercest criticism in the sermons, no mention of the mythical connection of this animal with evil forces helped. And the clergy had to admit their defeat. Cats and cats are actively used for rodent control not only in residential buildings and in barns, in granaries, but also in museums, libraries and other similar places. Finally, they simply look beautiful and aesthetically pleasing.
Character, intelligence and behavior
Features of the psychology and activity of cats are no less important than their appearance or practical use. Knowledge of most people about this type of pet is very superficial. Many will only say that cats often wash themselves, curl up into a ball when the cold weather approaches … and almost everyone is on it. Meanwhile, the real actions of feline representatives, their real psyche are amazing and unusual. They are intertwined:
- ferocious disposition;
- tenderness for the owners;
- composure in some and passion in other circumstances;
- advanced intelligence.
Inexperienced people, having got a cat, often come to a standstill. They are struck by the seeming inconsistency and lack of full-fledged logic.
But in fact, everything is much simpler if you consider a few simple facts. First of all, “four-legged” – predators. The whole world for them is divided into potential victims and potential competitors. Sudden aggressiveness is therefore explained very simply: a small animal cannot eat a person, but tries to drive it away in order to avoid possible harm.
Predatory status also determines another characteristic feature – strict protection of “own” territory. At the same time, the amount of available food and its stability do not play any role. Protection of personal space is expressed in rejection of:
- change or rearrangement of furniture;
- attempts to remove the animal, at least temporarily, from its chosen place.
There is only one way out for the owners – to behave in such a way that their pets are not aware of the invasion of their own territory. When they pass by calmly sideways, the four-legged themselves also react calmly to this. And one more nuance: since the cat always acts alone, it does not count on anyone’s help. She has to constantly be on guard and prepare to repel attacks.
If there is any other animal in the house (especially when there are a lot of them), the mustachioed ones will continuously try to draw maximum food and attention from the person.
When a cat suddenly and for no apparent reason behaves restlessly, it means that once in the same situation she experienced a negative experience. At the same time, all incidents are deposited in her memory, even those that were in early childhood. The heredity of animals is also of great importance. This circumstance is easy to notice by comparing the actions of cats of different breeds. Those who do not belong to any breed are usually distinguished by waywardness and emphasized independence, they have little respect for a person.
Along with instincts, cats also have patterns of behavior developed during their lives. Those of them who initially dominated will definitely not play a subordinate role in the future. For the sake of their status, they are ready to fight ruthlessly with other cats, and even with dogs.
Important: a large part of the strange behavior is explained by the elementary shortcomings of education.
The usual consistency and adherence to principles, scrupulous attention to detail solve most of the possible problems. Whether or not to get a sociopathic cat is something you have to decide for yourself. On the one hand, such pets do not make good contact, even with their owners. On the other hand, they require less attention. Feral cats rarely approach at the call of people. Many of them avoid contact with a person even for the sake of obtaining food from him – this is usually characteristic of animals that have been systematically offended and poisoned.
Any pet owner should know what a particular form of behavior means. The arching of the back, accompanied by the rearing of the coat, expresses a sense of danger. This is a gesture addressed to a potential enemy so that he, too, is afraid. The owners at such moments should stay away, waiting for the feeling of anxiety to pass. But if the back arches immediately after sleep, and this is accompanied by stretching the paws, then this is just a warm-up.
A lot of experienced people will say and ears. When they stand straight and open, the pet is in a neutral mood and will ignore everything that people do.
But pressing the ears in the head means anger. Of course, this is not a signal to the enemy, but simply a defensive reaction to reduce the risk of injury. The main thing to do when you see flattened ears is to exercise caution – when aggression is not provoked, the risk of “falling under the claws” is minimal.
By turning their ears back, cats seem to notify that they are ready to play and show interest in something. A lot will tell attentive people and the pose that the animal takes. Lying on his back, he thereby shows absolute trust in the owners. But in relation to dangerous animals, this is more of a “preparation for battle.” When such a posture is taken suddenly and for no apparent reason, then most likely it is a subconscious attempt to train hunting skills.
Periodic back riding means the desire to have fun, to make your life more comfortable.
But if this happens systematically, it indicates ongoing stress and attempts to calm down. When a pet sits for a long time and looks at the owner, then he usually asks for something:
- open (close) the door;
- open (close) a window;
- walk and so on.
But in some cases, persistent observation of the owner shows that the cat sees some kind of threat. It is worth moving to another room for a while and deciding what provokes such a reaction.
