With a reputation for being independent and not very attached to their caregivers, the truth is that cats are great companions for any home. They can be as affectionate as dogs, but they will differ considerably, not just physically. It is essential that we know the character, the behavior and the needs, that is to say all the characteristics of the cat, before adopting one.
To guarantee a happy coexistence, in this Love ‘ Pets Feed ‘ article, we review all the details, information and facts about our feline friends, and we will explain how cats are.
Origin and evolution of the cat
There are many qualities of cats. Smart, elegant or agile, but these are just a few of the qualifiers we can use to refer to this feline that has adapted to life with humans and to life inside their homes and in cities, forming what are called colonies. Cats approached humans about 10,000 years ago, attracted by the abundance of rodents that roamed human settlements, which realized the value of the cat in controlling these pests. But, in addition, in civilizations such as Egyptian cats, they were sacred animals, gods and so respectable that they were buried with honors.
Over the years, the relationship between cats and humans has experienced different ups and downs, but cats have always managed to adapt to each situation in order to survive. Today, they are among the favorite pets even if, unfortunately, there are still many people who decide to abandon them to their fate.
As for the origin of the cat as a species, there are several theories around it, so it is still debated as to how it appeared.
Taxonomy of cats
We begin this review of the characteristics of the cat with its taxonomy, which is the scientific classification which places this species in the animal kingdom according to its most important parameters:
- Reign: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Sous-embr: Vertebrata.
- Class: Mammalia
- Subclass: Placentalia
- Order: Carnivora
- Suborder: Feliformia
- Family: Felidae
- Subfamily: Felinae
- Tribe: Felini
- Genre: Felis
- Species: Felis silvestris
Characteristics of cats?
As for the physical characteristics of the cat, we are facing a quadruped mammal, with a tail, although the Manx cat lacks it, retractable claws and hairs that cover its entire body. It has about 230 bones which allow great flexibility and elasticity. Plus their whiskers, which are modified hairs with a sensitive function.
Its coloring is very variable and can be monochrome, two-color or three-color and have different striped patterns and lengths. Although there are variations between specimens and more or less large breeds, we can establish an average weight of between 3 and 5 kg.
In addition, cats are viviparous animals, which means that they give birth to their young in litters of around 4 to 5 kittens who will be fed with their mother’s milk during their first weeks of life. We also highlight their senses of sight, hearing and smell, which facilitates their life as a predatory animal. His body temperature is between 38 and 39 ° C.
Where do cats live?
Cats are distributed worldwide. Currently, we can speak of a domestic cat habitat, which would be that corresponding to specimens that live with humans, and to other cats, considered as wild, that we find in natural environments without contact with humans. In addition, around human nuclei, there are stray cats who seek life without anyone being directly responsible for it. Under these conditions, cats hardly survive.
The importance of environmental enrichment
We must take into account the characteristics of the cat for the coexistence in our house to be successful. For this, you need essential utensils such as a sandbox with a shovel, a scraper, a manger, a drinking fountain and food adapted to the nutritional needs of the cat according to its vital stage. In addition, it is convenient to provide entertainment, for which we will find several toys, and an environment where the cat can climb, hide, rest, etc.
Cats are strict carnivorous animals. Their diet in the wild was based on hunting rodents, birds and lizards and it is not uncommon for them to occasionally ingest plants, supposedly to supplement their diet.
Currently, we can choose between several options, such as homemade food, animal food, wet or dehydrated food, but always depending on the vital stage in which the cat is in order not to fall into nutritional deficiencies.
Contrary to popular belief, where the image of the cat is attached to a plate of milk, adult cats do not need to consume this food. In fact, with age, they lose the essential enzyme to digest milk, so that milk can be indigestible for them.
Behavior and personality of cats
Among the characteristics of the cat, its character stands out, although there are huge variations depending on the specimen and the experiences it has had throughout its life. We can highlight his rich communication, which includes body language and sounds such as meows, grunts and purrs. Another very important form of communication is the pheromones it emits and detects.
Cats are distinguished by their cleanliness and, except in case of illness, they will devote hours to self-grooming. Much of the remaining time is spent sleeping. In addition to cleaning, they need to sharpen their nails. If we do not provide them with suitable places, such as a scraper, it is likely that our furniture or curtains will eventually tear. Continuing hygiene, they will evacuate into the sandbox.
Cats, with the exception of the cat and its litters, have solitary habits. Although they may live in settlements or communities, it is also true that it can be a stressful situation, that they will manifest themselves in potential fights, decreased appetite, etc. They are lovers of routines, so any change must be made after a period of adaptation. Unlike dogs, they do not require the learning of basic orders, although it is practical to establish rules of coexistence and devote them to time and attention.
How do cats reproduce? Male cats can breed whenever they detect the proximity of a cat in heat. These are seasonal polyesters, which means that during the months with the highest incidence of sunlight, they will experience continuous jealousy. This makes one of the characteristics of cats their ability to reproduce even three times a year. Gestation lasts about nine weeks. After birth, kittens must spend at least eight weeks with their mother and siblings.
Cats quickly reach sexual maturity, around 6-8 months. Early sterilization of males and females is recommended as part of a responsible diet to avoid problems of coexistence, health and uncontrolled reproduction.
Cat breeds: classification
There are currently over 100 standardized and registered cat breeds. The oldest breeds have short hairs and are the descendants of the cats that the Romans spread throughout Europe. The first long-haired cat was the Angora cat from Turkey. The next was the famous Persian from Asia. From the Far East came the Siamese, while from Russia the Russian blue spread and from Ethiopia Abyssinia.
The characteristics of the cat, basically, will not vary from one breed to another, but we can find some more typical traits of one or the other. It is convenient that we inform ourselves before adopting. According to the International Feline Federation, cat breeds are grouped into four categories, which are as follows:
- Category I: Persian and exotic like the ragdoll.
- Category II: medium-long hairs like the Norwegian forest cat or the Angora.
- Category III: short hairs such as bengal, chartreux or manx.
- Category IV: Siamese and oriental such as the Abyssinian cat, the Sphynx, the Devon Rex, the Russian blue or the Balinese.
Cat life expectancy
If we decide to adopt one and ask how long a cat lives, although there are variations depending on the quality of life received, we can enjoy it for about 12-15 years. Of course, there are also cats that exceed this figure and that live up to 20 years. Everything will depend on the quality of life he has had and the care he has received.
Fun facts about cats
- One of the characteristics of the male cat is its spicule penis. This conformation is due to the fact that at the end of sexual intercourse, the cat must receive a stimulus for ovulation to occur.
- Another curious fact is about its anatomy is the cap or the tricolor layer, which can only occur in females, since the so-called red color is associated with the X chromosome. In addition, cats have become animals revered, with punishments for whoever dared to harm them, to relate to pagan celebrations, so that they end up associating with the devil and witchcraft. So, in many places, black cats were associated with bad luck.
- On the other hand, the resistance of cats has prolonged the belief that they have seven lives. Seven is a number that is considered lucky, and that cats always fall on their feet. While this statement is not entirely true, it is another curious fact about cats, how they manage to straighten their bodies to fall well when they are rushing from heights.
Finally, the love of cats and their current popularity have led some specimens to become mayors of their cities. An example is the famous Stubbs, leader of a small town in Alaska, who died a few years ago.