The Anatomy of the Cat

The cat is probably one of the most beautiful and most graceful of all animals. As it moves, the power­ful muscles of its long, lithe body ripple under the soft fur, which is often beautifully marked. At rest, every line of its body curves into a graceful arc. The overall impression of the animal sometimes is one of complete indolence. This impression is shat­tered when the cat springs and attacks with ears flattened and fangs and claws bore.

The cats as a group range widely in size. The great (or big) cats, including the lion and tiger, are the largest. The domestic cat is one of the smallest. An adult domestic cat is about 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 centimeters) high. The length from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail averages 18 to 20 inches (46 to 51 centimeters), and the tail is about 10 to 15 inches (25 to 38 centimeters) long. Females usually weigh from 6 to 10 pounds (2.7 to 4.5 kilograms) and males from 10 to 15 pounds (4.5 to 6.8 kilograms), depending on skeletal size.

The Head and Body

The head is large compared with the rest of the body. The nose and jaws are short, so the face seems flat when compared with the faces of many other kinds of animals. The ears are large and flaring at the base. They taper up to rounded or pointed tips and stand erect. A cat has keen hearing and can detect many sounds that humans cannot hear. A cat usually turns its head in the direction of a sound. This aids both hearing and vision. In the cat, as in humans, the inner ear—a bony structure of fluid-filled semicircular canals—contains a complicated mechanism for maintaining body balance. It is this mechanism, not the cat’s tail, that enables the ani­mal to land on its feet when it falls.

The cat’s large and prominent eyes are placed well forward on the head and, like the eyes of humans, they face forward. The cat comes closer than does any other animal except the owl and the ape to having binocular vision similar to that of humans.

The size and position of the eyes permit as much light as possible to enter them and ensure an exten­sive field of vision—important factors in hunting and nocturnal prowling. A cat cannot see in total dark­ness, but it can see better in dim light than can most other kinds of animals. In bright light a cat’s pupils contract to narrow vertical slits. But in the dark these slits enlarge to round openings that admit a maximum amount of light. The eyes seem to shine in the dark. This shininess results when even the smallest amount of light strikes a reflective area of iridescent green or yellow crystalline needles in the inner lining of the eye. Eyes of the Siamese appear red in the dark; the retinas lack pigment, and the color is provided by blood vessels.

Small New World Cats

There are four kinds of small wildcats in tropical America, ranging over Mexico, Central America, and South America. One is the Pampa cat of the southern pampas (plains), the high Andes, and the open savanna (grassland) of central Brazil. It is about three feet long, in­cluding the tail which is one foot long. The color is pale ashy or tawny and the stripes more reddish than black. The stripes of the upper parts are often absent, or very faint. It feeds on birds, burrowing rodents, and any other mammal that it can catch.

The colacola is a larger cat, related to the pampas cat, and is very rare. Little is known about it.

Geoffrey’s cat is a gray or tawny spotted forest and open-country cat about two to three feet long. It is fairly common, and is widespread in southern South America. Its habits are the same as those of other small cats.

The smallest of the New World cats is known as the margay, and lives in Mexico and South America. It is a forest cat, and varies in color from rich yellow, tawny yellow, or reddish to buff and olive-gray, with black spots and stripes. In length it averages about three feet from its nose to the end of its tail. It lives in holes in trees, caves, or burrows of other animals, and has two or three young a year. Margays are said to make nice pets.

Small Old World Cats

There are 6 kinds of the smaller wildcats found in Europe, Asia, and Africa. The first of these, the European wildcat, is found in Scotland, on the continent of Europe, and in – Turkey. It is two and a half to three feet long, including its tail, which is ten inches to a foot in length. Its general color is brown or grayish with a strong black stripe down its back and black stripes on its head, face, and sides. Some look very much like large gray house cats.

The African wildcat ranges over most of Africa, except where the land is heavily forested. This range borders that of the European wildcat in Europe and extends eastward through Arabia and northern India. This wild­cat is the same size as the European. It differs in having a smaller tuft of hair on its ears, a low crest of hairs on its back, and less strongly marked stripes. Some also look like large gray house cats. They are also found in both brush and desert country.

The desert cat, so called because it is a desert-or semi desert-inhabiting animal, lives in parts of China. In general appearance it is very much like the African wildcat, but has a much longer tuft of hairs on its ears.

The sand cat, a typical desert cat, is known only in the Sahara Desert in Africa and in the deserts of Turkistan in Asia. It is the same size as the other wildcats but the soles of its feet are covered with a heavy growth of hair. It does not have tufts on its ears.

