According to HSUS, the human society of the United States, wild animal trade is a multi-billion business, following to drugs and weaponries on the black market. It is a fifteen billion dollar industry in America alone. Keeping wild animals as pets not only risks your life but the people
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Exotic animals deserve to live in their natural habitat where they are most happy; consequently more legislation needs to be enacted that restricts and makes owning wild animals illegal. The five worst common wild animals that are kept as pets are Primates, large cats, venomous snakes, bears, and coatis. There are many reasons why these would make terrible pets such as the animal can injure you or even kill you. Some big cats at first might be cute to play with while they are young. However once an adult, it can end up being very aggressive.
Furthermore, instinctive behavior and behavioral disorders are normal, you can never know what to expect from them. It takes time to domesticate an animal, taming dogs and cats took centuries. They simply do not do well with people like ordinary pets do. There was a case where a two-hundred pound pet chimp in Stamford, Connecticut, fiercely attacked a woman he had been well known for years, leaving her severely wounded with most of her face ripped off. The woman, Charla Nash of age 55,was visiting her friend, Sandra Herold, who owned the chimpanzee.
The chimps name was Travis, who was a famous figure downtown, who had performed in TV advertisements and frequently modeled or snapshots at the shop ran by his proprietor. Sandra aggressively tried to get Travis off, but she was no match for a two-hundred pound ape. So she called for help, shortly, the police had come. Once they had arrived Travis ran away, the police went in search for him and shot him, but then
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Charla had to go through a twenty hour, multiple face transplant operation and is blind for life. Outbreaks like the one in the Charla Nash case wouldn’t of happened if wild animals were kept in their natural habitat. Keeping the animal is just bad for the animal itself. Some owners will have the exotic animals teeth or claws detached, not only does it hurt the animal but it is cruel. How does a bird feel if it can’t soar in the sky? Even if an animal does keep its entire body parts, the minimal room it has as related to the wild regularly generates insanity, depression, and vicious behavior.
Such psychological problems can be often seen as a mutilation in such as tearing fur or feathers off their limbs. Most people who own wild animals keep them in a cage or captive. Cages are prisons to animals. Animals held confined cannot wander, fly, climb, pick a spouse or live at will. They are imprisoned, hampered, and isolated. They are stripped of regulation over their natural lives! Also, having medical maintenance for the animal is very hard. Some owners are afraid to bring their wild pet to the vet because it is often banned to have them in the first place.
Additionally, various exotic animals hide the signs of sickness, and the majority of people wouldn’t even know what indications to look for. Lastly, finding an appropriate veterinarian could require a visit to the wildlife park which can be quite expensive. There are also significant environmental aspects to take in mind. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals informs that newborn animals are the most wanted and produce dealers the biggest profits. Poachers will generally slaughter the defensive mother so that it’s easier to capture the baby, furthering the stimulation of the extinction rate of countless already \ endangered animals. While some exotic pets have been created in confinement, many wild animals are taken straight from their inherent homes.
The pressure of being violently removed from their families causes certain animals to pass away before they even get to a private residence. Removing exotic animals from their natural environment, like the tropical rain forest or African savannas negatively disturbs the ecosystems, which, confirming from the ASPCA, depend on those species to advance the life progression of vegetation and maintain animal populations in check.
There are fairly a couple national laws that disallow the exportation and federal transmission of certain wild pets in the United States. These consist of the imprisonment of Wildlife Security Act, the Wild Bird Conservation Act and the Endangered Species Act. Furthermore, numerous states have limitations on the possession of exotic pets. According to the ASPCA, these regulations vary immensely from one state to another state and can estimate from total sanctions to merely demanding a license.
Internationally, the Settlement on the Global Trade in Endangered Species of Plants and Wildlife standardizes the import and export of vanishing species. In a somewhat different disposition, animal benefit establishments like the human society of the United States have established assemblies like the Species Survival Network to endorse wildlife fortification and educate communities about the endangerments of wild pet ownership. Though, despite these legislations and a humanitarian purpose, the exotic pet trade is still a thriving industry.
