The cat café boom has been ignited, and cats are becoming more and more popular as pets these days! Cats are famous for their fickle and self-paced nature. I know it’s popular, but I’m sure there are many things you don’t know much about the original ecology of cats.
Why don’t you join us in exploring the secrets of cats filled with wonders?
～ Basic information. ～
It is said that the stray cats and domesticated cats that we often see were first domesticated from a breed that lived in the desert called the “african wildcat,” and are generally called “domestic cat.
There is no specific habitat for domestic cats, and they live in cities, towns, islands, and forests.
It is characterized by its supple body, many beards around its face, and a rough tongue when touched. The nails can be taken in and out as needed, but in the case of kittens, the muscles to take them in and out are still developing, so they don’t get it right and leave it out.
Cats are also animals that can survive without drinking much water.This is probably because there are still remnants of when they lived in the desert.
There is very little water in the desert, so you need to make good use of the limited water. In order to adapt to this, the cat’s body has become more able to concentrate pee with its kidneys so that it can use less water more efficiently.
However, in exchange, it put a lot of strain on my body. It is said that older cats in particular often suffer from chronic kidney disease.
In the case of cats in captivity, it can be affected by the food they feed, so in some cases it may be better to switch to a food that contains a lot of water.
Basically, cats do not form flocks, but build territories and live alone. The role of the territory is mainly used as a hunting ground for prey to be caught as bait.
The existence of territory is also essential during the breeding season. Males in particular are said to have a wider territory than females because they have many offspring.
The breeding season for cats is spring or fall, and after a two-month pregnancy, they give birth to about four to eight children.
The lifespan of cats in captivity is about 12-16 years, but most stray cats can only live for a couple of years. The reason why there is such a difference has to do with the living environment of stray cats.
Living outside is prone to injury and illness, and there is a possibility of being attacked by crows and other enemies. Also, since you can’t eat a certain amount of food every day, you may become malnourished.Stray cats often lose their lives because of these factors, which shortens their lifespan.
Incidentally, there was a case where a cat kept as a pet lived a very long time, 38 years.
Animals that are also popular as pets.
Cats are carnivores by nature, so even cats that are kept as pets still have the instinct to hunt.
Especially if you keep your dog completely indoors, there is no environment for hunting, so if you don’t move at all, you may not get enough exercise. To solve this problem, it is a good idea to play with toys such as catnip or place a cat tower.
And as I mentioned earlier, cats have a habit of territoriality, so if they are kept completely indoors, they often use the house as their territory. Therefore, if a cat you don’t know suddenly enters your house, it will intimidate and anger you.
Also, cats have a personality that likes to be clean, so if the toilet is still dirty, they may resist poop and pee and not excrete.
If left untreated, it can cause illness, so if you notice that your cat has finished excreting, remove the cat litter from the dirty areas.
What should I feed them if I want to keep them at home?
A cat’s body needs animal protein. Commercial cat foods contain animal protein, so it is a good idea to give them those.
There are four main types of cat food. These are “comprehensive nutritional food,” “general food,” “snack,” and “therapeutic food”.
Basically, it is best to use a comprehensive nutritional diet as a base and combine it with general foods, snacks, etc. The therapeutic food requires a medical examination at a hospital.
The amount of water you drink is also very important for your cat’s health.
If the drinking water container is dirty, wash it and replace it with new water, or prepare drinking water that matches the water temperature of your cat’s preference. Some children like the water flowing from the tap or circulatory system, so let your cat rehydrate in a way that suits his or her preference.
There are two patterns completely indoor and free-range, but both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Completely indoor feeding can prevent diseases and parasitic infections, and free-ranging feeding can prevent lack of exercise.
Basically, there are many advantages to keeping a pet completely indoors, so veterinary hospitals seem to be recommending keeping a pet completely indoors these days.
Whether or not to install a cage depends on the condition of the cat you are welcoming. However, it is recommended to have a safe place to relax, as it can help relieve stress.
Cats like to climb high, so when they find it, they climb various places. Also, cords and human medicines can be very dangerous if ingested, so make sure to keep these out of reach of cats.
Also, avoid placing lilies and other houseplants. This is because if you accidentally eat it, in the worst case scenario, your cat may die.
And since cats are animals that sometimes claw, the pillars and furniture of the house may be torn apart by scratches.
