Cats: The American Favorite

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, November 14, 2009

Most of our articles have been about our canine companions, but it would be rude of me to leave out American’s #1 pet- the domestic cat.

There are approximately 81 million cat kept as pets compared to only 72 million dogs.

Why are cats more popular? Well, it is most likely due to our busy lifestyles.

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Cats are more self sufficient than dogs. They use a litter box and therefore do not have to be taken outside every few hours like a dog.

You can put some food and water out and they are good-to-go for the day. I am not saying that cats do not need attention, but they are less demanding than our canine friends.

Cats have been domesticated for over 4,000 years. Historians say that the Ancient Egyptians were the first to keep cats.

Cats were used to keep vermin and other pest out of their food supplies. The Egyptians loved their cats.

They were revered as hunters and worshiped as gods and goddesses.

The Ancient Egyptians even imposed the death penalty for killing cats and cats were even mummified before being buried.

The eyes, body shapes, feeding and grooming habits, and the ability to pounce into action at any moment, are all characteristics domestic cats of today share with their wild ancestors.

The most popular non-pedigree household cat is the black and white cat, followed by the solid black cat, and then the Tabby.

Of the 36 recognized pedigree cats, the Siamese is the most popular.

As with any pet, if you let your cat outdoors it is important to provide it with a collar and name tag. A cat collar should have an elastic section so the cat can slip out of it should it get caught.

There is definitely an overpopulation problem with our feline friends, so don’t forget to spay or neuter your cat, especially if it is kept outdoors.

Also, the average lifespan of an outdoor cat is only about 3-5 years, while it is not uncommon for an indoor cat to live 16 years or more.

So if you want to keep Felix around for awhile, buy a litter box and a good lint brush.

Cats are interesting creatures and have many interesting characteristics.

Cats have the ability to see six times better in the dark than humans and run at speeds of 30 mph.

On the average, a cat will sleep for 16 hours a day. Their front paw has five toes, while the back paw only has four. Have you ever wondered why cats like to eat grass?

They eat grass to aid in their digestion and to help them get rid of the fur in their stomachs.

Purring can indicate that a cat is happy and content, but a cat may purr loudly when they are in pain or distressed.

Cats are an entertaining addition to the family. Cats have a unique personality. Some cats like affection, while others prefer to keep their human house-mates at a distance. They allow us to have a little of the “wild outdoors” in our homes.

Remember, every dog and cat deserves to be treated like a show pet.

Tony Barker, The BARKer Shop