The domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus), popularly called cat, and colloquially minino, michino, michi, micho, mizo, miz, morroño or morrongo, among other names, is a carnivorous mammal of the family Felidae. It is a subspecies domesticated by the coexistence with the human being.
The current name in many languages comes from the Latin catus vulgar. Paradoxically, catus referred to wild cats, while domestic cats, in Latin, were called felis.
As a result of genetic mutations, crossbreeding and artificial selection, there are numerous breeds. Some, like the Sphynx or the Peterbald breed are hairless; others lack a tail, like the Manx breed cats, and some have atypical colorations, like the so-called blue cats.
The cat communicates through vocalizations. The most popular ones are its characteristic meow and purr, but it can howl, moan, grunt and snort. Also, it adopts poses or expressions that inform, to its congeners, its enemies or its caretakers, of its mood or intentions.
Along with the dog, it is the most popular domestic animal, as a pet, as an aid in fighting rodents, or both.
Because of its wide range of potential prey, its high efficiency as a predator, and its high reproductive success – especially if food is artificially supplied to the colonies without taking additional measures to limit their fertility – the domestic cat is included in the list of 100 of the most harmful invasive exotic species in the world by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Cats are one of the most popular pets in the world and are famous for their bad temper and desire to sleep curled up in your favorite armchair. Perhaps, they are less expressive than a dog, but not for that reason less interesting.
Cats are mysterious animals, they don’t usually show many emotions, but the truth is that they express themselves in a very particular way. Today, we want to share with you some very curious facts about cats.
It is difficult to understand a cat, that king of beauty and inexpressivity that has its own codes. And they are often radically different from those of other domestic animals.
A moment for the anecdotary: there is a page on Facebook called Perritos haciendo cosas that is probably the best thing that has happened to that social network in years. It consists of photos of dogs of all sizes and breeds in quite particular situations and with some simple, but very lucid, captions that upload the invention to the altars of modern humor. The page has almost two million followers.
There is also another one called Kittens Doing Things. Repeating the invention with the real heroes of the Internet seemed like a safe bet, but it was only half done. Only about 120,000 people follow kittens. Why? Because a type of humor that plays with expressiveness and its re-readings is in opposition to the reality of cats: their grace consists in the fact that they are inexpressive, indolent and almost unalterable. They serve to express hundreds of emotions, but possibly none of them serve to build a story of tenderness or warm humor.
This is what those of us who live with cats love, but also what sometimes drives us crazy when it comes to understanding them. That’s why, following the trail of this article about dogs that we published at ICON, we go over a series of things that we usually do with our cats thinking that they like them and, often, they just cause confusion and displeasure. Note that this does not apply to all cats. You may know one of those strange specimens that loves water, for example. There are cats for everything.
No, the cat is not a dog. “It is not the most recommended place to pet a cat, although there are exceptions, as in everything”, tells us Adriana Mármol, vet of the catfriendly Triavet clinic, in Sant Cugat del Valles (Catalonia). “The belly area is very vulnerable for a cat,” adds Belén Montoya, a specialist at the Gattos veterinary clinic, an exclusive center for feline health in Madrid. “Many owners interpret that the cat puts its belly up to be touched and it is the opposite: this posture usually shows excitement or desire to play, so the result could be a bite or a scratch”, adds Montoya.
Yes, cats are curious animals, but for a pet that has its needs covered going out in the street only causes stress and confusion. “We’ve all heard of a cat being taken out on the street with its harness and leash,” says Marble. She adds: “This exists, but in order to do it well we would have to get him used to it since he was a child and have a gradual exposure to all kinds of stimuli. Otherwise we would have many problems and subject the cat to a very high stress that is not worth it”.
Let’s see: the carrier is for the cat, not for you. Don’t be frivolous when buying a product whose use (usually to travel, go to the vet or go through a move) is a significant level of stress for your feline friend. “Most animal accessories are made considering what the owner wants and not what the animal really needs”, says Adriana Mármol. Belén Montoya even recommends that “the carrier should be covered, so that it doesn’t get glances from people or other animals”.
