Thursday, April 10, 2008

everything you ever wanted to know about cats--AND MORE!

All you ever wanted to know about cats:

Lowest-ranking breeds: Bloodhound, Golden Retriever, Akita, Rottweiler, Newfoundland.

The cat's purr may be a self-healing mechanism. Cats purr at between 25 and 50 hertz, a frequency at which vibrations have been found to have a wide range of medical benefits, from increasing bone density and helping in the healing of fractures, torn tendons and muscles to generally relieving pain.

Cats are highly promiscuous. Male cats aren't fussy about who they mate with.

Cats have more than 20 muscles in their external ears, or pinnae. As a result, they can move each ear independently of the other, using them to identify and amplify sounds quickly. They can also move their bodies in one direction while pointing their ears in another.

When researchers tracked the behaviour of a white tomcat for a year, they found he fathered 63 kittens with a number of different females. That's one every six days or so.

Male cats appear to be possessive and certainly don't like the idea of sharing. Indeed, knowing their partners are being "unfaithful" makes them less fertile. One study of the sexual activity of male cats found some were capable of having sex ten times in an hour.

An average mother cat has between one and eight kittens per litter, though a litter may contain as many as 13 kittens. In one case, a cat was discovered to be carrying 18 foetuses. One cat was recorded as having 420 kittens over a period of 17 years. The oldest known mother was pregnant at the age of 26.

Cats' milk contains eight times more protein and three times as much fat as human milk.

Cats are hypercarnivores. This means they need a much higher amount of protein in their diet than almost any other mammal. An adult cat needs its diet to contain 12 per cent protein while a kitten needs half as much again, 18 per cent. Dogs are capable of living healthily on much less than this. An adult dog needs a diet of only 4 per cent protein. This is why dogs are much better suited than cats to vegetarian diets.

Cats can fish. To land their catches, they use a cunning "flip" technique. Depending on the size of their prey, they will dip one or two front paws into the water and quickly slide them under the fish's belly. They will then flip the fish out of the water, throwing it behind them, over their heads and on to land, where they will eat it. When kittens throw a ball up into the air as if to catch it, they are not playing. In fact, they are practising the fishing techniques they would use if they were living in the wild.

Cats are much less likely to become overweight than dogs. One vet reported that 30 per cent of dogs that came to his clinic were overweight. Only 10 per cent of cats suffered from obesity. Anorexia is more common in cats than dogs, though dogs can suffer from it. In their case, the condition is often associated with anxiety about being separated from their owners.

The cat has a symmetrical walk, with its left limbs moving in sequence together, half a stride apart from its right limbs. The giraffe and the camel are thought to be among the few other animals that walk thisway. Cats normally walk at around 0.9 metres a second - that's just over 2mph. Most breeds of domestic cat can run at speeds of up to 30mph. The Egyptian Mau, exceptionally fast, can reach up to 36mph.

Cats instinctively react to cold by baring their teeth and walking around in circles.

All 38 members of the modern cat family are believed to be descended from just eight ancestors: the ocelot, panther, caracal, baycat, Asian leopard, puma, lynx and the domestic cat. The domestic cat evolved from the African wild cat and six species of small cats that thrived around the Mediterranean.

Cats signal friendship by sticking their tails in the air. Scientists think this might be a rare case of a behaviour that has evolved since the domestic cat started living with humans. In the wild, cats raise their tails into an upright position only in order to spray urine. A household cat, however, adopts this position for long periods of time while it conducts friendly rubbing with another cat.

Black cats shouldn't he seen as symbols of bad luck - quite the opposite, in fact. Scientists have discovered that, if anything, black cats have a fortunate genetic make-up. The gene for melanism, which makes their fur black, may also be able to prevent certain viruses or bacteria from entering their cells, making them more resistant to disease than cats with lighter-coloured coats. Dark coats also act as a better camouflage for hunting.

Among domestic breeds of cat, the Bengal has an unusual affinity for water. It frequently jumps into its owner's bath, generally uninvited.

Cats have a blind spot, right under their nose. For this reason, they can't find titbits on the floor.

Cats gets stuck up trees because of an evolutionary design fault. Their claws curve under, making them a useful tool for climbing up but less handy when coming down, as they can't grip so effectively. As a result, cats tend to use a far-from-graceful backwards-sliding technique to get out of trees.

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