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This page is about domestic cats. For the cat family, see Felidae. For the musical, see Cats (musical).
Cats, also called domestic cats (Felis catus), are carnivorous (meat-eating) mammals, of the familyFelidae.
Cats have been domesticated (tame) for nearly 10,000 years. They are currently the most popular pets in the world. Their origin is probably the African WildcatFelis silvestris lybica.
Cats were probably first kept because they ate mice, and this is still their main 'job' in farms throughout the world. Later they were kept because they are friendly and good companions.
A young cat is called a kitten. Cats are sometimes called kitty or pussycat. A female cat that has not had its sex organs removed is called a queen. A male cat that has not had its sex organs removed is called a tom.
Domestic cats are found in shorthair, longhair, and hairless breeds. Cats which are not specific breeds can be referred to as 'domestic shorthair' (DSH) or 'domestic longhair' (DLH).
The word 'cat' is also used for other felines. Felines are usually called either big cats or small cats. The big cats are well known: lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, pumas, and cheetahs. There are small cats in most parts of the world, such as the lynx in northern Europe. The big cats and wild cats are not tame, and can be very dangerous.
In the past, most notably in Egypt, people kept domestic cats because they hunted and ate mice, rats, and insects. Today, people often keep cats as pets. There are also domestic cats which live without being cared for by people. These kinds of cats are called "feral cats".
The oldest evidence of cats kept as pets is from the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, around 7500 BC. Ancient Egyptians worshipped cats as gods, and often mummified them so they could be with their owners "for all of eternity".
Although wild cats are carnivores, cats as pets can be omnivores (eating plants as well as meat), and special food for cats is widely available. Proper feeding will help a cat live longer compared to hunting or being fed table scraps. Not correctly feeding a cat can lead to problems (see below for health concerns).
Cats cannot taste sweet foods (with sugar) because of a mutation (change) in their ancestors which removed the ability to taste sweet things.
Cats have anatomy similar to the other members of the genusFelis. The genus has extra lumbar (lower back) and thoracic (chest) vertebrae. This helps to explain the cat's spinal mobility and flexibility. Unlike human arms, cat forelimbs are attached to the shoulder by free-floating clavicle bones. These allow cats to pass their body through any space into which they can fit their heads.
The cat skull is unusual among mammals in having very large eye sockets and a powerful and specialized jaw.:35 Compared to other felines, domestic cats have narrowly spaced canine teeth: this is an adaptation to their preferred prey of small rodents. Cats, like dogs, walk directly on their toes, with the bones of their feet making up the lower part of the visible leg.
Cats walk very precisely. Unlike most mammals, when cats walk, they use a "pacing" gait; that is, they move the two legs on one side of the body before the legs on the other side. This trait is shared with camels and giraffes. As a walk speeds up into a trot, a cat's gait will change to be a "diagonal" gait, similar to that of most other mammals: the diagonally opposite hind and forelegs will move at the same time. Most cats have five claws on their front paws, and four on their rear paws. On the inside of the front paws there is something which looks like a sixth "finger". This special feature, on the inside of the wrists, is the carpal pad, also found on other cats and on dogs.
Cats are active carnivores, meaning they hunt live prey. Their main prey is small mammals (like mice). They will also stalk, and sometimes kill and eat, birds. Cats eat a wide variety of prey, including insects, and seem especially to like house flies and bluebottles. Their main method of hunting is stalk and pounce. While dogs have great stamina and will chase prey over long distances, cats are extremely fast, but only over short distances. The basic cat coat colouring, tabby (see top photo), gives it good camouflage in grass and woodland. The cat creeps towards a chosen victim, keeping its body flat and near to the ground so that it cannot be seen easily, until it is close enough for a rapid dash or pounce. Cats, especially kittens, practice these instinctive behaviours in play with each other or on small toys.
