Cats

A:

A cat's whiskers contain sensitive nerves that allow the animal to judge distance and space effectively and to sense objects in the dark to avoid danger. By gently brushing the whiskers against an object, a cat gains an extra sense of what's nearby as a means of protection.

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  • Where do cats come from?

    Q: Where do cats come from?

    A: The first domesticated cats appeared in human civilization thousands of years ago with the ancient Egyptians, who, according to reliable evidence, were the first people to keep cats around as a way of controlling rodents and other vermin that encroach on human food supplies. There may be some evidence that humans and cats have coexisted for some time before Ancient Egypt, particularly among early human societies in the Middle Eastern region known as the fertile crescent. It could be that cats invited themselves to be human pets, in a manner of speaking, having been attracted to the large quantities of prey that started gathering around the first human stores of grain.
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  • What do you call a group of cats?

    Q: What do you call a group of cats?

    A: According to the Oxford English Dictionaries, the standard collective noun used to refer to a group of domestic cats is a 'clowder,' as in 'a clowder of house cats.' Other sources indicate that there may be other collective nouns that can be applied to cats, though these may be more colloquial in nature. Alternate collective nouns for a group of domestic cats include clutter, pounce, glare, nuisance, cluster and glaring.
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  • How many sounds can a cat make?

    Q: How many sounds can a cat make?

    A: Cats are capable of a much wider range of vocalizations than other human pets, especially dogs; cats can make more than 100 sounds, while dogs tend to have only about 10 sounds in their vocabularies, meaning that cats are 10 times more loquacious than their other four-legged counterparts. However, this does not mean that cats are superior communicators in general; it just means that they 'talk' more and have larger sound vocabularies than dogs do. Dogs use other methods of communication, and are particularly adept at using physical communication to let people and other animals know what they need rather than simply relying on making sounds.
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  • Can cats smile?

    Q: Can cats smile?

    A: Cats cannot smile. They do experience emotions, including happiness. Cats have several physical ways of expressing pleasure, such as high-pitched meowing, a vertically position to the tail, narrowed pupils and a low, trilling purr.
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  • Why do cats meow?

    Q: Why do cats meow?

    A: As a kitten, a cat may meow because it needs to let its mother or owner know that it is hungry, and kittens also meow because they are cold or scared. For older cats, meowing is a form of communication.
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  • How closely related is a domestic cat to a lion?

    Q: How closely related is a domestic cat to a lion?

    A: Though they are different in many ways, including levels of hostility to humans and overall body size, domestic cats and wild cats such as tigers actually share about 95 percent of the same DNA, meaning the two types of animals are very closely related on a basic genetic level. According to a study published in the journal 'Nature Communications' in 2013, researchers sequenced the genomes of three big cats, tigers, lions and snow leopards, and found that, from a genetic point of view, these wild creatures actually have a lot in common with house cats. Specifically, it was the tiger that was found to be a close relative of the furry human pet, but the research published in 'Nature Communications' did provide new insight into the genetic makeup of critically endangered animals.
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  • Why do cats hiss at people?

    Q: Why do cats hiss at people?

    A: Cats hiss at people and other animals, including cats, as a show of aggression. This generally occurs because a cat feels like it is cornered and has no means of escaping or the cat is provoked. Aggression can also be invoked by pain, punishment or fear.
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  • Are Siamese mix cats good pets?

    Q: Are Siamese mix cats good pets?

    A: Siamese cats are affectionate, good-natured, vocal, communicative and playful. The dominant Siamese cat traits that prevail in the Siamese mixed breeds alike, are the enormous attention they require and their high intelligence. They are suitable for those looking for a pet that they can interact with regularly.
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  • Why are people suspicious of black cats?

    Q: Why are people suspicious of black cats?

    A: The superstition that black cats are somehow harbingers of bad luck or evil is related to European folklore that dates back to the Middle Ages, when genuine belief in witches and evil magic caused people to adopt some specific fears. Black cats were singled out due to their dark color and the idea that witches, human beings with magic powers, would often be accompanied by a black cat with supernatural abilities known as a familiar, or that witches were capable of changing physical forms to appear as animals such as black cats. Other folk legends that tied black cats to the occult and even to demons appeared in different parts of the world, including in the American South.
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  • What percentage of their day do cats spend sleeping?

    Q: What percentage of their day do cats spend sleeping?

    A: The average cat spends the majority of its day sleeping, usually an average of 15 hours a day, which is 62.5 percent of the day. However, this is not simply a product of laziness, and there is practical reason for this high percentage; cats have evolved as predators, and the need to conserve energy to allow for plenty of energy for hunting is part of that evolutionary process. Additionally, though cats may spend a lot of time laying still with their eyes closed, they are usually not in a state of deep sleep, which cats tend to experience in 5-minute bursts.
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  • Why do cats have whiskers?

    Q: Why do cats have whiskers?