To some extent, you can prevent this by cutting their nails or putting a nail board on them, but they are animals that cannot be perfectly trained. Even if the house gets a little rough! Please understand and love them.
What is the origin of the cat’s name?
Since there are many origins of cat names, here are a few of the most popular theories.
It is called “cat” in English and “neko” in Japanese, but this page will introduce the origin of the name “neko” in Japanese.
The most major theory is that “the animal child who always sleeps” is now called “neko”. It is believed that cats sleep an average of 14 hours a day.
There is also a theory that cats are called “neuko” because they sound “neu-neu” and became cats.
Another theory is that he became a “neko” because he likes rats, and when he first came to Japan from China, his name was “nekoma,” but before he knew it, the word “ma” disappeared and he became a cat.
What kind of food do cats like?
Cats like to catch and eat small animals such as rats and rabbits. However, not all cats eat rabbits because of habitat differences.
Other than that, they also catch and eat small birds such as sparrows, and insects such as grasshoppers and cicadas. This is true not only for stray cats, but also for cats kept as pets.
Also, stray cats living in cities and towns may eat garbage produced by humans.
Why do cats live there?
As I mentioned in the basic information, there is no fixed habitat for cats. They live in various places such as islands and forests full of nature, or in towns inhabited by humans.
Why do they live there? The specific reason for this is actually not well understood.
For example, in a town, they are treated as shelter cats and someone may feed them. If there is a lot of nature, it is easy to hunt because there are many prey such as small birds and insects living in the area.
Probably, because of this reason, cats may be living “there”.
How many cat whiskers do they have?
The cats have a lot of beards on their faces, but each place has its own name.
The most visible hair is the beard that grows around the mouth, which is called the upper lip hair. By the way, the mouth area where the upper lip hair grows is also called a whisker pad.
There are also five other types of upper eyebrow hair, cheekbone hair, lower lip hair, and mouth corner hair.
A cat’s beard plays an important sensor role, so you should never pull it out or cut it.
By the way, cats have short tentacles not only on their faces but also around their wrists.
Why is a cat’s tongue “rough”?
Have you ever been tickled by a cat licking your hand?
In fact, the surface of a cat’s tongue has many protrusions called “filiform papillae”.
These filiform papillae have several roles.
The first is that cats are animals that are groomed frequently. Even a tongue with a smooth surface can be groomed, but the protrusions act like a brush, so the rougher the surface, the more effective the grooming will be.
And grooming not only keeps the body clean, but also removes body odor.
The reason why it is necessary to get rid of body odor is that cats are naturally hunting animals, so if the odor is strong, they may find you and run away from you. For this reason, deodorization by grooming is very important.
In addition, when catching and eating prey, cats have a weak jaw and are not good at chewing through the meat on their bones. In such a case, the protrusion becomes like a fork and scrapes off the meat. This makes it easier to eat meat.
Incidentally, not only cats but also tigers and lions have this protrusion on their tongues. It’s an interesting characteristic of feline animals that are hunters.
Why are there cats with long tails and cats with short tails?
A cat’s tail is made up of about 18 to 20 bones called tail vertebrae, and if these bones are attached to each other or if there are not enough bones themselves, the tail tends to be short.
And if either the father cat or the mother cat has a short tail, it is likely to be inherited by the child, and this short tail is sometimes called a “key tail” in Japan.
Other than that, isn’t there a gene called “HES7” involved as a characteristic of becoming a key tail? It is thought to be. However, I will not go into the details of genes on this page because it will be complicated.
This time, I will mainly introduce the Japanese case. The ancestors of the cats that live in Japan today are said to have started when cats from Southeast Asia and China repeatedly bred in Japan and began to live there in the distant past.
And among them, there were many cats with key tails. Although the cause of the problem was not known at the time, recent research has shown that cats with a key tail have a common gene, which is HES7.
It is not possible to confirm whether cats of long ago also had the HES7 gene, but it is highly likely that they did.
Why are there so many color variations of cat eyes?
Have you ever looked at a cat’s eyes closely?
It’s strange that all the pupils are black, but the rest are different colors depending on the cat, such as blue, green, and copper, isn’t it?
In fact, this color is determined by the amount of “melanin pigment” in the body.
