Info about cats

Info about cats

The domestic cat

(Felis silvestris catus or Felis catus) 

The domestic cat is a small, typically furry, carnivorous mammal. They are often called house cats when kept as indoor pets or simply cats when there is no need to distinguish them from other felids and felines. They are often valued by humans for companionship and for their ability to hunt vermin. There are more than seventy cat breeds recognized by various cat registries.

Behavior

Outdoor cats are active both day and night, although they tend to be slightly more active at night.[138][139] 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.[140] Although they spend the majority of their time in the vicinity of their home, housecats can range many hundreds of meters from this central point, and are known to establish territories that vary considerably in size, in one study ranging from 7 to 28 hectares (17–69 acres).

Cats conserve energy by sleeping more than most animals, especially as they grow older. The daily duration of sleep varies, usually between 12 and 16 hours, with 13 and 14 being the average. Some cats can sleep as much as 20 hours. The term “cat nap” for a short rest refers to the cat’s tendency to fall asleep (lightly) for a brief period. While asleep, cats experience short periods of rapid eye movement sleep often accompanied by muscle twitches, which suggests they are dreaming.

Health

The average lifespan of pet cats has risen in recent years. In the early 1980s, it was about seven years, rising to 9.4 years in 1995 and 15.1 years in 2018. However, cats have been reported as surviving into their 30s, with the oldest known cat, Creme Puff, dying at a verified age of 38.

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. 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.

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.

Diseases

A wide range of health problems may affect cats, including infectious diseases, parasites, injuries, and chronic disease. Vaccinations are available for many of these diseases, and domestic cats are regularly given treatments to eliminate parasites such as worms and fleas.

Genetics

The domesticated cat and its closest wild ancestor are both diploid organisms that possess 38 chromosomes[133] and roughly 20,000 genes. About 250 heritable genetic disorders have been identified in cats, many similar to human inborn errors. The high level of similarity among the metabolism of mammals allows many of these feline diseases to be diagnosed using genetic tests that were originally developed for use in humans, as well as the use of cats as animal models in the study of the human diseases.

Behavior

Outdoor cats are active both day and night, although they tend to be slightly more active at night. 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.[140] Although they spend the majority of their time in the vicinity of their home, housecats can range many hundreds of meters from this central point, and are known to establish territories that vary considerably in size, in one study ranging from 7 to 28 hectares (17–69 acres).

Cats conserve energy by sleeping more than most animals, especially as they grow older. The daily duration of sleep varies, usually between 12 and 16 hours, with 13 and 14 being the average. Some cats can sleep as much as 20 hours. The term “cat nap” for a short rest refers to the cat’s tendency to fall asleep (lightly) for a brief period. While asleep, cats experience short periods of rapid eye movement sleep often accompanied by muscle twitches, which suggests they are dreaming.

Sociability

Although wildcats are solitary, the social behavior of domestic cats is much more variable and ranges from widely dispersed individuals to feral cat colonies that gather around a food source, based on groups of co-operating females. Within such groups, one cat is usually dominant over the others. Each cat in a colony holds a distinct territory, with sexually active males having the largest territories, which are about 10 times larger than those of female cats and may overlap with several females’ territories. These territories are marked by urine spraying, by rubbing objects at head height with secretions from facial glands, and by defecation. Between these territories are neutral areas where cats watch and greet one another without territorial conflicts. Outside these neutral areas, territory holders usually chase away stranger cats, at first by staring, hissing, and growling and, if that does not work, by short but noisy and violent attacks. Despite some cats cohabiting in colonies, they do not have a social survival strategy, or a pack mentality and always hunt alone.

However, some pet cats are poorly socialized. In particular, older cats may show aggressiveness towards newly arrived kittens, which may include biting and scratching; this type of behavior is known as feline asocial aggression.

Though cats and dogs are often characterized as natural enemies, they can live together if correctly socialized.

Life in proximity to humans and other domestic animals has led to a symbiotic social adaptation in cats, and cats may express great affection toward humans or other animals. Ethologically, the human keeper of a cat may function as a sort of surrogate for the cat’s mother, and adult housecats live their lives in a kind of extended kittenhood, a form of behavioral neoteny. The high-pitched sounds housecats make to solicit food may mimic the cries of a hungry human infant, making them particularly difficult for humans to ignore.

Domestic cats’ scent rubbing behavior towards humans or other cats is thought to be a feline means for social bonding.

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