The most recommended carriers are those that are hard, that have a base on which the cat can feel stable. There is one that has become fashionable and successful in social networks: a kind of rucksack that contains a dome through which the cat can see the outside. “It’s a real aberration from an ethological point of view,” reveals Marble. “Ethological veterinarians insist a lot on the characteristics that a suitable carrier must have and this one does not meet a single requirement”.
And when we say pedicure, let’s clarify, we mean to periodically cut the cat’s nails and not to tear them off, a cruel act carried out by some owners who wanted to live with a cuddly toy and not with an animal with its own habits and instincts. Fortunately, claw removal surgery was banned by Congress in March of last year.
Another thing is, as we said, cutting the cat’s claws. It is not necessary for their welfare (and in fact for cats that go outdoors it is not recommended, since with sharp claws they climb trees and defend themselves from a possible enemy). With indoor cats it is a good way to protect our couches and our arms when we play with them. Depending on the animal, cutting its claws can be a more or less simple act or unleash hell on earth. “There are cats that are not too uncomfortable and others that need to be directly sedated,” explains Marble. Montoya offers these tips: “You can trick them with food or take advantage of them when they’re asleep. And always use a good nail clipper that doesn’t chip the nails and doesn’t cut too close to the base, something that can also hurt them (as if we were cutting ours a few extra millimeters too fast).
“The cat’s ancestor is the Felis silvestris libyca: a strict carnivore, territorial (the territories of males are up to three times larger than those of females) and solitary”, says Adriana Marmol. It is clear, isn’t it? It’s not that cats are pathological antisocials, it’s that their ways of understanding society are different. “As a rule, introducing a new cat into the house when there is already another one before it has lived there for a long time does not usually please them very much”, continues the specialist. “Many factors are involved here, such as how territorial our cat is, its character, age, the amount and distribution of resources in the house, the existence of safe areas, the management of the caretaker towards the cats and, above all, the way in which the introduction of a new cat in the house is done. And, if you plan to live with two, the best option is to adopt them already together when they are still young”.
“It is normal that we, as humans, like this way of showing affection, but cats have other ways of doing it,” says Adriana Marmol. “They can often interpret hugs as a threat, as they feel cornered, and respond in a negative way. But again, as in other cases, there are cats that tolerate being hugged and restrained by their owner.
It was a common stamp in times past, so much so that it gave rise to a popular phrase: “put the bell on the cat” (which according to some has its origin in a poem by Lope de Vega). And some may still remember it in cats that their grandmothers or neighbors of another generation had. But now. Please, no rattlesnake collars. “The constant sound is very stressful for them,” says Belén Montoya, “and it also doesn’t allow them to be alert, which is necessary for a cat. Marble also points out that it could cause significant damage to the animal: “That tinkling sound stuck to its ear every day can not only affect its hearing, but also cause chronic discomfort”. Montoya points out that the use of the rattle could be allowed in some very particular cases, such as “cats that live with a blind person and there is a risk of stepping on or hitting the animal”.
No, your cat is not you and doesn’t find the same things you do tasty (which explains, for example, why he considers a fly or a spider a delicacy). In the case of candy, they are not even adapted to capture that flavor. According to Adriana Mármol, “their receptors are deactivated, so this flavor should not interest them. However, I know a cat that goes crazy when it detects food with chocolate”. But a note: “We should never give chocolate to our cats and dogs either, it can be toxic for them”. Curiously, according to Montoya, they do detect bitterness. Cat stuff.
It is believed that the first ancestor of the cat lived 30 million years ago.
In ancient Egypt, cats were worshipped. Also, the kidnapping and sale of cats could be punished with death.
If the cat of an Egyptian family died, its owners shaved their eyebrows as a sign of mourning
Isaac Newton, among his many accomplishments, invented folding doors for cats, so that his pets would not distract him from his studies when he wanted to enter or leave the house
Cats came to America from Europe in the 18th century with the aim of fighting pests.
