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The Enigma Cats

Tatjana Teixeira, News

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People view cats as selfish, manic, demonic and possibly bad luck. Superstitions were built off of cats because of their peculiar ways, but are cats the ones to blame for their odd behavior or are people only seeing what they want to see?

Some characteristics all cats share make them seem all the same, although looking deeper they couldn’t be more different. All cats are similar, their silky fur coats and cute little pint sized paws, as well as their outstanding senses. On the other hand bone and facial structure, immense personalities, and particular markings separate cats into breeds. There’s about 43 breeds that vary from slender, agile Siamese, a cat native to Thailand and known for their distinctive point colouration, to the well-known Tabby cats with their signature ‘M’ stripes on their forehead.

Other breeds are known less for their looks, the Ragdoll breed (named after its tendencies) is known for being affectionate and going completely limp while being carried around. The Maine Coons are known for being friendly and outgoing, also for them being the most common bread to have a genetic defect called Polydactyl, Poly meaning many and dactyl meaning digits, meaning many digits. Which is referring to the cat’s abnormal paws when they have 6 or more toes on each paw. All cats with unique characteristics but categorized under the term “cat”.

One similarity all cat have, including wild cats like cheetahs and tigers, is that two thirds of a cats life is spent sleeping. They’re called lazy, which is a valid assumption if you don’t know cats well, but behind that lump of fur is their true Felis Domesticus. There will always be exceptions, but in most cases cats will need rest to hunt. It isn’t a pleasant way of life but outdoor cats will resort to hunting as a source of food.

Before cats were domesticated they would need to scavenge for their own food by fishing or catching small prey such as mice, birds, or sometimes rats and squirrels. Even after a cat has been through generations of house cats their instincts remain the same. If a cat is indoor it’s quite unlikely that they’re saving energy to catch their next meal, regardless it’s been raised to sleep for hours on end.

Supposedly majority of common house cats evolved from the Felis Silvestris Lybica, the African wild cat. No one is certain how they got from roaming the forests, hunting to being a human companion. What is certain is that evidence has been found showing that felis catus has existed with humans since the beginning of civilization.

The beginning of domestication, of taming cats, was most likely with the Egyptians, thousands of years ago. Cat skulls were found among humans in burial ground to prove theories. The cats were fierce hunters but also were a symbol of grace and poise, and since the Egyptians had reputation of worshiping animals it seems suitable that cats would be a worthy candidate.

Cats cleared homes of disease carrying mice and rats, they were brought into barns and homes to clear out the unwanted pests. The only thing people can be completely sure of is that eventually they ended up staying in the houses and making that their home. Giving us, the common house cat. Today cats one of the most common pets with about 30% of people owning them.

CAT STATS

A debate almost as big as apple vs. Samsung is dogs vs. cats. If you are looking to get in an argument with someone it’s a good place to start with asking their opinion on cats. With such a cute animal when someone is passionate about them you will have no luck changing their mind.

“Love, the fluffiest and most loving animal”, stated student Talya Carter when asked on her opinion of cats. Another student was interviewed and said ,“Don’t like them at all”, a diverse array of responses from a simple question due to the large variety of experiences.

People have learn certain views of cats from society. The media play an eminent role in everyone’s lives, and from a young age children are subconsciously learning that cats are the villain. Shows like Looney Toons has a cat (Sylvester) represented as a large cute little bird eating monster and in Garfield comics Garfield may be the main character but he’s shown as fat, lazy, and cruel to poor Odie.

Kids are being taught false ideas right from the start. Now even small things like having a cat foreshadow something bad is about to happen in horror movies. 14% of people still view cats as bad luck, a superstition fed by media’s depiction of cats.

Since society has taught us to look down upon cats, it may seem contradicting that so many people love them anyways. So what make cats so lovable? In a survey 33% of people found personality their favorite trait, 24% of people are caught by their appearance, 10% their unique purring, and 33% their fur. Scientifically it makes perfect sense that people admire cats silk like fur, it was proven that soft objects help people de-stress, it calms them and allows them to think more clearly.

A few students were interviewed asking why they dislikes cats, one of the common answers was, “Because they are mean”. Everyone is allowed to have unique opinions and have all had different experiences with cats but to simply dislike them because they are “mean” doesn’t seem like much of a reason.

Egyptians worshipped cats, praised them like gifts sent from the gods. It was commonly found that cats were inscribed on tomb walls, and statues were made of them. Then somehow over the past century people have decided they’re mean. Cats are surprisingly like people in ways, they have good days and bad days, are highly influenced by the people they’re surrounded by, they will not tolerate being pet or held the wrong way and if have had traumatic experiences with people and most cats will be scarred but can heal with time.

57% of people have had some sort of bed experience with cats. Even former SPCA Volunteer Katrina Hawe states, “After being attacked by new strays for the third time, it was my time to move on”. Cats are carnivorous and genetically hunters, their bodies built to kill prey and hurt unwanted nuisances. Even after this experience Katrina’s opinions on cats didn’t change though, after working with cats for years she’d learnt that all cats come from different backgrounds meaning you need to be cautious with them.

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The Enigma Cats