My pet: Nuxa my Cat
by Roderick Azzopardi
My catís name is Nuxa. Its colour is black, white and brown. It likes to play with a ball of string and it likes to eat tinned cat food and fish.
Young cats are called kittens. They spend hours chasing their tails, springing on each other, and having mock fights. Their play has a serious purpose. It helps them develop hunting skills, quick reactions, and strength and suppleness for those times when they have to fend for themselves.
The average cat sleeps is 16 hours each day; usually in short intervals called catnaps. A catís body is designed for quick bursts of action, with much rest between.
Cats are famous for their cleanliness. Every day they spend at least an hour washing their fur with saliva and licking it with their rough surfaced tongue. This makes the fur smooth and glossy. It also helps keep body heat in, removes pests and stimulates the skinís blood flow.
Domestic cats resemble their wild ancestors in several ways. Although most domestic cats do not have to catch their own food, they show many signs of hunting behaviour such as being particularly active at down and dusk, and stalking and pouncing on pretend prey. Much of this behaviour is instinctive, or inborn, and does not have to be learned. A cat that is brought up away from all other cats still behaves in this way.
A catís sensitive nose easily picks up the scent of a mouse. As the cat nears its victim, its eyes and ears also come into use. After stalking up slowly, the cat leaps forward with bared claws and grabs the prey, biting it on the back of the head.
Female cats are pregnant for about nine weeks. They give birth to between 1 and 10 kittens, but 2 to 5 kittens are called a litter. Newborn kittens are helpless. Their eyes are closed for the first week or more, and they do not begin to crawl for about two weeks. They feed on their motherís milk at first. After about eight weeks they gradually stop taking milk and begin to eat solid foods. This process is called weaning. About four weeks later, the mother cat is ready to mate again.
In dim conditions, a catís pupil is open wide to let the maximum amount of light into the eye. The tapetum, a mirror like layer inside the eye reflects the light at the back of the eye. This is why a catís eyes shine in the dark.
Donated by Roderick Azzopardi