Towser, a Scottish cat, holds the Guinness record of being the best mouse hunter.
Puss, an English cat, has the record of longevity: he lived 36 years.
An article in ‘Science’ left us stunned when it stated that dogs understand us. We investigate if it is the case of the feline
The cat has been a part of man’s life for more than 9,000 years, but in spite of its domestication, it is a solitary animal and most of its actions are aimed at maintaining this independent and isolated nature. Researchers from the University of Tokyo concluded in 2013 that the reason why they behave so differently from dogs, the other pet par excellence, is that, unlike dogs, they have never been domesticated to obey humans. Even so, beyond their individualistic character, these little friends love us, but do they understand us?
A study published this year in the magazine Science affirms that dogs are capable of listening to us with attention and of distinguishing perfectly the words that we dedicate to them and the intonation with which we express them, but this communication is not so direct in the case of the cats. According to John Bradshaw, zoologist and expert in feline behavior at the University of Bristol (UK) and author of In a Cat’s Mind: New Answers from Science on How Your Cat Thinks (RBA), “cats can make associations between our words and our actions, but without understanding their meaning.
“The contacts should always be brief, trying not to overwhelm him, and the areas in which we will focus, the head, the chin, the base of the ears and the nape of the neck” (Rosana Álvarez, veterinarian)
For Rosana Álvarez, a veterinarian specialized in behavioral medicine at the Reference Veterinary Center of the Bay of Málaga, “the cat is not capable of generating such a strong bond with human beings because in addition to not understanding our language, it does not have the same tendency or ability to observe us. In general, the dog is always willing to please us and the cat, to perceive its environment as threatening and to avoid it. Even so, we can establish a good communication with them, the key is to enjoy with the observation and with the company that he wants to offer us: if the cat is not in good predisposition we will not achieve that he values our caresses, but only that he moves away from us. The contacts must be always brief, trying not to overwhelm him, and the zones in which we will be centered will be the head, the chin, the base of the ears and the nape of the neck. Respecting these conditions, the relationship between the master and his cat can be very enriching. These are some of the advices offered by the experts to improve the communication with your cat.
The zoologist and ethologist Paul Leyhausen, in a chapter of the book The New Book of the Cat (Everest) dedicated to the language of cats, assures that we must pay special attention to the eyes, ears, postures and position of the tail of our pet. His behavior could indicate us if he feels like our closeness or the opposite. Alvarez explains the possible readings of their body language:
John Bradshaw explains that the cat meows to get our attention because he has learned that when he does, we come, but that meowing does not help him run to our side. However, it is a good idea to observe what sounds he makes when he interacts with other cats, as a greeting, and emulate him. “Usually it is soft and reassuring vocalizations, as if to make it clear that we are all friends,” explains the zoologist.
For Rosana Alvarez it is important that the cat can climb: “If we live with a cat we must take into account their needs and one of the most basic is to let them use vertical space. We can’t live with a cat and punish it for climbing on the furniture, because doing so is a behavioral need of his and, if he feels punished, it worsens the relationship with his owner”.
Researchers at Nursing Research say that living with a cat reduces the risk of heart attack, something that does not happen when the animal in the house is a dog. Why? Because cat owners enjoy their company just as much as if they were dogs, but because they don’t have to take care of the day-to-day care of their cats, they feel more liberated and their hearts suffer less. According to this trial, living with dogs does not report this same protective effect and their owners have the same probabilities of suffering a heart attack as people who do not have an animal. One more reason, and of weight, to take care of the relation with our feline.
Yes, you can do it, not as easily as if you were a dog, but it is possible. However, to do so you must be patient, rely on the use of your own facial expressions and use gestures rather than words. Mikel María Delgado, an expert in human-animal behavior and co-owner of the company Feline Minds, whose aim is to help owners live in harmony with their cats, insists that cats can read our exaggerated facial expressions, but that they only react to them when they have learned that the emotions involved have a direct impact on them. For example, if we tell him with a sore face “don’t bite me”, he will understand our message much better than if we tell him with a neutral expression, because as we have already explained, the cat does not understand our oral messages. Behaving like this, after repeating several times this gesticulation, the cat ends up understanding that it cannot bite.