Cats are quiet and well-behaved animals, making them popular pets. Young kittens are playful. They can easily entertain themselves with a variety of store-bought or homemade toys. House cats have also been known to teach themselves to use lever-type doorknobs and toilet handles.
Cats are fairly independent animals. They can look after themselves and do not need as much attention as dogs do.
Cats use many different sounds for communication, including meowing, purring, trilling, hissing, growling, squeaking, chirping, clicking and grunting.
Body posture is also important. The whole shape of the body changes when a cat is relaxed, or when it is alert. Also, the position of their ears and tail are used for communication, as well as their usual functions.
These ways of communication are very important. They are used between a mother cat and her kittens. They are also used between male and female cats; and between cats and other species, such as dogs. A mother cat protecting her kittens will fight off the largest dog. She gives good warning with a frightening display, hissing furiously, showing her claws, arching her back, and making her hair stand on end. If that fails, she attacks the dog's face with her claws. It has been said that no dog ever tries such an attack a second time.
Cats only mate when the queen is "in heat". Heat periods occur about every two weeks and last 4 to 6 days. Mating in cats is a spectacular event. Several toms may be attracted to a queen in heat. The males will fight over her, and the victor wins the right to mate. At first, the female will reject the male, but eventually the female will allow the male to mate. The female will utter a loud yowl as the male pulls out of her. This is because a male cat's penis has a band of about 120-150 backwards-pointing spines, which are about one millimeter long; upon withdrawal of the penis, the spines rake the walls of the female's vagina, which is a trigger for ovulation. After mating, the female will wash her vulva thoroughly. If a male attempts to breed with her at this point, the female will attack him. After about 20 to 30 minutes. once the female is finished grooming, the cycle will repeat.
Because ovulation is not always triggered, females may not get pregnant by the first tom which mates with them. A queen may mate with more than one tom when she is in heat, and different kittens in a litter may have different fathers. The cycle ceases when the queen is pregnant.
The gestation period for cats is about two months, with an average length of 66 days. The size of a litter is usually three to five kittens. Kittens are weaned at between six and seven weeks, and cats normally reach sexual maturity at 5–10 months (females) and to 5–7 months (males). Females can have two to three litters per year, so might produce up to 150 kittens in their breeding life of about ten years.
Birth and after
Pregnant queens deliver their litters by themselves, guided by instinct. The queen finds the safest place she can. Then she will clean it thoroughly, with her tongue, if necessary. Here she will quietly give birth. She licks the newborn kits clean. In the wild, leaving a scent is risking a dangerous encounter with other animals. The kits are born blind and with closed eyes. They suckle on her teats, and sleep a good deal. After two weeks or so, their eyes open. At that stage they have blue eyes, but not the best sight. A bit later, the best developed kit will totter out of the nest. The others follow. They will soon recognise you as a living thing: that is a great moment. At first, they go back to the nest to feed and sleep. After some more days they leave the nest for good, but still they may sleep together in a 'kitten heap'.
The queen, meanwhile, has left the nest from time to time, to hunt, feed, and also to urinate and defecate. Unlike the tom, she covers up her business to hide her scent. Very soon, the kits will urinate anywhere they please unless one trains them. This is done after they are weaned, when they are ready for some kitten food. Here is how to do it:
- 1. Prepare clean cat tray filled with absorbent grit.
- 2. Give kittens their special kitten food.
- 3. Take the lead kitten right after it has eaten, place it in your cat tray.
- 4. Gently stroke its tummy with one finger.
- 5. Watch as kitten sits down promptly and urinates. Do same for other kits.
- 6. Repeat next time if they need it. They will not need a third time.
What you have done is exactly what the queen would do in the wild. You have triggered a reflex which all kittens have. The thing is, the tray is artificial, and your queen may do her business outside. But at least when young, kittens need a tray. Your next job is to call the vet, who will tell you when to bring the kits for their vaccination.
