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Domestic Cats

by Reneí Magro

Introduction:

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As a pet I have a female cat called Beauty. It is a Persian cat and it is a popular breed of longhaired cat. It is known for its noble bearing, his snubbed nose and his small ears. Beauty has a doll-like face and a thick body. Her coat is shaded cameo. She has a long, fluffy tail and large, brown rounded eyes. She is the type of cat who loves the indoor places and she is so docile. Last year she had three delicate kittens. She likes to be cuddled by someone and she prefers to eat canned tuna and to sleep in her own basket. When I chose to have a pet I knew that it requires responsibilities to take care of it. Any kind of animal should be treated well with attention and care.

  • Body type: medium to large, short legs, deep chest.
  • Head, cheeks, and jaws: large rounded head, medium neck, full cheeks, rounded, short jaws, broad, and powerful.
  • Eyes, ears, and nose: large, wide-open, brilliant eyes, rounded ears at the tips, short nose, and broad, snubbed.
  • Tail: short, full, and straight.
  • Legs and paws: thick, strong and perfectly straight. The paws should be firm, large, and round, with the toes carried close.
  • Coat: long, flowing, and silky.

Domestic Cats

The domestic cat is one of the smallest. An adult domestic cat is about 20 to 25 centimeters high. The length from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail averages 46 to 51 centimeters, and the tail is about 25 to 38 centimeters long. Females usually weigh from 2.7 to 4.5 kilograms and males from 4.5 to 6.8 kilograms, depending on skeletal size.

The catís body

The head is large compared with the rest of the body. The nose and jaws are short, so the face seems flat. The ears are large and flaring at the base. A cat has keen hearing and can detect many sounds that humans cannot hear. A cat usually turns its head, not only its eyes, in the direction of a sound. A complicated mechanism for maintaining body balance helps to enable the animal to land on its feet when it falls.

The catís eyes

The size and position of the eyes permit 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 well in dim light. 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. A cat is very alert to any movement, but it canít distinguish color.

The tip of a cat's nose, the leather, may be black, reddish, or pink and is usually cool and moist. All cats have an acute sense of smell, scenting prey or their favorite delicacies at surprising distances.

A cat's whiskers, serve as delicate sense organs of touch. Four rows of stiff whiskers grow on the upper lip on each side of the nose. Small groups of whiskers also are situated on other parts of the body including above each eye, on both cheeks, and on the backs of the forepaws.

A cat's teeth serve for tearing food. The animal has 30 permanent teeth. The strongest and sharpest are the four large, curved, pointed fangs. They help him to tear and grasps food and enemy. The small front teeth function chiefly as grooming aids.

A cat's tongue is rough. All cats use their tongues as a major grooming tool to clean and comb the fur, but they also use them as efficient tools to strip flesh off the bones of prey.

Although a cat's jaws are short, they are extremely strong. They clamp down upon prey with enough power to crush the bones. The lower jaw is attached to the upper one by means of a simple hinge. This arrangement permits only up-and-down motion. A cat cannot move its lower jaw sideways, nor can it grind its teeth. When a cat clamps its jaws shut, the teeth mesh side by side, somewhat like the meshing of gears. So cats tear and crush their food, but they do not chew it. Much of the food is swallowed whole, and digestive juices break it down for use.

The legs are short but powerful. They can make sudden sprints, for climbing, and for jumping. The front legs are also powerful and extremely flexible. A cat can stretch its forelegs wide apart to hug the body of an enemy and hold it close. Most cats have five toes in the forepaws and four in the hind paws.

A cat's claws are formidable weapons for defense, hunting, climbing, and clinging to precarious perches. The claw grows from the last bone of the toe. A cat sharpens them by clawing rough surfaces or by chewing at the tips. All claws can be unsheathed in a split second.

Some points how to care about a catÖ

Adjusting to a New Home
Should be allowed time to adjust to its new surroundings and to humans and other pets with which the cat will be living. Old ones can be more frightened. So they seek out a hiding place and may well remain there for many hours.

