The Science of Cats

Science of Cats2Devin W.

Staff Writer

Cats are a tremendous part of some people’s lives, like it or not. From the internet to clothing, cats can be found all over the world. They are seen eating cheeseburgers and LOLing at people through the internet and are used in a variety of comedic photos. Individuals have always wondered the secrets about cats and why they do strange actions.
Cats go way back to even before humans came along (approximately 25 million years ago); obviously they were much larger then because of the time period, but nonetheless just as adorable. Cats became domestic about ten to twelve thousand years ago in the Fertile Crescent (somewhere in West Asia). They were used to catch rodents in order to help with the development of agriculture. From there they populated and moved on to other parts of the world through trade and just from living outdoors in the wild. From Europe, cats boarded ships as mousers for the Americans and were rumored to tag along with Christopher Columbus, with settlers at Jamestown, and aboard the Mayflower.
Cats moved from being useful to being treasured. In ancient Egypt, cats were worshiped like gods and mummified. They were also kept on leashes as part of a cult of the goddess Bastet. While cats used to live primarily outdoors, by the end of World War One, cats were accepted as common household pets in the United States. Their popularity continued to grow, and the first cat show was held in Madison Square Garden in 1895.
Not only is there history to cats, there is also a science. Most rumors about cats are completely true, like the fact that catnip really makes a kitty crazy. There is a chemical in catnip called Nepetalactone that acts as an artificial cat pheromone that arouses cats and makes them act in a ridiculous manner. Cats will run around and cry out whenever they smell catnip, which it causes them to act as if they are on drugs. The rumor about cats doing almost nothing all day is also true. Cats spend 85 percent of their day lying around and sleeping, and they spend the other 15 percent eating, drinking, defecating, and occasionally playing.
Cats, for some strange reason, cannot pass up a cardboard box. For cats, all of the toys in the world cannot amount to a simple box. Cats like boxes because they use them to hide from predators, and they also use them as an aid to stalking prey. Seeking out confined spaces is a natural instinct to cats, as confined spaces make them feel as if nothing can sneak up behind or beside them; anything that wants to approach them has to come directly into their line of vision. Boxes also provide a safe, cozy place to sleep, which is beneficial considering some cats sleep more than 20 hours a day.
Cats act in strange behaviors for all of the right reasons. Jonathan Riner, junior at Woodstock High School, said that he has “seen a cat jump out of a two-story building’s window to catch a bird.” Of course that fine feline landed on its feet due to its righting reflex. The righting reflex allows a cat to determine which way is up and down when it is falling. They also have no collar bone and an extremely flexible backbone to help them torque and turn to assist them to land on their feet.
Cats may be odd, but in some ways, they are almost like people. Like human fingerprints, every cat’s nose print is different. There are also different kinds of cats, each with a different personality, just like humans. From tabbies to Persians, cats come in all different shapes and sizes. Inbred cats combine colors and characteristics of different cats to make an insurmountable number of cat combinations.
People feel strongly about cats because of their outstanding personalities. Riner said that he “loves cats, and they are the funniest animal out of the household pets.” People have their favorite kinds of cats as well. Mrs. Kathryn Hawter, geometry teacher at WHS, stated, “Orange tabby cats are my favorite kind of cat because I like their color and their personalities.” Some people dislike cats just as much as people who admire them. Sometimes cats will scratch or they will be aggressive towards certain individuals, and that might be a reason for someone to not like cats.
From Facebook to Tumblr, cats can be found all over the internet and all over social media. Many memes are made about cats, and almost all of them portray them with a humorous sense of character, not to mention the cuteness involved. Fantastic felines are very peculiar creatures that will continue to mystify humans everywhere.

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