    A: A cat's whiskers contain sensitive nerves that allow the animal to judge distance and space effectively and to sense objects in the dark to avoid danger. By gently brushing the whiskers against an object, a cat gains an extra sense of what's nearby as a means of protection.
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  • How old do kittens have to be before they can have hard food?

    Q: How old do kittens have to be before they can have hard food?

    A: According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, kittens should start nibbling on dry food at about five to six weeks of age. They should begin dry food even if they are still nursing.
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  • How long have cats been domesticated?

    Q: How long have cats been domesticated?

    A: Cats have been a domesticated human companion since the reign of the Ancient Egyptians more than 4,000 years ago, according to National Geographic. While these ancient people may or may not have been the first to domesticate the cat, they were the first to show widespread evidence of human interactions with cats thanks to the wide variety of art and artifacts indicating this culture's reverence for the cat, including mummified cats that were prepared for the afterlife in much the same way as humans, as well as the presence of snacks in the form of mummified mice. However, because the archeological record is not necessarily reliable due to the physical similarity of domestic and wild cat skeletons, it is difficult to know exactly when cats were domesticated, with some estimates ranging as far back as 12,000 years ago.
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  • What breed of cat is Grumpy Cat?

    Q: What breed of cat is Grumpy Cat?

    A: Grumpy Cat's breed is unknown. Her mother is a short-haired domestic calico. A male cat in Grumpy's house has gray and white stripes, but Grumpy's owners are unsure if that cat is Grumpy's father.
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  • How big was the world's largest house cat?

    Q: How big was the world's largest house cat?

    A: The Guinness World Records association recognizes the largest cat alive based on the separate categories of length and height, meaning there can technically be two cats that qualify as the world's largest house cat, though both titles have at various times been held by a single cat. According to the Guinness World Records, as of 2013, the longest cat in the world was a Maine coon named Stewie, who clocked in at 48.5 inches long. As of 2011, the Guinness World Records holder of the world's tallest cat title is a Savannah cat named Trouble, who stands at 19 inches tall when measured from shoulder to toe.
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  • How can owning a cat improve a person's health?

    Q: How can owning a cat improve a person's health?

    A: Pet ownership, and cat ownership specifically, has been proven to be beneficial to human health in a variety of ways, including general stress reduction and positive mood alteration in addition to more specific markers of improved health such as lower heart rate and blood pressure. Studies that have covered this topic note that the presence of a companion animal such as a cat has a marked positive impact on human mood. However, getting to the exact root of some of these supposed health benefits isn't easy; it is difficult to determine cause and effect in these situations.
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  • Why do cats wag their tails?

    Q: Why do cats wag their tails?

    A: Cats wag their tails to send messages to both humans and other animals. The positioning of the tail as well as the position of the ears and the cat's facial expression are all clues as to what the cat's tail wag or wave means.
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  • Why do we say a cat has nine lives?

    Q: Why do we say a cat has nine lives?

    A: The idiomatic expression that cats have nine lives comes not from a literal reality in which cats have an arbitrarily limited immunity but rather from a myth that is likely related to the domestic cat's impressive agility. However, as a figurative way of describing feline dexterity, the nine lives myth conjures up vivid imagery, which may be why William Shakespeare referenced it in his famous tale of star-crossed lovers, "Romeo and Juliet." Overall, it is difficult to pin down an exact origin for this myth, including an explanation for the specific number nine, though it may have origins in Egyptian or Chinese belief systems that ascribe special significance to the number nine.
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  • How common are polydactyl cats?

    Q: How common are polydactyl cats?

    A: The exact frequency of polydactylism in cats may depend on the breed, with some domestic cat breeds, such as the Maine coon, boasting a greater occurrence of extra-toed cats than other breeds; overall, however, this is a relatively common condition, and it is totally harmless for the cat who is born with extra toes. The word 'polydactyl' means 'many toes,' and the term refers to the fact that polydactyl cats are born with more than the standard 18 toes. This is technically a genetic mutation, but it is not an issue or a burden in and of itself.
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  • What is the only taste cats can't experience?

    Q: What is the only taste cats can't experience?

    A: Cats lack the proper genetic coding that allows other mammals, including humans and other animals such as hyenas, to experience sweet tastes, a trait that may be unique among mammals. In addition to lacking the ability to taste sweets, cats have only 470 taste buds, whereas humans have upwards of 9,000. However, this doesn't mean that cats don't experience flavor; on the contrary, taste buds are a small part in the complex anatomical system, which includes their acute sense of smell, that allows cats to experience vivid taste.
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  • Do cats prefer women?

    Q: Do cats prefer women?

    A: A study published in the scientific journal 'Behavioural Processes' in 2011 indicates that cats do indeed tend to have a preference for women. This favoritism may be because women tend to show more affection to cats, which influences the bond cats have with their human caretakers.
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