The Cat Essay Research Paper Cat Domestic

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The Cat Essay, Research Paper Cat, Domestic, small, mainly carnivorous animal, Felis catus, member of the family Felidae, popular as a household pet, 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. IIORIGIN OF SPECIES Most authorities believe that the shorthaired breeds of domestic cat are derived from the Caffre cat, F. libyca, a species of African wildcat domesticated by the ancient Egyptians perhaps as early as 2500 BC and transported by the

Crusaders to Europe, where it interbred with the indigenous smaller wildcats. The longhaired breeds may have sprung from the Asian wildcat, F. manul. Over the centuries, cats have remained virtually the same in size, weighing about 3.6 kg (about 8 lb) when full-grown, and have preserved their instinct for solitary hunting. APhysiology of the Cat The body of a domestic cat is extremely flexible; its skeleton contains more than 230 bones (the human skeleton, although much larger, contains 206 bones), and its pelvis and shoulders are more loosely attached to its spine than in most other quadrupeds. The cat’s great leaping ability and speed are due in part to its powerful musculature. Its tail provides balance when jumping or falling. The cat’s claws are designed for catching and

holding prey. The sharp, hooked, retractile claws are sheathed in a soft, leathery pocket at the end of each toe, and are extended for fighting, hunting, and climbing. The cat marks its territory by scratching and scenting trees or other objects; its claws leave visible scratch marks, and the scent glands on its paw pads leave a scent mark. The cat’s teeth are designed for biting, not for chewing. Its powerful jaw muscles and sharp teeth enable the cat to deliver a killing bite to its prey. BSenses The cat’s vision is exceptionally well adapted for hunting, especially at night. It has excellent night vision; extensive peripheral vision; and binocular vision, which enables it to accurately judge distances. The cat’s daylight vision is not as good as that of humans; cats see

movement much more easily than detail, and are thought to see only a limited range of colors. The cat’s hearing is extremely sensitive. It can hear a wide range of sounds, including those in the ultrasonic range. Its ears are less sensitive to lower frequencies, which may explain why some domestic cats are more responsive to female voices than to male voices. The cat can turn its ears to focus on different sounds. The cat has a highly developed sense of smell, which plays a vital role in finding food and in reproduction. Many of the social signals of domestic cats take the form of scents; for example, male cats can apparently smell a female cat who is receptive to male cats from a distance of hundreds of meters or yards. The cat’s sense of taste is peculiarly specialized: it

has little ability to detect sweetness, but is extremely sensitive to slight variations in the taste of water. The cat’s tongue is covered with rough protuberances, or papillae, that it uses to rasp meat from bones. It also uses its tongue to groom itself. The cat’s whiskers, or vibrissae, are extremely sensitive to the slightest touch, and are used for testing obstacles and sensing changes in the environment. In extremely dim light, a cat may feel its way by using its whiskers. CReproduction The domestic cat usually reaches puberty at around nine or ten 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