All cats are members of the family Felidea,
which split from the other mammals at least 40,000,000 years ago, making
it one of the oldest mammalian families. All cats share certain
characteristics that are unique to the cat family.
Cats are pure carnivores. They need a high level of protein in their
diets - around 30% - and lack the digestive equipment to do well on a
diet of grains, fruits or vegetables. They are designed to live from
hunting mammals, with powerful jaws, long, sharp teeth, claws that draw
back into their paws when not in use, exceptionally acute hearing, and
eyes adapted for vision in dim light for hunting just before dawn and
just after dusk, the prime hunting periods.
Contrary to popular belief, the cat is a social animal. A pet cat will
respond and answer to speech , and seems to enjoy human companionship
and can be trained. However, unlike humans and dogs, cats do not suffer
a lot from loneliness. Therefore, it is a mistake to project our social
feelings onto our cats. Cats are social to a degree, but they are far
more concerned with territorial issues than we can even imagine.
Cats without apparent pedigree are generally referred to as
random-bred and "Domestic
Shorthair" or "Domestic Longhair", depending on their coat length.
Domestics have a wide range of appearance and temperaments. Domestics
may be found in many colors and combinations of colors. Coat lengths may
vary from short and sleek to full and fluffy to long and draping. Tails
also may vary and may be long, short, kinky, or non-existent. Similarly,
eye color also varies with the whims of Mother Nature.
Whether you choose a Domestic or a Pedigreed cat or rescued "copycat",
you may appreciate some
for determining your cat's color using the standard
nomenclature and some tips on caring for your cat. As you are reading, do remember that most
authorities consider kittenhood to last until 8 months of age, after
which the cat is considered an adult, though full maturation and
development may take up to two years.
Pedigreed cats come in many different breeds, with traits and
personality (temperament) styles being rather uniform within each
breed. The Breed Profiles provided as links above provide some
information about the history and traits of each breed. The Breed
Standards within each registry (CFA,
TCA, CFF, etc) define the aesthetic ideal that is being
strived for in the registry and breed.