Have you ever wondered what your favorite feline was feeling, or what’s going on inside their curious mind? This month in ‘Pet Talk’ we delve into what makes these majestic and sometimes mysterious pets who they are!
Cats were believed to be domesticated over 12,000 years ago in the Middle East’s Fertile Crescent as pest control for mice when it became the practice to store grain. They were revered as sacred gods and worshipped in ancient Egyptian times; in fact, when a family feline passed away its family mourned by shaving their eyebrows and mummifying the cat, before it were placed in the family tomb with mummified mice! Cats were so revered in Egypt at this time that killing a cat or smuggling them away was grounds for the death of the offender. Ancient Romans also held similar beliefs about the symbolisms of cats during later times. During the Middle Ages, however, cats became demonized throughout Europe and many were killed in the belief that they were affiliated with witches and the devil, an attitude that some experts believe exacerbated the Black Plague, a disease that was carried by rats. It wasn’t until the 1600s and onward that the public image of cats began to become more favorable.
Not only has the reputation of cats grown, but their popularity has as well. Cats are currently the most popular pet in North America, with 73 million household cats as compared to 63 million pet dogs. The most common type of housecat in the United States is currently the domestic shorthair and the most popular breed is the Exotic, a cross between the American Shorthair and Persian breeds.
Any cat owner will tell you that their furry friend is a complex being, but anatomy proves it. Cats not only have about 244 bones depending on the size of their tail, 38 more bones than the human body, but they also lack a collarbone – which allows them to fit through small openings. Cats also hear high-frequency noises two octaves higher than a human, and can make about 100 different sounds (compared to a dog’s 10), most of which are not audible to humans. In fact, some experts believe that cats developed their signature meows in order to specifically communicate with humans. Cats also have brains that are biologically comparable to humans, which allow them to process emotions similarly. Another amazing fact about cats is their ability to self-heal through purring. The complexities of cats go on and on!
With the record holder for highest surviving fall being a cat named Andy who survived a fall of 16 stories (200 ft.), cats are definitely some tough creatures. They can also tolerate temperatures up to 133 degrees Fahrenheit with ample water, and their kidneys filter out salt – making it possible for them to drink seawater. These furry mammals are also incredibly fast, with the fastest domestic cat timing in at 30mph, 3 miles faster than world-record holding runner Usain Bolt.
There’s no doubt that cats are some of the most incredible pets out there; just ask your cat-loving friend! If you are thinking of bringing a feline furball into your family, contact us with all of your questions and kitty healthcare needs at 701.757.3500.