Readers will learn all kinds of interesting trivia about their four-footed, furry best friends in this delightfully illustrated gift book that is replete with quotes, stories and snipets of useful information.
Cats are purr-fect companions. Did you know that: Calico cats are always female? Cats spend 30 percent of their waking hours grooming themselves? Just as people are right- and left-handed, cats are right- and left-pawed?
Cat Naps Cats are nocturnal creatures, so they sleep about sixteen hours each day. Therefore, a seven-year-old cat has only been awake for about two years of its life.
The Pick of the Litter When choosing a kitten look for the one that plays in the center of the litter. Research shows that this indicates good health and an amiable disposition.
Purr-fect Companions Cats make such good house pets because they are willing to share affection when we are around and able to be self-sufficient when we're not. They're also superb listeners. One survey found that only 5 percent of all cat owners do not talk to their cats.
Cats and People A study conducted by Temple University in the early 1980s found that when cats receive just a five-minute dose of attention of each day during early domestic life, they will become more attached to people.
Cats with Heart A cat's heart beats twice as fast as a human heart—110 to 140 beats per minute. The reason is, the smaller the animal, the higher the heart rate. Small animals also generally have a higher metabolic rate.
A Cat Tale According to Russian folk wisdom, a person who brings home a cat should throw it immediately onto the bed. If the cat settles down promptly, it means the cat will stay with its new owner.
Black Cats In the Middle Ages, cats were hunted and cursed as the devil incarnate.
Chow Time According to experts, cats prefer the same food at the same time of day. The American Humane Society discourages feeding table scraps to pets, especially fatty and spicy foods. Some foods can even be deadly. Chocolate, for instance, contains the alkaloid theobromine, which is toxic to cats.
See What I Mean? Most cats can see six times better than people can in the dark.
Kitties and Mom In the first two weeks of a kitten's life, its eyes are closed; the newborn finds its mother's milk through smell and touch.
Cool Cat One reason why cats are so laid back and independent is that they are considered predators, not prey, in the animal world. Dogs are predators, too, but they prefer company—human or canine—if given the choice.According to an article by Wendy Christensen in Cat Fancy magazine, 'cats have independent spirits. . . .' So the 'cool cat' syndrome probably results more from temperament than any environmental factor.
Cats and Snacks Experts recommend that cat treats should comprise no more than 5 percent of a cat's daily food intake.
Big Cat, Little Cat The largest breed of cat is the Ragdoll. Males weigh between twelve and twenty pounds; females ten and fifteen pounds. The smallest breed is the Singapura. Adult females weigh about four pounds and males about six pounds.Persians are also small cats, usually weighing about six pounds, but they have so much hair they appear as if they weigh twice that amount.
If Your Cat Doesn't Come When You Call . . . . . . it may not be ignoring you: Many white cats with blue eyes are deaf. According to the Cat Fancier's Association, a white cat with two blue eyes has the highest chance of being deaf. If it has green or gold eyes, it has the lowest chance of being deaf. And if a cat has one blue eye and one green eye, its chances of being deaf fall somewhere in the middle.Purebred white cats, however, are said to have a lower prevalence of deafness than mixed-breed white cats.
For Women Only Wondering why even catnip and candlelight dinners can't get your calico cat in the mood for romance with Chlöe, the other calico on the block? Calico cats are always female, so you might try fixing her up with Rocky instead.
How Much Does That Kitty Really Cost? According to 1997 figures from the American Veterinary Medical Association, vet bills for cat owners average about eighty dollars per year for the life of their kitty.
Gesundheit! An old Italian superstition says that a cat sneezing is a good omen for anyone who hears it.
Cat Scratch Fever Cats don't scratch your furniture to annoy you or purposely ruin that armoire that's been in the family since 1943, but to sharpen their claws. Cats have scent glands in their paws that mark territory and warn other cats that 'This is my turf, so stay clear.'
Is That Call for Kitty? When you're talking on the telephone, does your cat suddenly become playful? Does it rub up against your leg? Swipe at the telephone cord? The reason many cats try to interfere with their owner's telephone conversation is that kitty thinks you're talking to her, so she responds in an appropriately friendly way. Cats have no understanding that there is someone on the other end of the line.
How Much Do You Love Your Cat? Probably a lot, right? But the ancient Egyptians were really crazy about cats. They worshiped them as gods, literally, and anyone caught hunting or mistreating them in any way was put to death.Many cat lovers take their pets everywhere, but the ancient Egyptians took it one step farther. They hoped to take their pets with them after death. Prince Tuthmosis of Cairo, for instance, was buried with his cat, Mit. Provisions for the long journey into the afterlife were left for him and his Mit. Names of pets were found inscribed on ancient Egyptian tombs. According to Dennis Doxey of the Egyptian section at the University of Pennsylvania's museum, this shows that their owners wanted to help bring the animals into the afterlife with them.