On the other hand, John Bradshaw assures that it is better to train a cat by holding its paw or touching its butt than by asking “give me the paw” or “sit down”. As for the differences with respect to training the dog, he insists that toys are a better reward for him than food and that, since his attention span is very small, we must observe him and find a moment in which the cat is receptive to what we want to teach him, because in 90% of the occasions he will not be. In any case, it’s very important to do it with love, because as Bradshaw explains, “cats don’t forget and if someone makes them anxious, they move away from him and communication between the two is no longer possible”.
Cats also play. Keep him entertained and fit with these ten cat games – he’ll love them!
Did you know that there is a cat day celebrated every August 8th? Yes, didn’t you know? However, this date is not clear, as many cat experts claim that it is also February 20th and October 29th. We don’t know why this discrepancy in dates is so important, but it’s better for them because they have three days when their owners have to spend all their time on them.
And how to do it? By playing games. In fact, playing with your cat is just as important as keeping it properly fed and cared for. The truth is that playing prevents her from suffering from stress, anxiety and even depression. In short, if you want to keep an eye on your cat’s health, she needs to be entertained to keep her fit, both physically and mentally.
But why play with him? Here are some cat games that will be fun for both you and your cat. Let’s see what they are. Let the fun begin…
Although it is true that a simple cardboard box with stimulating objects inside it or some soap bubbles can be very helpful and handy cat games, it never hurts to get everything done once in a while. This is what happens with this cat scratching tree.
Its assembly is very simple. In addition, you can place it anywhere in your house and always have it well trained. A real feline Rocky Balboa. It includes a rest nest, an observation platform and a game bag. However, the cat can not exceed 7 kg. With luck, this cat toy will keep him entertained and well away from the furniture in your house that he will refrain from scratching, as he will already be more than satisfied with his scratching tree.
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This toy is capable of keeping your cat entertained for a good few hours. It includes four cat’s tracks and has been made of polyester. Don’t be afraid because it is very resistant and you will be able to fold them and keep it comfortably when they finish their runs. And it is very durable; each tunnel is 65 cm long and cats, puppies, rabbits can play.
Besides, it has been specially designed to stimulate their intelligence and attract their attention, which is not all about muscles, right? Specifically, it consists of crepe paper in the tunnel, so that when the animal moves in it, it will emit a sound.
By the way, it is so spacious that you can even fall asleep inside if you get tired in the middle of the game. This is quite possible.
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Another way to entertain your cat is this interactive toy, which is extremely fun and also mentally stimulating. Thus, this cat game is approximately 20 centimeters high and the weight of its base allows it to stand up again, even if you knock it down completely. Inside there is a small bell that sounds with every movement, and your cat will love the feathers on her new toy!
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If you spend a lot of time away from home and want to keep your cat entertained during your absences, this game can help you do so. In particular, the balls will keep him most of the day busy and intrigued with its operation. We explain you what it consists of. First of all, the tower of the toy on the court stimulates the cat and awakens its hunting instincts (somewhat lethargic from life with humans). Therefore, the animal stays fit and alert thanks to this fun gadget.
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Among the toys that exist on the market one of the most classic and that is always a hit is this cave shaped like a mouse. This cave can become the Port Aventura of any feline and, of course, give it a good night’s sleep, since it can sleep inside. Thus, on one of the sides we find a sisal scraper accessible from both outside and inside. The ears do not lack detail either, since they have been made with crunch paper, which is a powerful attraction for the attention of our pets.
When you want to wash the cushion, you can do it easily since it can be easily removed and put in the washing machine without any further disturbance.
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A curious tunnel that few cats will be able to resist. Not in vain, it has everything necessary to provide hours of fun for cats. In particular, this play tunnel produces a crunchy and mysterious sound that will powerfully call the attention of the feline. Besides, inside it we find crunch paper that stimulates the cat’s game.
