Cats are Possibly The Most Beautiful and graceful of all animals. They are sleek, w1th f1ne fur that is often strikingly marked with spots or stripes, and elegant heads w1th pointed ears and large eyes. Both the wildcat and the domestic cat belong to one family, the Felidae. Although they vary in size from the common house cat to the huge Siberian tiger, they look alike and behave in Similar ways; a tiger rolling in the grass looks a lot like a giant tabby. Cats have all the features typical of mammals: they walk upright and are warm-blooded, and they have a protective skeleton, a four-chambered heart, and mammary glands which secrete milk to feed the young. Cats are among the most successful of all carnivores, or meat eaters, and most of them live and hunt on their own. This solitary life is possible because cats prey upon animals that are smaller than themselves and are therefore not too difficult to kill. The exception is the lion, which hunts in a family group, or pride. The domestic cat is one of the most popular of all animal companions because it is affectionate, intelligent, and playful.
This Jaguar is well-hidden. The striped and spotted fur of the cat family provides very effective camouﬂage in the great variety of habitats in which cats live. Both stripes and spots blend 1n well in forests, jungles, grasslands, and plains.
ACCORDING TO THE GOSPEL
The beautiful Lindisfarne Gospels were written and decorated in Saxon N Northumbria in Britain, around AD. 700. The domestic cat was clearly a familiar sight around the countryside at this time.
- Whiskers are organs of touch and help all cats — big, small, wild, or domestic — to feel objects in the dark
- The narrow stripes and tabby markings of this domestic cat are inherited from its wild ancestor
ADAPT AND SURVIVE
Domestic cats are very adaptable. They can live in a room, a barn, or a palace, and they are found all over the world from tropical Africa to lands of snow and ice, such as Greenland. The cheetah can be successfully tamed, but the domestic cat is the only member of the cat family that lives and breeds happily within human society.
In certain religions, such as Islam and Buddhism, cats have had a far happier history than in Christianity. The Japanese have a definite sympathy with the mysterious cat and have often indicated its changeable nature by portraying one cat made up of many.
The lion is the only social cat. It lives in a shared territory with other members of its pride and hunts on a cooperative basis. This enables it to hunt-herd animals bigger than itself, like antelope and zebra. Like all cats, lions kill their prey by stalking and then leaping on it and biting into the neck.
THE CAT THAT WALKED BY HIMSELF
The British writer Rudyard Kipling explained the cat’s place in human affection and its need for solitude in a wonderful story called The Cat That Walked By Himself.
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