Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cat Trivia

Learn some fascinating things about our feline friends!

1.) About how many house cats are there in the world?
Answer: 600 million

There are an estimated 600 million house cats in the world. With a human population of roughly 6.6 billion, there's one house cat for every 10 people on the planet. Cats are small, mainly carnivorous animals that are popular as household pets, and valuable for killing mice and rats. Like other members of the cat family, the domestic cat has retractile claws; keen hearing and smell; remarkable night vision; and a compact, muscular and highly supple body. Cats possess excellent memory and exhibit considerable aptitude for learning by observation and experience. The natural life span of a domestic cat is about 15 years.

2.) Which ancient civilization is widely believed to have been the first to domesticate cats?
Answer: Egyptian

Most authorities agree that the domestic cat descended from the Caffre cat, a small breed of African wildcat that was domesticated in ancient Egypt, possibly as early as 2500 BC. Ancient Egyptians considered cats objects of worship, and despite Egyptian laws that forbade the removal of the sacred cats, Phoenician sailors smuggled them out of the country. Archaeological evidence indicates that the Romans were the first to bring cats to the British Isles. The earliest archaeological record of cats and people together comes from a 9,500-year-old grave discovered in a Neolithic village on the island of Cyprus: a human was found buried with a cat, along with seashells and other decorations.

3.) Which breed of long-haired cat became popular in Britain during the 19th-century reign of Queen Victoria?
Answer: Persian

Persians became popular in 19th-century Britain during Queen Victoria's reign; she and other members of the royal family kept blue Persians. Persians probably originated in Asia Minor; they were introduced to Europe in the 1700s, where they were called French cats or Angoras. When short, stocky long-haired cats from Iran (formerly known as Persia) were incorporated into the gene pool, the breed became known as Persians. They have been exhibited in cat shows as a recognized breed for more than a hundred years. More Persians are registered with the Cat Fanciers' Association, the largest feline registering body in the United States, than any other breed of cat.

4.) At about what age does a domestic cat reach puberty?
Answer: 9 or 10 months

The domestic cat usually reaches puberty at around 9 or 10 months of age. A sexually mature female cat goes into heat, or estrus, several times a year; during estrus, she is both receptive to, and attractive to, male cats. The gestation period of the cat is about 65 days; the average litter consists of four kittens. Kittens are born blind, deaf and helpless. Their eyes open at 8 to 10 days of age, and they begin to be weaned about six weeks after birth.

5.) Which two pigment colors form the basis for all coat colors in the modern domestic cat?
Answer: Black and Orange

Two pigments, black and orange, form the basis for all coat colors in the modern domestic cat. These pigments may be combined with each other or with white (the absence of pigment). A single gene, the O (Orange) gene, determines whether a cat's coat contains black or orange pigment. The O gene can be thought of as a switch that is either on (orange) or off (black). The gene is located on the X chromosome, so its inheritance is sex-linked.

6.) Which breed of short-haired cat is known for its rabbitlike gait and the absence of a tail?
Answer: Manx

Manx is a breed of short-haired cat whose most distinctive features are a rabbitlike gait and the absence of a tail. The breed is native to the Isle of Man, a British island off the coast of Great Britain -- although there are many stories about how tailless cats first came to the island, it is most likely that the genetic mutation originated there. The absence of a tail is caused by a dominant gene that affects the entire spinal column and which may, in some specimens, cause serious defects. Although kitten mortality is high due to problems in spinal development, Manx that survive the neonatal stage grow to be strong, healthy adults.

7.) A cat's "righting reflex" allows it to:
Answer: Always land on four feet when falling from a reasonable height

A cat's "righting reflex" allows it to always land on four feet. A cat reflexively rights itself when its head is not square with the ground -- thus, when dropped or when falling through the air from a reasonable height, the animal lands on its feet regardless of the position in which it begins its descent. Its supple spine allows it to twist midair and, given enough room, the cat's muscles relax, minimizing injury upon impact. Because this reflex coordinates input from both the eyes and the middle ear, newborn kittens whose eyes have not yet opened do not fall so gracefully.

8.) Allergies to cats are one of the most common allergies in humans. What causes cat allergies in people?
Answer: A protein in the cat's skin and saliva

A protein in the cat's skin and saliva causes a reaction in people with cat allergies, leading to itching, sneezing and other allergy symptoms. For allergic people who wish to have a cat, allergists recommend keeping the cat out of the bedroom; bathing the cat, if the cat tolerates washing; using air purifiers to remove allergens; and, in some cases, receiving injections to desensitize the body against the allergen.

9.) What breed of hairless cat, first bred in Canada in 1966, was given full Championship Class status in 2002 by the Cat Fanciers' Association?
Answer: Sphynx

The Sphynx -- a breed of mostly hairless cat, the result of a natural mutation -- was given full Championship Class status in 2002 by the Cat Fanciers' Association. The Sphynx is an example of a change in breed characteristics that occurred naturally rather than through a selective process by cat breeders. The first Sphynx was bred in Ontario, Canada, in 1966. Hairless cats had been seen before, especially in the early 20th century when a cat known as the New Mexican Hairless appeared in exhibitions. Efforts to develop the hairless cat as a breed did not begin until after this Canadian cat was born.

10.) British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber's successful musical "Cats" (1981) was based on which work of literature:
Answer: "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" (1939) by T. S. Eliot

British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber's successful musical "Cats" (1981) was based on poet T. S. Eliot's book for children, "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" (1939). "Cats" the musical is an almost plotless story about a group of cats in a junkyard. The show was an immense success in both London's West End and in New York City's Broadway, winning seven Tony Awards and being the longest-running show on Broadway for many years. Its final performance on Broadway was on September 10, 2000.
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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Declawing Your Cats

Declawing - is a surgical procedure that involves removing the nails from their attachment to the toes. It’s done to stop the cat wrecking the furniture by scratching it. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia and requires a couple of day’s hospitalization. The stitches are usually removed before the cat goes home. Declawing is a service to the owner, not to the cat. However, despite the many horror stories you may have heard about declawing (none of them are true), declawed cats live a normal life, jump as high as they used to, run, and hide from danger, just as they did when they had claws. Nor do they become biters to compensate for no linger having claws.

If you get a cat as a kitten you may (as mentioned earlier) be able to avoid having him declawed by training him early to sharpen his claws on a scratching post instead of on your own antique tapestry loveseat. Despite all efforts, however, some cats spurn a scratching post and continue to make that cat a welcome pet; you may decide to have him declawed. Most veterinarians recommend declawing only the front two paws; the back ones seldom inflict damage to you or the furniture. If you are I doubt, discuss the procedure with your veterinarian. After the cat is declawed the cat’s feet will be tender for up to a week. The veterinarian may also advice you to use shredded newspaper instead of litter in thebox for a few days to lessen the chances of irritation and infection.

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