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BIG FAT FURRY LAID-BACK JECKYLL & HYDE PEEKABOO KITTY

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Published on Apr 25, 2008

My cat Kiki living it up.

Domestic cats, especially young kittens, are known for their love of play. This behavior mimics hunting and is important in helping kittens learn to stalk, capture and kill prey. Many cats cannot resist a dangling piece of string, or a piece of rope drawn randomly and enticingly across the floor. This well known love of string is often depicted in cartoons and photographs, which show kittens or cats playing with balls of yarn. It is probably related to hunting instincts, including the common practice of kittens hunting their mother's and each other's tails. If string is ingested, however, it can become caught in the cat's stomach or intestines, causing illness, or in extreme cases, death. Due to possible complications caused by ingesting a string, string play is sometimes replaced with a laser pointer's dot, which some cats will chase. While caution is called for, there are no documented cases of feline eye damage from a laser pointer, and the combination of precision needed and low energy involved make it a remote risk. A common compromise is to use the laser pointer to draw the cat to a prepositioned toy so the cat gets a reward at the end of the chase. A regular flashlight with a well-focused light spot has been commonly used in such play for decades, preceding the availability of consumer laser pointers.

Cats will also engage in play fighting, with each other and with human partners. Humans "wrestling" with a supine cat, however, should be wary: if the cat is overstimulated or startled it may decide that the play has turned serious and cease to pull its punches; this can lead to serious scratches and occasionally even bites.

Most breeds of cat have a noted fondness for settling in high places, or perching. Animal behaviorists have posited a number of explanations, the most common being that height gives the cat a better observation point, allowing it to survey its "territory" and become aware of activities of people and other pets in the area. In the wild, a higher place may serve as a concealed site from which to hunt; domestic cats are known to strike prey by pouncing from such a perch as a tree branch, as does a leopard. Height, therefore, can also give cats a sense of security and prestige.

During a fall from a high place, a cat can reflexively twist its body and right itself using its acute sense of balance and flexibility. This is known as the cat's "righting reflex". It always rights itself in the same way, provided it has the time to do so, during a fall. The height required for this to occur in most cats (safely) is around 3 feet (90 cm). Cats without a tail also have this ability, since a cat mostly moves its hind legs and relies on conservation of angular momentum to set up for landing, and the tail is in fact little used for this feat.

However, cats' fondness for high spaces can dangerously test the righting reflex. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals warns owners to safeguard the more dangerous perches in their homes, to avoid "high-rise syndrome", where an overconfident cat falls from an extreme height.

Cats have been kept by humans since at least ancient Egypt, where Bast in cat form was goddess of the home, the domesticated cat, protector of the fields and home from vermin infestations, and sometimes took on the warlike aspect of a lioness. The first domesticated cats may have saved early Egyptians from many rodent infestations and likewise, Bast developed from the adoration for her feline companions. She was the daughter of the sun god Ra and played significant role in Ancient Egyptian religion. It has been speculated that cats resident in Kenya's Islands in the Lamu Archipelago may be the last living direct descendants of the cats of ancient Egypt.

Several ancient religions believed that cats are exalted souls, companions or guides for humans, that they are all-knowing but are mute so they cannot influence decisions made by humans. In Japan, the Maneki Neko is a cat that is a symbol of "good fortune". While in Islam there is not a sacred species, it is said by some writers that Muhammad had a favorite cat, Muezza. It is said he loved cats so much that "he would do without his cloak rather than disturb one that was sleeping on it".

Freyja — the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility in Norse mythology — is riding a chariot driven by cats.

SEE ALSO:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eLIMc...
Fat Cat
Those last few kibbles might have gotten between Goliath and a clean escape. But after weeks of stealing food from a Gresham garage, the flabby tabby found himself stuck — head and shoulders outside the doggie door, gut and tail inside. The homeowner helped dislodge the sweet, playful 20.2-pound cat, kindly gave him a good meal, then delivered him Wednesday to the Oregon Humane Society, where he awaits his owner or a new adoptive personal chef.

From:oregoniannews
4.7 STARS
01:15
in Pets & Animals

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