Dec 12 2023
Lunar New Year of the Wood Tiger – An endless tale of cats

Cats are pets that are very close to humans. But perhaps it is also from that closeness that people do not bother to find out what makes them special or different. In the Lunar New Year of the Wood Tiger 2023, cats become the “leader,” replacing the lord of the green forest, the tiger. So, cats must have something new to “take over” the tiger’s throne, right?

Cats originally lived in the wild but, like many other species, have left the wilderness to live with humans, becoming “house cats.” In a ancient tomb discovered on the island of Cyprus dating back 9,500 years, among various burial items, cat skeletons were found, proving that since then, cats have formed bonds with humans.

Few people know that in 1988, in Egypt, a cemetery with up to 300,000 cat skeletons was discovered. It is the strangest cemetery to date, and people still don’t know why such a bizarre cemetery exists.

To this day, biologists estimate that there are around 600 million domestic cats on Earth, not counting stray cats and wild cat populations. In the United States alone, families raise up to 75 million cats as “pets,” while there are only 64 million “dogs.” Americans, who love statistics, estimate that every hour, 200 million cats yawn and every day they take 425 million short naps. 25% of cat owners use a hair dryer to blow-dry their cats’ fur and spray them with perfume after bathing. The American Pet Association believes that every year, people spend $4 billion on commercially processed cat food. Raising a cat for a lifetime can cost $7,000 for food, veterinary care, and toys…

There was a time when cats were considered sacred by many civilizations. Ancient Egyptians worshiped a goddess named Bastet, depicted as a woman with a cat’s head. When house cats died, they were often carved into wooden statues for worship. On the contrary, in Asia, cats were sometimes considered as food. It is estimated that every year, around 4 million cats become “little tigers” for those who love to drink.

Cats are very intelligent, ranking only behind primates and dolphins. They can understand human joy and sorrow, share it, and know who loves or hates them. Cats are also the only animals that produce the sound “purr… purr” at a frequency of 26 cycles per second. This is because cats have the “technique” of vibrating the vocal cords, and the laryngeal muscles open and close accordingly. The “purr” of a cat does not necessarily indicate pleasure; they also “purr” when threatening each other or while hunting. It is estimated that in a lifetime, a cat “purrs” 10,950 times.

Cats have 32 muscles in their ears, making them “stand up” to listen very quickly. Cats often rub against people or objects, as it is a way to lower blood pressure. It should also be noted that a cat’s nose is 14 times more sensitive than a human’s, and a cat’s eyesight is 6 times better than a human’s. They can see in the dark because the vitreous humor has a layer of light-absorbing cells.

Contrary to other four-legged animals, cats cannot move their legs diagonally. When moving, they lift both left legs at the same time and then both right legs, instead of alternating front left and back right legs, and vice versa. Thanks to their flexible muscles, they can jump five times their body length from head to tail. On average, a cat runs at 20 km/h, but when in danger and must exert maximum effort, their speed can reach 48.28 km/h. In a lifetime, a female cat can give birth to 100 kittens. Newborn kittens do not open their eyes until 5 days after birth, and they can hear after 14-15 days and walk steadily after 20 days.

The lifespan of a domestic cat is 15-20 years. In comparison to humans in different stages of development, a 3-year-old cat is equivalent to a 21-year-old human. An 8-year-old cat is equivalent to a 40-year-old human. A 14-year-old cat corresponds to a “double seven” in humans.

Nowadays, many people raise cats as “pets.” But it should also be known that in natural conditions, cats are excellent hunters, catching an average of 4 mice per day.


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