Kittens play endlessly. It is how they do their learning. They will play their favourite games, such as 'hide and pounce', with almost anyone or anything. Soft balls on strings are a standard toy; so is a scratching post.
With cats there is a limit to how far you can train them. They are at least as intelligent as dogs, but they are not pack animals. They like to do their own thing, and owners do best by fitting in. Never hit a cat: if you do, the relationship will never be the same again. If you really want to dissuade them, try hissing. Also, a noise they do not like will make them leave. It has been said that no one really owns a cat; many cats collect extra owners, and may change house if they do not like the treatment...
If your kitten was born in your home do not let it out of the house until it is two to three months old. If you have the mother, she will look after the kit. But if you have got the kit from a vet or dealer, keep it in for several weeks. When it does go out, you need to watch over it. The main problem is that it may easily get lost. In time, the kit will learn every inch of the house and garden. Then, you can happily let it roam.
Cats are very clean animals. They groom themselves by licking their fur. The cat's tongue can act as a hairbrush and can clean and untangle a cat's fur. Still, owners may buy grooming products to help the cat take care of itself. After licking their fur, cats sometimes get hairballs. A hairball is a small amount of fur that is vomited up by animals when it becomes too big. This is quite normal. Owners brush their cats to try to prevent a lot of hairballs.
Many house cats eat food which their owners give them. This food is manufactured, and designed to contain the right nutrients for cats. There are many different types of cat food. These come in many different flavors and costs are often very small.
There is moist canned food and also dry cat food which comes in different sized cans or bags and formulas. There are kitten formulas, cat formulas, health formulas, formulas for reducing a cat's weight, and many others. These can even be organic (made from all natural ingredients), and have vegetables, salmon, tuna, meat, and milk essence. Yet, it's best if the food is at least 95% meat, as that's a cat's diet. Also, make sure the cat is not fed a daily diet of dog food. It could make the cat blind, as it has no taurine, which is a nutrient for the eyes.
Cats do get diseases, and prevention is better than cure. It is most important to get a young cat vaccinated against some of the most deadly diseases. If a cat gets a disease, a veterinarian (animal doctor) can offer help. Some cats, depending on breed, gender, age, and general health, may be more susceptible to disease than others. Regular visits to a vet can keep a cat alive many extra years by catching sickness and disease early.
Cats that roam outside will get fleas at some time. Cat fleas will not live on people, but fleas will not hesitate to bite anyone nearby. Owners may choose to buy anti-flea collars, but any areas where the cat normally sleeps need to be cleaned up. A vet or local pet-shop may offer advice about fleas. It is recommended that people quickly take action when a cat gets fleas because fleas can make cats uncomfortable.
House cats can become overweight through lack of exercise and over-feeding. When they get spayed or neutered ("fixed"), they tend to exercise less. Spaying is done for queens, and neutering is done for toms. It is important to fix cats, and here are some reasons. First of all, if a female cat has kittens, they will need homes. Finding homes for kittens is often quite difficult. If a tom is not fixed, it develops a disgusting smell. Breeders who have entire toms keep them in a special hut outside the house, for that reason. Fixing also helps to avoid over-population. Over-population means that there are too many cats, and some will be put to sleep (put down) in animal pounds (animal shelters).
Kittens are sometimes born with defects. People who receive cats as gifts are recommended to get it examined for its health. Some birth defects, like heart problems, require urgent vet attention. Others are harmless, like polydactyly. Polydactyly means many digits, or many "fingers" from poly (many) and dactyl (digit). Sometimes, there is a mutation (change) in cat families. Most cats have only four to five toes per paw, depending on whether it is the front or back paw. These mutated cats have six, seven, and in rare cases even more. All of these cats are called polydactyl cats. They can also be called Hemingway cats because author Ernest Hemingway owned many of these cats.
Where to find more information
There are quite a number of reference books on cats. Look for titles like Encyclopedia of the cat, or Cat encyclopedia.