Show Time The first cat show in the United States was held at New York City's Madison Square Garden in May 1895.
Cats Make History On June 19, 1997, Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats became the longest-running Broadway musical of all time. In fifteen years, 2,706 pounds of yak hair have been used to make those fluffy cat costumes for the 231 actors who have appeared in the New York production. According to USA Today, the makeup shop has gone through 603 eyeliners, 12,240 creme sticks, 4,119 powder puffs and 225 gallons of makeup remover. Odder still is that they've also used 48,451 condoms, for which they've created a special use—to keep sweat off their body mikes.
Veggie Cat While the health benefits of a vegetarian diet for humans are well documented, for a cat there is nothing worse. Given a steady diet of veggies, a cat will become sick and eventually die a very miserable death. Cats are carnivores; they love meat and must have it to live healthy lives.
Super Cats In Philadelphia a cat risked its own skin to save the lives of its young. Without the slightest hesitation, a mother cat rushed into a burning building and, one by one, pulled out her litter of kittens, incurring serious burns in the process. All of the kittens, however, were saved. Stories like this one that relate the heroic efforts of mother cats are common. In 1996, a similar incident occurred in Brooklyn. Firefighters who responded to a report of a burning building discovered five tiny kittens purring outside the flame-engulfed building. Nearby was the mother cat, who had pulled them out one by one, according to witnesses. She finally collapsed with severe burns on her face and paws. She eventually recovered and offers of adoption and financial assistance poured in from as far away as Japan.
To Declaw or Not to Declaw Is it cruel to have a cat declawed? Some people think so, for a number of reasons. Declawing a cat eliminates its natural means of self-defense. Second, claws are an important grooming tool; and third, they're used for hunting and climbing, which are essential for cats with an outdoor life. Other people think that indoor cats don't need claws since they don't hunt or use them for self-defense.So if you're thinking about declawing your cat, think about whether Fluffy is an indoor or an outdoor feline.
Why Cats Seem to Like People Who Dislike Them When a cat lover makes a noisy fuss over a pretty cat, the cat finds such behavior offensive, sometimes even threatening. It doesn't like loud, shrill sounds. The person who ignores the cat, however, wins it over because the cat interprets this as friendly behavior.
Clean Cats Cats do not normally need baths because they clean themselves with their rough tongues; they spend about 30 percent of their waking hours grooming themselves. Nevertheless, all cats benefit from regular grooming. Longhaired cats should be brushed once a day; shorthairs once a week. This helps keep their coats healthy and lustrous, and prevents them from swallowing too much fur when they wash. A bristle brush and a metal comb work best.
Eye Feel Sick A possible sign of illness is when you can see your cat's nictitating membrane, or 'third eyelid,' at the corner of its eye. Other signs include refusal to eat, diarrhea, a messy coat, reclusive behavior and listlessness. If these symptoms appear for more than a day, take your cat to the vet.
Who's Smarter, Cats or Dogs? Cats have long been given a bum rap in the intelligence department, at least when compared to dogs. One reason for this is that they don't train as easily. Another is that they don't score as high on 'intelligence tests.' But this is because dogs tend to think more like people. Cats are more complex. Your cat can be trained just as effectively as a dog if you use the proper means of communication. So it may be the trainer's, not the cat's, intelligence that's at issue.
A Cure for Naughtiness Hitting and spanking a cat aren't advisable—and usually not very effective because the cat will run away or fight back with angry force. A better, more humane method is making loud, authoritative noises, either by clapping your hands or smacking a ruler against a magazine when your cat misbehaves. She'll interpret this as disapproval of her misdeed and likely be dissuaded from repeating it.
Is Your Cat a 'Righty' or a 'Lefty'? Cats have right and left 'hands,' just like people. About 40 percent of cats are ambidextrous, another 40 percent are right-pawed and the rest are 'lefties.'
How and Why Do Cats Purr? There are lots of theories; the most generally accepted is that the purring sound is caused by air turbulence created during the rapid contraction of the larynx and diaphragm muscles. Cats purr for a variety of reasons. Purring begins in kittens at about one week old; it serves as a signal to the mother that the kittens are warm and not hungry. Purring in adult cats might simply be a throwback to this earlier infantile behavior, indicating that the animal is relaxed and unlikely to attack, as well as warm and not hungry. But deeper, more resonant purring in adult cats might be an expression of distress or physical pain. It's important, then, to know your cat's behavioral tendencies so that such an indication of pain or distress can be recognized and addressed.