It is said that if there is little melanin pigment, the color will be blue or green, and if there is much melanin pigment, the color will be yellow or copper, and blue eyes are more common in Western cats and yellow eyes in Japanese cats.
If you ever get a chance to see a cat, pay attention to the color of its eyes. It’s fun to observe them while comparing them.
Why do pupil sizes change between day and night?
The reason why cats’ eyes look different during the day and at night is because the size of their pupils changes. Pupils become smaller during the day and larger at night.
The reason why the pupil changes is because it is related to “light”.
The cat’s eyes have a part called a “tapetum” which is responsible for making everything easier to see with a small amount of light.
Daylight can be too bright for cats. Therefore, the pupils are made smaller to reduce the amount of light entering the eyes. On the other hand, it is dark at night, so you need to let in a lot of light. This causes the pupil to become larger.
Other than the effects of light, my pupils seem to get smaller when I’m relaxed, and bigger when I’m nervous and scared.
Why do cats want to making biscuits or rub their bodies on them?
The strange behavior of a cat that seems to be kneading dough by alternately moving its paws on the blanket or cushion. It’s so cute!
This is called a “making biscuits” or “kneading” but it’s actually a remnant from my kitten days.
Kittens try to drink while pushing their tits with their paws so that they can get plenty of milk.
Because it remains in my memory even after I grow up, when I find something soft and warm, I often start doing “making biscuits” instead of drinking boobs.
The fact that they rub against your body is also a remnant of when you were a kitten and you were spoiled by your mother.
When a cat rubs against you, it’s also meant to be a marking. For example, he claims that rubbing his body on his owner is “this person is mine”.
Do cats really like silvervine?
Many people think of silvervine when they think of what cats like. In the first place, why did cats come to be called silvervine lovers?
Silvervine is one of the plants that contains ingredients such as actinidin and matatabilactone.
This ingredient probably stimulates the central nervous system in the brain, which causes the cat to become mildly agitated, which in turn makes the cat feel better and becomes obsessed with silvervine.
Then, in 2021, new research results were released on the relationship between this silvervine and cats.
Silvervine contains an ingredient called “Nepetalactol,” which may be useful in repelling mosquitoes in cats.
Whether cats know about this effect or not, they rub their bodies against silvervine, and it is hoped that nepetaractol, an ingredient, may be used to protect us humans from mosquitoes.
By the way, lions and tigers can also become melodious with silvervine. Why silvervine works only on feline animals is still a mystery.
Silvervine is famous as a favorite food of cats, some cats don’t like silvervine very much.
Some cats can go beyond excited and become aggressive. A small amount of silvervine is a great stress reliever, but too much can cause illness, so be careful when handling silvervine.
Why are there so many variations of cat patterns?
Cats are animals with many colors and patterns, including black and white monochromatic, trichromatic, and striped patterns. Why is there such a wide variety?
In conclusion, it is said that this is due to the change in the pattern of the african wildcat, the ancestor of the domestic cat.
Originally, the african wildcat had only a striped pattern, but it began to live with humans as a domestic cat, and at some point during the breeding process, a genetic mutation occurred.
As a result, it is thought that cats with various patterns began to be born, not just stripes.
In addition, the pattern of a kitten is determined by the genes of the parent cat.
There are many combinations of genetics in a word, and it can be a bit difficult to talk about, so I will not go into detail about genetics here.
For example, even if the mother is a white cat and the father is a black cat, sometimes a brown kitten is born.
This is due to a mutation, so the detailed reason is still unknown. It seems that there are still many mysteries left to be solved by cats.
When do cats “cat loaf”?
Many of you may have seen once the unique behavior of a cat sitting with its front and back legs folded neatly.
This strange way of sitting.In English, it is called a “cat loaf” or “meatloaf”, but in Japan, it is called an “incense box sit” because it is similar to an “incense box” that stores fragrant wood.
Cats often do catloaf when they are relaxed. They also choose to sit in a warm, sunny place or in a room where they feel comfortable.
If you are playing catloaf near your owner, it is a sign that you are very relaxed.
And in addition to cats, there are other animals that do catloaf, which are rabbits and dogs. Lions and tigers, which are also members of the felidae, have also been confirmed to play catloaf.
Type of cat.
・Norwegian Forest Cat
・Bahraini Dilmun Cat
世界中で愛される美しすぎる猫図鑑 監修 今泉忠明
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