Other cat pages
Other meanings of the word 'cat'
- As a verb, "to cat" means to pull a ship's anchor to rest at its cathead. It can also mean to look for a mate.
- Cat can be a short nickname for Katherine, Kathleen, Caitlin, Catalina, Katrina and Catarina.
- ↑"Oldest known pet cat? 9500-year-old burial found on Cyprus". National Geographic News. 2004-04-08. Retrieved 2007-03-06.
- ↑Driscoll, Carlos A; Clutton-Brock, Juliet; Kitchener, Andrew C. and O'Brien, Stephen J. "The evolution of house cats". Scientific American. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
- ↑Gillis, Rick (ed.) (22 July 2002). "Cat skeleton". Zoolab: a website for animal biology. La Crosse, WI: University of Wisconsin. Archived from the original on 6 December 2006. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
- ↑Case, Linda P. (2003). The cat: its behavior, nutrition, and health. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Pr. ISBN 0-8138-0331-4.
- ↑Smith, Patricia; Tchernov, Eitan (1992). Structure, function and evolution of teeth. Freund Publishing House Ltd. p. 217. ISBN 965-222-270-4.
- ↑Lacquaniti, F.; Grasso, R.; Zago, M. (1999). "Motor patterns in walking". News Physiol. Sci.14 (4): 168–174. PMID 11390844.
- ↑Christensen, Wendy (2004). Outwitting cats. Globe Pequot. p. 23. ISBN 1-59228-240-7.
- ↑Danforth, C.H. (1947). "Heredity of polydactyly in the cat". Journal of Heredity38 (4): 107–112. PMID 20242531. http://jhered.oxfordjournals.org/content/38/4/107.full.pdf.
- ↑YouTube - Gizmo Flushes
- ↑"Meows mean more to cat lovers". Channel3000.com. Retrieved 2006-06-14.
- ↑Konrad Lorenz 1950. Man meets dog.
- ↑ 13.013.113.213.313.4"Prolific cats: the estrous cycle"(PDF). Veterinary Learning Systems. Retrieved 19 June 2009.
- ↑Aronson L.R. & Cooper M.L, LR (1967). "Penile spines of the domestic cat: their endocrine-behavior relations". Anat. Rec.157 (1): 71–8. doi:10.1002/ar.1091570111. ISSN 0003-276X. PMID 6030760. http://www.catcollection.org/files/PenileSpines.pdf.
- ↑Trigger: in the sense of an event which starts other events.
- ↑Wildt D.E; Seager S.W. & Chakraborty PK, DE (1980). "Effect of copulatory stimuli on incidence of ovulation and on serum luteinizing hormone in the cat". Endocrinology107 (4): 1212–7. doi:10.1210/endo-107-4-1212. ISSN 0013-7227. PMID 7190893.
- ↑Tsutsui T. & Stabenfeldt G.H (1993). "Biology of ovarian cycles, pregnancy and pseudopregnancy in the domestic cat". J. Reprod. Fertil. Suppl.47: 29–35. ISSN 0449-3087. PMID 8229938.
- ↑How to look after your cat: there are two books with this title, as follows. 1. by Colin and Jacqui Hawkins, Walker Books, 1996. 2. by Alan Edwards, Southwater, 2006.
- ↑Gallico, Paul. The silent miaow: a cat's eye view of Homo sapiens. Heinemann, London.
- ↑Behrend, Katrin (1991). The Complete Book of Cat Care: how to raise a happy and healthy cat. Hauppauge, NY: Barron's Educational Series, Inc. ISBN 0-8120-4613-7.
- ↑http://cats.about.com/cs/catmanagement101/a/hairballs.htm But note: this ref overstates the problem.
- ↑[Anon.] 1983. Sherley's cat book: the complete book of cat care written by a vetinary surgeon. Ashe Laboratories, Leatherhead, Surrey.