Loving Family Pets      Cat Facts
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Answers to some common questions about cats.

How old can a cat live to be?
The majority of cats live to be from 9-15 years old, but a few cats have been documented to live into their 30's An American tabby cat named Puss, who lived form 1903 to 1939, died at the ripe old age of 36 and holds the record. I had a cat that lived to be 20 years old. Cat's that get regular vet visits, are spayed or neutered, and that are kept indoors will tend to be have a longer lifespan.
 
What is a feral cat?
Feral cats are cats that are born and live without having consistent human contact or have been lost or strayed. Because of this the cat will be "wild" and afraid of people. Unfortunately, not enough people spay or neuter their cats and because cats can have 2-3 litters of kitten a year the cat population can grow quite quickly. As a result, too many kittens are born outside in remote locations and don't get human contact resulting in their becoming feral. Feral cats can sometimes be tamed but it takes time and patience.
 
Can you teach cats tricks?
There are many things that cats learn to do with very little training. They use a litter pan, meow to be let out, and frequently learn to open doors.  They also seek out high vantage points, sometimes balancing on impossible small objects just to get to where they want. So, can they be trained? Well, it's possible to train a cat but because cats are not pack animals they really have no innate desire to please. The best way to train a cat is to observe behaviors the cat already does and reward those behaviors. Cat's will learn to repeat the behavior if there is something in it for them.
 
How much does a cat sleep?
It seems like cats are always sleeping. And it's true that left on their own cats sleep away as much as 75 percent of the day. That's 18 hours a day. Cats are nocturnal animals which means that they tend to be most active during the night. So, to those of us who are awake during the day, it seems like the cat is doing nothing but napping most of the time.  Cats with active companions tend to stay awake more, enjoying the interaction. But remember, cats are predators in the wild, always on the look out for their next meal. Much of the time cats sleep lightly, waking as often as every several minutes. Even in sleep, they are alert to what's around them. This is where the term catnap comes from. 
 
Why do cats purr?
Purring can definitely signal contentment but that's not the only reason cats purr. They may purr to invite play, to soothe a threatening enemy, or to reassure other cats that they mean no harm. Purring is the result of a membrane in the throat of the cat that vibrates as air passes through the membrane. This is sometimes called a false vocal cord close to their actual vocal cords. That's why a cat can purr and meow at the same time.
 
Why do cats claw on the furniture?
When your cat is clawing at the furniture it is because they are marking their territory.  Cats have scent glands near their paws and by scratching at things they are leaving their scent to communicate to other animals that this is their territory. This is a natural behavior for cats. Your cat needs to have something in its territory that it is allowed to mark so many cat owners will buy a scratching post or pad for their cat. Placing this near the furniture will save your sofa and still satisfy your kitty's neat to claim her territory.
 
Why does my cat rub on me?
Besides having glands in their feet, cats also have scent glands in their forehead, lips, and at the base of their tail. While it may seem that your cat is showing you how much it likes you, more likely your cat is marking you to claim you as a part of its territory. By rubbing these scent glands on objects your cat is leaving behind chemicals called pheromones.  Pheromones are chemicals that communicate to other cats, telling them about who is in the territory and how things are going. Humans cannot smell these pheromones. Now, this is not to say that your cat only sees you as the equivalent of a tree or post. They still form connections with you and would not rub on you unless they felt comfortable with your presence. 
 
How do cats communicate?
Cats communicate in a variety of ways. Unlike humans, can't do not have a lot of facial muscles so cannot show expression with their face Instead cats will communicate with their voice and body language. The position of their tail, ears, and whiskers all communicate whether they are feeling safe or defensive. Cats will arch their backs and raise their fur as a threat or warning and an effort to look larger. They also crouch in readiness for whatever is coming. They move their ears: forward (friendly interest), slightly back (defensiveness), and flattened (fear). Their tails are telling too: rapid side to side tail movements (excitement; tail up, held still (friendly greeting); and tail up, slightly twitching (alertness, possibly readying for an attack). Cats may seem silent and mysterious, but they have a lot to say to people who know how to look and listen.
 
Why do cats' eyes glow in the dark?
Cats' eyes are specially adapted, or made, for seeing at night, the time when most wild cats hunt. Every cat's eye contains a tapetum lucidum, a special membrane that reflects light not absorbed by the retina. The retina is the innermost layer of the eye and is connected to the brain. This reflecting quality gives the cat's retina a second chance to receive light, improving night vision greatly. So, the cat's eyes are really glowing, they are just reflecting any light that enters the eye.
 
If I have more than one cat will they get along?
Cats aren't pack animals like dogs. They are solitary hunters, and they are territorial. But they are also sociable. More than one cat can share the same territory. Cats that live in groups organize themselves into a social group with a top cat and the next-to-the-top cat and so on. If you have more than one cat that thinks they are top cat there can be problems so care needs to be taken to introduce new cats into a home. 
 
Why does my cat lick itself so much?
Cats spend a third of their waking hours using their tongues to groom themselves A cat has a barbed tongue that acts like a pick or comb to get the knots out of fur. But grooming isn't just about looking good. It also removes dead hair and skin as well as leaves, mud, and parasites such as fleas and ticks. It tones muscles, stimulates blood circulation, and provides vitamin D (which is produced on the skin by exposure to sunlight). It helps control body temperature and relieves tension. 
 
Why do cats eat grass?
Because cats do a lot of grooming, they end up swallowing a lot of fur. Natural mucus in a cat's body can cause this fur to clump together into a dark mass commonly called a hair ball. Eating grass helps a cat regurgitate, or vomit up, these hair balls before they can block the cats' digestive tract.  The most important reason cats eat grass is for the folic acid in grass. In the wild, cats get this vitamin from the vegetable matter in the stomach contents of the mice and moles they catch and eat. Domestic cats, however, are fed canned meat or dry cat food which often is low in folic acid. Folic acid helps build healthy blood and gives a cat speed and stamina.
 
Do cats always land on their feet?
Most cats naturally like climbing to the highest point in their territory. This gives them a better view of the territory and helps them spot prey. Because of this cats have the remarkable ability to use their tails as a counterbalance when walking along narrow objects or when jumping down from a high location. As a cat fall, it swivels in midair so their paws are pointing toward the ground. The cat then stretches out all four paws and arches her back to absorb the force of the impact. Even though a cat can right herself in the blink of an eye, a fall from a height that isn't too high  sometimes doesn't allow the time needed for the cat to make the necessary in-air adjustments needed for a safe landing. I had a cat once that sprained his leg after jumping down from a window sill that was only 3-4 feet from the floor. You also need to consider the size, weight, and age of the cat. Naturally an older cat with a few extra pounds may not be as agile as a younger, lighter cat. 
 
Why are so many people allergic to cats?
Cats, like many other animals have dander. In fact, nearly all furry animals have dander. Cat dander is a mixture of shed hair, cat saliva, and tiny particles of shed skin. When dander floats in the air, it triggers an allergic response in some people. It may make some people sneeze and cough, and some even feel itchy. It can become hard to breathe if your body's immune system over reacts to dander. Cat dander is more potent than most other animal dander. Cats lick their fur, adding a protein from their saliva to the dander. Licking also helps release the dander into the air and cats spend a lot of time grooming. This makes allergy prone people more likely to react to cat dander than to the dander of other animals. Cat dander also has remarkable staying power. It's been found in houses 10 years after a cat has moved out. Statistics show that one-third of cat owners are actually allergic to their cats. Many people, for the love of their cat, will take regular allergy shots. 

 

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