But rubbing the head against the leg expresses very special feelings, disposition towards a person.
Cats crawl because the hunting instinct instructs them to do so, forcing something to hunt down, to hide from someone. Crawling in a plastunsky way can also be associated with a sense of some kind of danger or with the excessively noisy behavior of the owners. Strong fright is expressed in hiding the tail between the paws. In such situations, the most important thing is to figure out what exactly caused the stress and how to overcome it as soon as possible. If the animal, pressing its tail, trembles at the same time and refuses to get up, then this is an acute attack of diabetes mellitus. The only way to save the cat is to contact the veterinarian immediately.
When the tail moves systematically from side to side, it cannot be considered that the pet is in a complacent disposition.
Exactly the opposite – this is about the same, in fact, physiological reaction as the desire of some excited people to tap their fingers. You can be sure that at any moment there will be a hiss or even a silent, swift attack.
Lifted straight up like a trumpet, the tail means a positive mood. No wonder such an action even entered folklore as a vivid image. It is not necessary to grab the animal in your arms at this moment. It will be much less likely to spoil his good mood if the owners enter into a gambling game or give some kind of treat.
But when a cat or a cat hiss, this is a signal that prohibits approaching them. Hissing is associated with both anxiety and fear.
The most correct strategy turns out to be a calm step aside and close observation (with the corresponding conclusions about one’s behavior and other points, of course).
When angry, felines sometimes snort. The correct reaction is the same – do not disturb the animal, wait until it becomes calmer. But snorting is also caused by dust inhalation. Any special reaction, if the animal copes with the problem itself, will not be required. Severe discomfort, sometimes accompanying snorting, manifests itself in rubbing the nose with paws – and noticing this, you should immediately go to the clinic.
A common mistake is to perceive purring as an unambiguously positive reaction. Of course, such a sound can often be heard by petting a pet or feeding it deliciously. However, sometimes the purr is heard due to a feeling of hunger or even expresses fear. Therefore, when it begins suddenly and against the background of complete well-being (especially during play or affection), you need to step aside.
Otherwise, hydrogen peroxide may be needed after a few minutes.
It is necessary to pay attention to the timbre of meowing. When it is loud and drawn out, closer to a howl, this is another signal of excitement or rage. At any second, you can expect characteristic reactions – aggression or stampede. A true pleasant meow always consists of short sounds, like the cooing of pigeons. At such a moment, the owners can be completely calm and not expect any trick from the animal (subject to other rules of communication, of course).
There are a huge number of different breeds of cats. And even the most devoted amateurs are unlikely to be able to get at least 30% of all types in their “career” in order to get to know them closely. That is why it is so important to know which varieties are better than others, according to experienced breeders.
- One of the undisputed leaders among the tailed is the Abyssinian breed. Like the country of origin, it is very ancient.
This group is characterized by a special, by the standards of a cat, intelligence and a special obstinacy.
“Ethiopians” are considered very beautiful animals, because their colors are really unusual. Photos cannot convey all the charm, all the charm of these individuals. But in terms of independence, it is difficult to find an alternative to the British Shorthair breed. Despite the attachment to the owners, they can be safely left for 2-3 days in the house. When the owners return, their pet will not be endlessly scared or shocked by such a long separation.
- For many people, however, it is much more preferable american shorthair breed. She is sociable, but very independent. It is natural for such animals to be near the owner, but they rarely allow to pick themselves up or even just stroke them. Like the “British”, they calmly endure the work of the owners in shifts or short business trips, but they will definitely have to buy a lot of toys.
- If you need a pet that can boast a fluffy tail, a very good choice can be persian breed. Its representatives are very large (sometimes weigh up to 7 kg). The legs are relatively short, but the chest is impressive with its powerful development. Important: Persians are among the brachycephalic, and the rules of a number of airlines prohibit the transportation of them. Brachycephals are breeds of animals that often suffer from diseases of the nasopharynx and almost always breathe with difficulty. Due to these features of the body structure, they can die during the flight – it is the repeated accidents that force airlines to refuse to transport such dogs. In the US alone, between 2005 and 2011, 98 brachycephalic animals died in flight.
It is required to clarify this nuance in advance before each flight in order to eliminate problems.
- Lovers of affectionate and calm animals should pay attention to the breed ragdoll. It differs in that, when in the hands of the owners, it is 100% relaxed, as if going limp. Of the other properties of the breed, it is worth pointing out:
- sociability without excessive annoyance;
- quiet, melodious voice;
- trust and devotion;
- calmness and developed intellect;
- ability to connect with children.