The black-footed cat of South Africa has its legs more marked with black, and is more heavily spotted than the other wildcats. It is one of the smallest cats, being two feet long including its very short tail, which is from six to eight inches in length.

The marbled cat of Asia is marked more with lines than with spots or stripes, giving it a marbled appearance. Its head and body are about 18 inches long with a tail of equal length. It is a forest cat and is active at night. It feeds on rats, squirrels, and birds. It is quite rare and little is known of its habits or life history.

The domestic cats

The ancestor of the domestic cat first appeared about 10,000,000 years ago, but it was not until 1500 B.c. that cats were adopted as household pets. The Egyptians, who were the first to do¬mesticate cats, made pets of African wildcats. Certain breeds that are common today probably descended from these tamed wildcats, while other breeds may be descended from an Oriental v cat. The earliest record of cats in Great Britain dates back to about a.d. 936 when a law was passed for their protection.

There are two groups of domestic cat types, long-hairs and short-hairs. There are further dif¬ferences within each group, based mainly on color.

Persian cats, originally an Oriental breed, are long-haired cats. Their colors include black, white, silver, and blue. A calico cat is a Persian with patches of black, orange, and cream on a white coat.

Cats of the short-hair type differ greatly in appearance. Among the most striking are the tailless Manx, the blue-eyed Siamese, and the curly-haired Rex. The domestic short-hair is the most common breed for keeping as a pet. Its short coat is often patterned with stripes, and its colors vary widely.

The Egyptians regarded the cat as sacred and worshiped it at the city of Bubastis. Their god¬dess Bast or Pacht was pictured with a cats head. Sacrifices were offered to the god and goddess, Ra and Isis, often represented as cats. When a house cat died, the family and servants shaved their eyebrows as a sign of mourning. The death of a temple cat was mourned by the whole city. Many mummies of cats have been found, pre¬pared in the same way as the mummies of kings and nobles. The penalty for killing a cat was death.

The tame cat was rare in Europe until after a.d. 1000. In European superstition the cat was usually an evil spirit rather than a god. The devil was often pictured as a black cat, and the familiar spirits of witches were sup¬posed to take the shape of cats. Even today some people believe that a black cat crossing their path will bring them bad luck.

Chester – abandoned cat

When we first found Chester, a male tabby kitten. He was probably about 4 weeks old then. Abandoned to the cold unfriendly streets. He was freightened, hungry and cold. When we scooped him up into our car, he was too weak even to struggle. He ate hungrily that first night home.We brought him to the veterinarian next morning to have him checked up. Thank God there was nothing wrong with him.

Then the BIG decision came: Do we want to keep him, or leave him at the shelter.

We decided to keep him, and have never looked back.

Then,about 1 year later,we stumbled upon three kittens, abandoned in a carton box, on the street corner. They were hardly a week old we could tell. We could just leave them there as if we had not found them. They would not have survived. We did the next natural thing that we could: we brought them home to nurse them.

It was through this experience 2nd time around that we decided to catch up on our reading on cats and animal care, talked to other cat owners and veterinarians, and practically learned everything we could learn about caring for them.

One of our neighbours’ moved out, and left behind a kitten , He was then about 6 months old. We took him in..(he adopted us :-).and the journey continues…

It was a journey we will never forget: A journey of love. The things we learned about cat ownership openned our eyes to so many things that have been ignored by so many other cat owners. This prompted us to write this book, dedicated to all cats with our love. We do not pretend that this book is complete. However,we are always updating our information in it.

All information and suggestions found in this book are strictly the thoughts of the writer, and do not suggest to be the final authority on this subject. Informations are gathered through research and reading of other authors’ contributions, of which we give thanks to.

Human health does not need to be compromised because of a cat in the household. Allergies to cats can often be controlled. On the other hand, cat owners should be aware of the various zoonotic diseases that can be transmitted between cats and humans, particularly if the owner if immunocompromised..

What can we say….we are just so proud of them, we just cant help showing them off here.

Cats love to chase (and sometimes kill) mice and rats. That’s an accepted fact that most human accept. In many countries, people still use ‘barn cats’ to take care of rodents-which is a win-win situation for all parties (except the rodents). However, in the cities, almost all indoor-outdoor cats will occasionally bring home a small kill ,to show off their skill, and whether the owners welcome the kill or not depends on the owners themselves.