Why Do Cats Eat Grass? It used to be thought that cats ingested grass to induce vomiting when they were ill, but that's not exactly true. Many healthy cats enjoy a mouthful of grass now and then, so the reason they indulge in this habit is still a mystery. It could be that they're trying to obtain a nutrient lacking in their diet. Or it could be for the same reason people chew gum—because they're bored and like the taste. If your cat is a grass chewer, keep him away from lawns that are heavily fertilized. Chemical fertilizers can make cats sick. To avoid this, some cat owners grow their own grass indoors, in a planter or a flowerpot, and allow the cat to graze whenever it needs to. Cats also like to chew on houseplants, some of which can make them ill. Plants toxic to cats include baby's breath, oleander, poinsettia, mistletoe and Easter lily. Although cats are generally careful about what they eat, it's a good idea to keep these plants out of their reach.
Successful Cats Cats are one of the most successful groups of animals on earth. They thrive in more places than any other group of mammals.
The Largest Litter—Yikes! The largest recorded number of kittens born in a lifetime of fertility to a single female cat is 420.
The Great Hunter Although cats are very good hunters, they're not always successful at catching their prey. Birds are most elusive; they usually fly away before the cat can even get close to them. Cats have better luck with small animals, such as mice and cockroaches, but it still takes perhaps ten to twenty attempts before they catch one. Unless you're Towser, the champion mouse catcher who makes her home in a Scottish distillery. She is on record for having captured twenty-three thousand mice: the undisputed world's record.
Say What? Unlike humans, cats don't have to move their heads to know what direction a sound is coming from. They just move their ears. A cat's hearing rates among the sharpest in the animal kingdom. She can hear your footsteps approaching from hundreds of feet away.
How Tabbies Got Their Name Tabbies are among the world's oldest breed of cats; they appear in Egyptian tomb paintings from the Eigh-teenth and Nineteenth Dynasties, about 3,500 years ago. But the word 'tabby' seems to have been derived from a district in ancient Baghdad called Attabiah, where a special kind of silk was manufactured. The silk was known for its distinctive watered effect, which resembles the markings of modern tabbies.
How Many Cats Are There? Today, there are more than 500 million domestic cats in the world, with 33 different breeds. The United States, home to more than 30 million cats, has 21 million households with cats living in them.
Who's the Friendliest Cat? Siamese cats crave human company more than most other breeds, so they make very devoted pets. They are fastidiously clean, and are among the most entertaining and affectionate cats anywhere.
How Long Do Cats Live? These days, cats are living longer—nearly twice as long as they did in 1930. On average, cats live fifteen to eighteen years, but some have lived more than thirty years. The oldest cat on record lived for thirty-six years and one day.
Cat Proverbs He that denies the cat skimmed milk must give the mouse cream.
A cat pent up becomes a lion.
Never put the kitty to watch your chickens. The cat loves fish but does not wish to wet its feet.
An Eye for Cats Sight is the last of a cat's senses to develop. First is touch, then after about three days, the senses of smell and taste. A few days later the cat begins responding to sounds, and after about ten days its eyes begin to open. During this period, it is recommended that the cat be confined to a darkened place, until its eyes can fully adjust to light and shade.
Cat Tricks While most people think of dogs as the perennial pet performers, cats can be trained just as well to perform many tricks including sit, stay, fetch, heel, and even play piano.
Cats with Cash Some cats inherit astonishingly generous sums of money and real estate from their pet providers. One cat in New York City inherited his own kitty condo. Cyrus, a seven-year-old cat, inherited a sumptuous $850,000 mansion in Bridgeport, Connecticut, that boasts a litter box in every one of its fifty rooms. And in the early 1960s, two fifteen-year-old cats, Hellcat and Brownie, inherited nearly $500,000 from the estate of Dr. Willian Grier of San Diego. Now, with this kind of good fortune, wouldn't you sleep better at night, even if you were a cat?
Colorful Cats The color of a kitten's eyes changes as it grows older.
Richard Torregrossa is a journalist and an artist who has freelanced for Cosmopolitan, Self, Yoga Journal, Microsoft's on-line magazine Sidewalk, and other national and regional publications.
He is the compiler and illustrator of The Little Book of Wisdom and recently illustrated Daily Meditations for Women Who Love Too Much by bestselling author Robin Norwood. He is also the author and illustrator of Fun Facts about Babies.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, he now lives in San Diego, California, where he is currently working on a series of illustrated children's books that will have tie-ins to their own Web sites. His upcoming , an illustrated fable, will be published in March 1999.