But it should be borne in mind that ragdolls sometimes suffer due to the negligence of those who play with them, especially children. Simply because of the very high pain threshold these cats have. But the Burmese breed is somewhat different – for her, her own dignity comes first.
Such an animal, no doubt, will decorate any home. At the same time, it is not too active and will not penetrate where it is not asked.
- have a curious disposition;
- behave unobtrusively;
- release claws only as a last resort, when passive withdrawal does not help;
- require active grooming;
- unable to land on 4 legs, so it is unacceptable to let them on cabinets or open windows.
- Because of the friendliness, the Selkirk Rex breed is in demand. She is characterized by the adoration of games and other manifestations of attention from a person. Such a cat can relentlessly accompany people, while not bothering them unnecessarily with its presence. Characterized by a calm perception of children and patience with leprosy on their part.
But it is important to consider that such a pet needs complex care.
- But the Akrin cat is considered one of the rarest varieties. It belongs to the semi-longhair group. There is no other information about her. If we return to the number of the most popular varieties of cats, then we should definitely note:
- Maine Coons;
- Bengal cats;
- Canadian sphinxes;
- Siberian and Neva masquerade animals.
Nature has stocked up a lot of interesting things, and the coloring of cats is just included in this “interesting”, no doubt. Here, for example, how touching the “little black hat” looks on a completely white animal. And here you can see that the appearance of the pet becomes more interesting with the “fox” color of the tail. However, the black top of the head against the background of a gray body as a whole, in combination with a black tail, will look no less brilliant. And there are also such exotic options as:
- different colors of paws;
- a combination of black and light yellow on the head;
- black hearts on a white background;
- panda-like appearance.
How to choose a kitten?
It is usually recommended to select small animals regardless of color. They become more attached to their owners and show themselves more emotionally. You can take a cat of age only if you have sufficient experience and free time. Be sure to take into account such nuances as:
- complexity of care (the longer the coat, the more work the owner will have);
- nutritional requirements (pedigreed, especially intended for exhibitions, specimens need more sophisticated food than usual);
- characteristic features of a particular breed (sociability, calmness or aggressiveness, degree of attachment to the owner, suitability for children);
- availability of necessary vaccinations and veterinary certificates;
The choice of cubs from nurseries should begin with an assessment of the reputation of the institution itself. It will say a lot about the professionalism of the people working there and the perfection of the approach.
But taking cats from a shelter should be done with great care. No, they are not much inferior to the “average” quality specimens there. However, in many pets, the attitude towards people (and not without reason) is spoiled, there are often individuals with poor-quality training or poor health.
Buying cats under 2 months old is frankly unreasonable:
- they are too weak;
- the need for the help of adult animals is excessively great;
- basic life skills have not yet been developed enough.
This point should not be underestimated either. When the breed is selected and there is a short answer to other questions, it’s time to deal with the pros and cons of both options. Girls, no matter how attached to people, tend to “walk on their own.” Only in situations that are especially difficult for themselves, they climb into the arms of their owners. In everyday life, pets will only allow you to stroke and scratch yourself.
Boys are more affectionate, and their affection is closer. They express their feelings much more clearly and openly. Differences in content appear as soon as the animal reaches full biological maturity. Quite often they resort to castration of adults. It leads to a dramatic change in character.
Important: sterilization and castration should not be confused.
In the first case, instead of the complete surgical removal of certain organs, a full-fledged hormonal background is maintained, but in fact, the appearance of offspring will be impossible. Therefore, sterilized animals retain the same behavior. The negative side of both procedures are:
- the likelihood of complications (albeit low, but in fact fatal);
- the presence in some individuals of intolerance to painkillers and other necessary drugs;
- recovery after surgery;
- the need (in case of castration) to switch to special food or strictly limit the caloric content of food.
Conditions of detention
One of the mandatory requirements when keeping a cat or a cat at home is to satisfy their curiosity. Therefore, along with the allocation of a permanent place to live, you will also have to take care of hanging a hanging hammock on the windowsill. Otherwise, the animals themselves will arbitrarily climb onto the same window sill. How this may end is not so difficult to guess. Making a cat bed with your own hands is not difficult.
Good blanks for him will be PVC pipes. Having cut and connected them so that a stable quadrangle is obtained, it is necessary to stretch and fasten the fabric inside it.
