Friday, 30 January 2009

What You Lookin' At...

I can't say I've ever been a huge fan of the everyday household cat. For me, the fascination has always been with the larger, more exotic cats of the world, but when this little thing strayed into our back garden a few days ago I couldn't resist. Grabbing a few prawns, being a fish I thought it'd go nuts for it, but no... Bowl of milk and some homemade toys made of string and golden chocolate wrapper and he was ours for an hour and a half. So grabbing my camera I started snapping away...

The cat (Felis catus), also known as the domestic cat or house cat to distinguish it from other felines and felids, is a small predatory carnivorous species of crepuscular mammal that is valued by humans for its companionship and its ability to hunt vermin, snakes and scorpions. It has been associated with humans for at least 9,500 years.

A skilled predator, the cat is known to hunt over 1,000 species for food. It can be trained to obey simple commands. Individual cats have also been known to learn on their own to manipulate simple mechanisms, such as doorknobs. Cats use a variety of vocalizations and types of body language for communication, including meowing, purring, hissing, growling, squeaking, chirping, clicking, and grunting.[6] Cats may be the most popular pet in the world, with over 600 million in homes all over the world.[7] They are also bred and shown as registered pedigree pets. This hobby is known as the "cat fancy".

Until recently the cat was commonly believed to have been domesticated in ancient Egypt, where it was a cult animal. However a 2007 study found that the lines of descent of all house cats probably run through as few as five self-domesticating African Wildcats (Felis silvestris lybica) circa 8000 BC, in the Near East.

Cat senses are attuned for hunting. Cats have highly advanced hearing, eyesight, taste, and touch receptors, making the cat extremely sensitive among mammals.

Cats' night vision is superior to humans although their vision in daylight is inferior. Cat eyes have a tapetum lucidum and cat eyes that are blue typically lack melanin and hence can show the red-eye effect (see odd-eyed cat).

Humans and cats have a similar range of hearing on the low end of the scale, but cats can hear much higher-pitched sounds, up to 64 kHz, which is 1.6 octaves above the range of a human, and even one octave above the range of a dog.

A domestic cat's sense of smell is about fourteen times as strong as a human's.

Due to a mutation in an early cat ancestor, one of two genes necessary to taste sweetness may have been lost by the cat family.

To aid with navigation and sensation, cats have dozens of movable vibrissae (whiskers) over their body, especially their face.

When engaged in feline-to-feline combat for self-defense, territory, reproduction, or dominance, fighting cats make themselves appear more impressive and threatening by raising their fur and arching their backs, thus increasing their apparent size. Cats also behave this way while playing. Attacks usually comprise powerful slaps to the face and body with the forepaws as well as bites, but serious damage is rare; usually the loser runs away with little more than a few scratches to the face, and perhaps the ears. Cats will also throw themselves to the ground in a defensive posture to rake with their powerful hind legs. Normally, serious negative effects will be limited to possible infections of the scratches and bites; though these have been known to sometimes kill cats if untreated. In addition, such fighting is believed to be the primary route of transmission of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Sexually active males will usually be in many fights during their lives, and often have decidedly battered faces with obvious scars and cuts to the ears and nose. Not only males will fight; females will also fight over territory or to defend their kittens.

Photograph Details:Nikon D40. Focal length 55 mm, ISO-400, exp: 1/60 sec. F-stop f/5.6

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1 comment:

  1. I've never been a really big fan of cats either, I like them but the shedding is something I can't stand! If he comes over again you should try a lazer pointer if you have one. Some cats go gaga over it! It would make for one funny show


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