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Cat Domestic small mainly carnivorous animal Felis catus member of the family Felidae popular as a household pet and valuable for killing mice and rats Like other members of the cat family the domestic cat has retractile claws keen hearing and smell remarkable night vision and a compact muscular and highly supple body Cats possess excellent memory and exhibit considerable aptitude for learning by observation and experience The natural life span of a domestic cat is about 15 years IIORIGIN OF SPECIES Most authorities believe that the shorthaired breeds of domestic cat are derived from the Caffre cat F libyca a species of African wildcat domesticated by the ancient Egyptians perhaps as early as 2500 BC and transported by the Crusaders to Europe where it interbred with the indigenous smaller wildcats The longhaired breeds may have sprung from the Asian wildcat F manul Over the centuries cats have remained virtually the same in size weighing about 36 kg about 8 lb when full-grown and have preserved their instinct for solitary hunting APhysiology of the Cat The body of a domestic cat is extremely flexible its skeleton contains more than 230 bones the human skeleton although much larger contains 206 bones and its pelvis and shoulders are more loosely attached to its spine than in most other quadrupeds The cats great leaping ability and speed are due in part to its powerful musculature Its tail provides balance when jumping or falling The cats claws are designed for catching and holding prey The sharp hooked retractile claws are sheathed in a soft leathery pocket at the end of each toe and are extended for fighting hunting and climbing The cat marks its territory by scratching and scenting trees or other objects its claws leave visible scratch marks and the scent glands on its paw pads leave a scent mark The cats teeth are designed for biting not for chewing Its powerful jaw muscles and sharp teeth enable
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