The cat, also known as the domestic cat or house cat, is a small predatory, valued by humans for its companionship and its ability to hunt vermin, snakes, scorpions and other unwanted household pests. It has been associated with humans for at least 9,500 years.
A skilled predator, the cat is known to hunt over 1,000 species for food. It can be trained to obey simple commands. Individual cats have also been known to learn on their own to manipulate simple mechanisms, such as doorknobs. Cats use a variety of vocalizations and types of body language for communication, including meowing, purring, hissing, growling, squeaking, chirping, clicking, and grunting.Cats may be the most popular pet in the world, with over 600 million in homes all over the world.hey are also bred and shown as ...view middle of the document...
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 catâ€™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.
According to a myth in many cultures, cats have nine (or sometimes seven) lives. The myth is attributed to the natural suppleness and swiftness cats exhibit to escape life-threatening situations. Also lending credence to this myth is that falling cats often land on their feet because of an inbuilt automatic twisting reaction and are able to twist their bodies around to land feet first, though they can still be injured or killed by a high fall.