The Cat Essay Research Paper Cat Domestic — страница 2

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litter consists of 4 kittens. Kittens are born blind, deaf, and helpless. Their eyes open at 8 to 10 days of age, and they begin to be weaned about 6 weeks after birth. DCoat Colors The domestic cat’s original coat color was probably greyish-brown with darker tabby stripes, a color that provides excellent camouflage in a variety of environments. All other coat colors and patterns are the result of genetic mutations; for example, solid coat colors such as black and blue are the result of a gene that suppresses tabby stripes; an orange coat is the result of a gene that transforms black pigment to orange; and a solid white coat is the result of a gene that completely suppresses all formation of pigment. Two pigments, black and orange, form the basis for all coat colors in the

modern domestic cat. These pigments may be combined with each other or with white (the absence of pigment). A single gene, the O (Orange) gene, determines whether a cat’s coat contains black or orange pigment. The O gene can be thought of as a switch that is either on (orange) or off (black). The gene is located on the X chromosome, so its inheritance is sex-linked. IIICAT BREEDS About 40 varieties, or breeds, of domestic cats are recognized internationally. Although the various cat breeds often differ dramatically in coat length and overall look, they vary less in size than do dog breeds. The smallest cat breeds weigh about 2 to 3 kg (about 5 to 7 lb) when full grown; the largest weigh about 7 to 9 kg (about 15 to 20 lb). So far, attempts to develop miniature or giant domestic

cat breeds have been unsuccessful. ABreed Origins Many domestic cat breeds, including the Maine coon, Manx, Russian blue, and Siamese, began as a naturally-occurring variety of domestic cat native to a specific geographic area. Others, such as the Himalayan, are man-made breeds, the result of generations of careful breeding for a desired look. Some relatively new breeds, including the curly-coated Rex breeds, the hairless Sphynx, the fold-eared Scottish fold, and the curl-eared American curl, began with a genetic mutation and were then developed by selective breeding into a distinct breed. BBreed Standards For each domestic cat breed, there is an official standard of perfection registered with different cat associations that describes the ideal cat of that breed and its

distinctive features; lists desirable and undesirable characteristics; and mentions faults that, in a cat show, could result in penalty or disqualification. For example, in the Siamese breed standard, the eyes are described as almond-shaped and slanting toward the nose; a tendency to squint is penalized, and crossed eyes are a disqualifying fault. Breed standards differ slightly from cat association to cat association, and not all cat associations recognize every breed. To become recognized in a particular cat association, a breed must first be accepted for provisional status by that association. To become recognized for championship competition, the breed must complete a rigorous set of requirements that differ from association to association. IVTHE CARE OF CATS Cats are known

for their ability to fend for themselves in the wild, but household pets, dependent on human beings for care and feeding, require considerable attention. Educational materials on the care of cats and responsible cat ownership are available through bookstores and local humane societies. AGeneral Care Although cats have a reputation for being relatively independent, domestic cats require love and attention from their owners. A balanced daily diet, such as that provided by high-quality commercial cat food, is essential for health and longevity, as is a regular supply of fresh water. Regular cleaning of litter pans is necessary to prevent disease; some cats will refuse to use a badly soiled litter pan. Cats’ claws should be trimmed frequently. To prevent damage to furniture, cats

that live indoors should be provided with a scratching post, preferably covered with a rough material such as sisal rope. Cats use their tongues to clean their coats, and they normally swallow any loose hair. All cats, including shorthairs, should be brushed weekly to remove loose hair; this will help prevent hairballs from forming in their stomachs. A few longhaired breeds, such as the Persian and the Himalayan, require daily combing to prevent their long, soft fur from matting. BNeutering or Spaying Every year hundreds of thousands of unwanted domestic cats and kittens are destroyed because homes cannot be found for them. To avoid contributing to this problem, a cat should be altered (surgically treated to make it incapable of reproducing) unless it is a registered, pedigreed