Usually, the made structure is equipped with suction cups, which will allow you to hang it on a radiator or on a wall in an apartment.
For your information – another version of a hammock for a battery is made from the following materials:
- wooden trays;
- small pillows;
- hooks on suction cups;
- large hooks for loops.
Some people prefer to buy ready-made hammocks.
Round products perfectly reproduce the geometry of a sleeping pet.
However, rectangular and square designs are more common. The frame of the sunbed for the “weighty” beast must be made of metal. Devices suspended on heating radiators have frames made of steel pipe.
But you can’t limit yourself to just a hammock, even the best one. Have to:
- comb out the hair of animals systematically;
- from time to time (at least 1 time in 60 days) bathe and wash them in warm water;
- resort to extraordinary bathing when the coat is heavily soiled.
A conversation about caring for cats should not be complete without pointing out the specifics of keeping them in winter. In the cold season, the activity of pets is reduced. Instead of playing, they prefer to sleep in warm corners. But if all this, and even the appearance of a cat curled up in a ring, is quite pleasant, then changing the diet is much worse. The owners will have to look for the optimal position that shares the natural urges and the requirements of maintaining health.
In the autumn months, cats molt to flaunt their beautiful coat and thick undercoat in cold weather.
However, when kept in housing, this annual cycle is disrupted. Therefore, you have to systematically comb out a fur coat, use special vitamin preparations. It is categorically impossible to allow hypothermia of pets, which entails many diseases and a general drop in immunity. Leaving a cat or a cat on the balcony, you can be afraid of frostbite.
Nutrition is an integral part of systemic care. There are some simple rules here:
- small pets are fed strictly warm food, not hot or cold;
- transfer to an adult diet occurs at 4 months;
- for a full supply of vitamins, vegetables should also be in the diet;
- if possible, use ready-made mixtures;
- ordinary human food, especially fatty and starchy foods, is not categorically suitable;
- you can not use any smoked meats.
Education and training
The construction of the educational process of a cat should be based on the use of strictly conditioned reflexes. Pressure on unconditioned reflexes threatens with a host of serious problems. From the very beginning, you will have to teach the animal:
- to the use of trays;
- to the use of food in strictly defined places;
- to the inadmissibility of scratching furniture, tearing clothes.
If possible, positive motives should be used – some cats remember any offense caused for the rest of their lives.
The best way to encourage them to do something is to use food incentives. To stop unwanted actions, it is worth using noise signals.
Since felines are naturally tuned to hunt in silence, loud noises immediately knock them down.
A good alternative is to spray a mischievous or overly aggressive cat with clean, cold water. Water mixed with honey or lemon juice helps even better. Then taking care of the cleanliness of the fur coat will instantly push all undesirable motives into the background. When the skill of using a latrine is mastered, it is required to accustom the pet to specific places of rest, to the human daily routine and to the use of scratching posts.
When starting and training a cat, many are interested in how long it will live. Taking into account modern achievements in veterinary medicine, if proper care is also provided, the life of a pet can be 15 years. A number of cases are known when it even exceeded 20 years. But this applies to pets.
Homeless people (both in cities and outside settlements) live much less.
7 years is practically the limit for them.
It is customary to divide a cat’s life into such conditional periods:
- children (up to 10 months);
- youthful (10-24 months);
- mature age (3-6 years);
- elderly period (7-10 years);
- senile age (from about 11 years old).
Interesting facts about cats
The longest-lived cat, according to some sources, lived for about 38 years. And throughout life, as long as physical health allows, these animals hunt. They go hunting even when they feel full – this is what instinct tells them to do.
Important: if the mustache breaks, then in most cases this is a completely normal situation.
But if such an event occurs too often, you need to:
- humidify the air;
- switch to better shampoos;
- make bathing less frequent;
- provide your pet with water without restrictions.
Returning to the hunting activities of the quadrupeds, it should be pointed out that because of them these animals are prone to myopia. Distant objects are much more valuable and important to them than near ones. And when the prey is caught and eating begins, the taste almost does not matter.
In fact, cats have less developed taste buds than humans. They are completely incapable of feeling the sweet taste.
A noticeable part of the four-legged, living in England and Scotland, has extra fingers. Zoologists suggest that this is the result of a mutation that arose in animals that have been on ships for a long time. Another curious fact about cats is that 2/3 of their life is spent sleeping. But in reality, cats are able to produce 10 times more different sounds than dogs.
See below for domestic cats.