Zorro, the last cat of a colony at the Merrimack River in Newburyport, Massachusetts, died in 2009 at age 16. :208 Nose-to-nose touching is also a common greeting and may be followed by social grooming, which is solicited by one of the cats raising and tilting its head. Vaccinations are available for many infectious diseases, as are treatments to eliminate parasites such as worms and fleas.  Cats shed the outside layer of their claw sheaths when scratching rough surfaces. The common house cat is Felis catus.  Their taste buds instead respond to acids, amino acids like protein, and bitter tastes. , Despite widespread concern about the welfare of free-roaming cats, the lifespans of neutered feral cats in managed colonies compare favorably with those of pet cats. When it overpowers its prey, a cat delivers a lethal neck bite with its two long canine teeth, inserting them between two of the prey's vertebrae and severing its spinal cord, causing irreversible paralysis and death. ADW doesn't cover all species in the world, nor does it include all the latest scientific information about organisms we describe. This reflex is known as the cat righting reflex.  It was long thought that cat domestication was initiated in ancient Egypt, as since around 3100 BC veneration was given to cats in ancient Egypt. :35 Having a cat neutered confers health benefits, because castrated males cannot develop testicular cancer, spayed females cannot develop uterine or ovarian cancer, and both have a reduced risk of mammary cancer. The Kellas cat is a hybrid between domestic cat and European wildcat occurring in Scotland. Felis is a genus of small and medium-sized cat species native to most of Africa and south of 60° latitude in Europe and Asia to Indochina. Queens normally reach sexual maturity at 5–10 months, and males at 5–7 months. The cat was once partnering with the first dog before the latter broke an oath they had made which resulted in enmity between the descendants of these two animals. It allows them to sense certain aromas in a way that humans cannot. While asleep, cats experience short periods of rapid eye movement sleep often accompanied by muscle twitches, which suggests they are dreaming. , In Australia, the impact of cats on mammal populations is even greater than the impact of habitat loss. The gestation of queens lasts between 64 and 67 days, with an average of 65 days. The smallest Felis species is the black-footed cat with a head and body length from 38 to 42 cm (15 to 17 in).  Large pupils are an adaptation to dim light. , Purring may have developed as an evolutionary advantage as a signalling mechanism of reassurance between mother cats and nursing kittens.   The myth is attributed to the natural suppleness and swiftness cats exhibit to escape life-threatening situations. , When cats become aggressive, they try to make themselves appear larger and more threatening by raising their fur, arching their backs, turning sideways and hissing or spitting.  One common approach to reducing the feral cat population is termed "trap-neuter-return", where the cats are trapped, neutered, immunized against diseases such as rabies and the feline panleukopenia and leukemia viruses, and then released. One explanation is that cats adopt humans into their social group and share excess kill with others in the group according to the dominance hierarchy, in which humans are reacted to as if they are at, or near, the top. The genus Felis diverged from the Felidae around 6–7 million years ago. , A male cat is called a tom or tomcat (or a gib, if neutered). During a fall from a high place, a cat reflexively twists its body and rights itself to land on its feet using its acute sense of balance and flexibility.  Scientists therefore assume that African wildcats were attracted to early human settlements in the Fertile Crescent by rodents, in particular the house mouse (Mus musculus), and were tamed by Neolithic farmers. 2020.  In nearly all cases, however, the cat cannot be identified as the sole cause for reducing the numbers of island birds, and in some instances, eradication of cats has caused a "mesopredator release" effect; where the suppression of top carnivores creates an abundance of smaller predators that cause a severe decline in their shared prey. , Feral cats and free-fed house cats consume several small meals in a day. The scientific name Felis catus was proposed by Carl Linnaeus in 1758 for a domestic cat. The daily duration of sleep varies, usually between 12 and 16 hours, with 13 and 14 being the average. In Early Modern English, the word kitten was interchangeable with the now-obsolete word catling. , Female cats called queens are polyestrous with several estrus cycles during a year, lasting usually 21 days. The usual ancient Greek word for 'cat' was ailouros, meaning 'thing with the waving tail'. It registers directly by placing each hind paw close to the track of the corresponding fore paw, minimizing noise and visible tracks.  