Its creators have thought of everything and have presented this feline toy in a flirty two-color design (black and white) that will be very aesthetic in your home. Therefore, you won’t feel like picking up the “kid’s” toys.
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Surely this toy won’t catch you by surprise as it has been one of the best selling cat products for years. So, we are talking about a fun laser led in the shape of a mouse with which you can play with your pet that, surely, is chasing it hard to try and snack on it. The truth is that you can also live in illusion and, of course, your cat will be enthusiastic about this elusive mouse.
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A soft, hedgehog-shaped cuddly toy that will want to bite into infinity and beyond. It only costs two euros and provides hours of fun. It is perfect for the cat to get fed up with biting and playing. Then we put it in the washing machine and ready for another play session. The truth is that these two species get along great and there have even been cases of cats that have suckled urchin babies as their own. A real example of madrasah.
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One of the best selling cat products on Amazon, for a reason, right? Thousands of cats guarantee its effectiveness. Although it all depends on your pet’s character, the most normal thing is that he gets excited about this circuit and wants to intercept the balls that run through it.
As it happens with children, it is very possible that he will play with a crazy person at the beginning and then he will decrease his interest. In this case, we save the cat toy and bring it back after a while. It’s a 100% effective way to regain lost enthusiasm. Moreover, it is now discounted as you can buy it for 9.99 euros, when its original price is 19.50 euros.
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If you want to keep your cat gawking and freaking out for a while, this gadget is for you (or rather your cat). The device turns on a slippery light that confuses the cat, because it doesn’t know exactly where it comes from or what it’s about. The more daring ones will try to catch it, while the more skeptical ones will remain attentive to its game and from time to time will make some sort of capture attempt. It’s perfect if your cat is one of those who demands that you play with them constantly as this toy will keep them entertained for quite some time.
Of course, sometimes we can keep them intrigued and interested with very simple games like the one practiced by the trilers because in which glass is the prize? All you need is three glasses and a good handful of cat treats to reward their attention every time you get it right.
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Cats are one of the favorite pets. With long or short hair, they are characterized by their independence, their sense of smell and their hearing, which is two octaves better than that of humans. In recent times, breeders have experimented with cats, giving rise to new specimens. Here I propose to know some of the strangest breeds of cats that surpass any fiction.
According to studies, cats have lived with us for 9500 years. In some cultures they occupied a very important place. In the Egyptian one, for example, they were idolized while in the Japanese one they were considered carriers of good luck.
Nowadays, more than 50 different cat breeds are known, and most of them are not the result of nature.
This breed is striking because it looks like they have no hair. However, they have a slight layer of very fine hair that can hardly be perceived.
Their origin is the result of a genetic mutation that originated in the 1960s in Canada.
Sphinxes have a very calm and affectionate temperament. Due to the little presence of hair, they are very sensitive to low temperatures.
This cat is characterized by having small ears, which at 10 days of birth begin to bend backwards.
The American Curl is also the result of a genetic mutation that occurred in the early 1980s in California.
Originally from Scotland, this breed is distinguished by having small ears folded forward. They have short hair and their nose is flat.
The Scottish Fold are great hunters and their crossing is forbidden because serious anomalies can occur.
The characteristic of these cats is that they do not have a tail. They are originally from the Isle of Man and their origin dates back to the 18th century.
This type of breed can have a small tail or no tail at all. In Asian countries Manx cats enjoy great sympathy.
Devon Rex cats have very large ears and the first specimens appeared in the 60’s in the United Kingdom. Their coat is short and they usually have a little curly hair.
This type of cat is very vigilant and its meow is very soft.
Originally from Thailand, the Oriental cat emerged in the mid 1950s as a result of a cross between an Oriental cat and a Balinese cat.
The characteristic of these cats is their boldness, intelligence and elegance.
Did you know these cat breeds? What other breeds can you think of?