Feeding Your Pet
Their diet combines in varying degrees commercial pet foods and table leavings. Ideally, the composition of their diet should correspond approximately to the composition of the cat's body; that is, about 60 percent water, 20-25 percent protein, 10-15 percent fat, a small amount of carbohydrates, and about 2 percent mineral. In dry food the proportions would be about 10 percent water, 25-50 percent protein, 15-50 percent fat, and 5 percent ash. It is important for cat owners to remember these figures when reading cat food labels. Commercial meat-and fish-based food generally provide well-balanced diets, especially if a cat has been brought up to accept a variety of the products and is not permitted to become accustomed to only one or two foods. The dry and semidry foods, although well balanced nutritionally, are low in moisture, and cats eating them will require additional fluid. Treats of meat, fish, or fowl should be cooked well. The great majority of cats, if properly fed, do not require vitamin or mineral supplements. These should be given only on a veterinarian's advice.

Milk: fresh, canned, or powdered is an excellent food; however, it disagrees with some cats. Although few cats consume much liquid when in good health, fresh water should be available at all times. Cats should get enough food daily to keep them in good flesh but not fat.

Grooming
They groom themselves and need regular brushing. This prevents the fur from matting and removes loose hair that might be licked and form "fur balls" in the animal's digestive tract.

Training
The litter should be changed daily, and the pan should be washed frequently with mild soap and rinsed well with boiling water to keep clean. They must be trained to make friends with other species of animals.

Diseases of Cats

It is important to choose a good veterinarian, call for advice; donít try to treat the cat yourself.
  • Panleucopenia Often called cat distemper, viral enteritis, or cat typhoid. Its onset is sudden and severe, with depression, fever, loss of appetite, and vomiting of yellow fluid. Every cat should be immunized to protect it. The first vaccination is usually given when the animal is about ten weeks old, and boosters should be given annually.
  • Upper respiratory infections are pneumonitis and rhinotracheitis. The cat's "colds," however, cannot be passed on to humans or dogs although they are highly infectious for other cats.
  • Rabies A fatal viral disease. Transmitted by the bite of a rabid animal. All cats in such areas should be given preventive vaccinations.
  • Swallowing large amounts of fur while grooming may develop fur balls or hairballs. Occasionally these may cause ulcers or completely obstruct the digestive tract. If it happens the animal may be given a teaspoonful of mineral oil in its food or a dab of petroleum jelly on its paws twice a week.
  • Bite wounds may become infected and cause serious problems. Cats that have tiny crystals in the urine may cause irritation or obstruction in the urinary passages.
  • Ear irritations caused by mites; tiny parasites. Dry brown dirt may result inside the ear. The cat shakes its head often and may scratch the outside of the ears and neck persistently. A few drops of any mild oil massaged into the ear canal suffocates the mites and loosens the dirt, which may then be removed with cotton-tipped sticks.
  • Fleas These small jumping insects live in the cat's fur and suck blood through the animal's skin. Products for treatment are readily available, but use only a preparation labeled safe for cats, and use it strictly as directed.

  • Worms are a common intestinal parasite of cats. An owner should never try to worm a cat without the advice of a veterinarian.
  • Ringworm A fungous skin disease, passed from cat to human easily. Simple sanitary measures such as keeping pets off the table and washing the hands after handling a cat eliminate most possible risks.
  • Poisoned By eating poisonous plants which include rhododendron, hyacinth, poinsettia, and ivy. Waxes, cleaning fluids, disinfectants, detergents, and mothballs may be toxic or irritating. Antifreeze, weed killers, insecticides, and rodent poisons are outdoor hazards. Cats react adversely to many chemicals and drugs, such as aspirin or iodine that are safe for humans or other animals. They should never be given medicines not labeled safe for cats or prescribed by a veterinarian.
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Donated by Reneí Magro



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