Also lending credence to this myth is the fact that falling cats often land on their feet, using an instinctive righting reflex to twist their bodies around. Diseases affecting domestic cats include acute infections, parasitic infestations, injuries, and chronic diseases such as kidney disease, thyroid disease, and arthritis.  He is reported to have loved cats so much, "he would do without his cloak rather than disturb one that was sleeping on it". Another possible explanation is that height gives the cat a better observation point, allowing it to survey its territory. It is also written that neither cats nor foxes are represented in the water, while every other animal has an incarnation species in the water. Cat Conservation Status: Not Listed.  Cats have been used for millennia to control rodents, notably around grain stores and aboard ships, and both uses extend to the present day.. Some cat breeds are prone to having extra digits (“polydactyly”). After about 20 to 30 minutes, once the female is finished grooming, the cycle will repeat. This special feature of the front paws, on the inside of the wrists has no function in normal walking, but is thought to be an antiskidding device used while jumping. In many countries, they are believed to have nine lives, but in Italy, Germany, Greece, Brazil and some Spanish-speaking regions, they are said to have seven lives, while in Turkish and Arabic traditions, the number of lives is six. , Spaying or neutering increases life expectancy: one study found neutered male cats live twice as long as intact males, while spayed female cats live 62% longer than intact females. They establish territories that vary considerably in size, in one study ranging from 7 to 28 hectares (17–69 acres).  In the United States, about 80% of household cats are neutered. Several natural behaviors and characteristics of wildcats may have pre-adapted them for domestication as pets. , Several males, called tomcats, are attracted to a female in heat.  Domestic cats were spread throughout much of the rest of the world during the Age of Discovery, as ships' cats were carried on sailing ships to control shipboard rodents and as good-luck charms.  Some cats, particularly longhaired cats, occasionally regurgitate hairballs of fur that have collected in their stomachs from grooming. , Cats are known for spending considerable amounts of time licking their coats to keep them clean. Cat Location: Africa Asia Central-America Eurasia Europe North-America Oceania South-America. Also Felis silvestris catus (based on its ancestral line to the African wildcat).The classification Felis domesticus is not used scientifically. The Greek historian Herodotus reported that killing a cat was forbidden, and when a household cat died, the entire family mourned and shaved their eyebrows. Most adult cats are lactose intolerant; the sugar in milk is not easily digested and may cause soft stools or diarrhea. , The Corsican wildcat is considered to have been introduced to Corsica before the beginning of the 1st millennium. Its hearing sensitivity is enhanced by its large movable outer ears, the pinnae, which amplify sounds and help detect the location of a noise.  Estimated genetic divergence times of the listed species are indicated in million years ago (Mya), based on analysis of autosomal, xDNA, yDNA and mtDNA gene segments.  , Certain species appear more susceptible than others; for example, 30% of house sparrow mortality is linked to the domestic cat. The largest is the jungle cat with a head and body length from 62 to 76 cm (24 to 30 in).  Domestic cats are bred and shown at events as registered pedigreed cats, a hobby known as cat fancy. :16 Unlike human arms, cat forelimbs are attached to the shoulder by free-floating clavicle bones which allow them to pass their body through any space into which they can fit their head.  The timing of cats' activity is quite flexible and varied, which means house cats may be more active in the morning and evening, as a response to greater human activity at these times. Cat Facts: Diet: Omnivore Lifestyle: Solitary. While ADW staff and contributors provide references to books and websites that we believe are reputable, we cannot necessarily endorse the contents of references beyond our control. Cats reject novel flavors (a response termed neophobia) and learn quickly to avoid foods that have tasted unpleasant in the past.  A predator that is most active at dawn and dusk, the cat is a solitary hunter but a social species.
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