Afro-Asiatic "kaddiska" -> Late Latin "catus" -> Old English "catt"
Animailia -> Chordata -> Mammalia -> Carnivora -> Felidae -> Felis -> F. Catus
Diploid, 38 chromosomes, ~20K genes, digitgrades (walk directly on toes),
directly register (place each hind paw almost directly in the print of the
corresponding forepaw), pacing gait (moving both legs on one side of the body
before the legs on the other side move, a trait shared with camels and giraffes),
protractable claws, can tolerate quite high temperatures, do not sweat, have
a general lack of circadian rhythms, can survive on a diet only of meat with
no additional water (and can even rehydrate by drinking seawater), require a
diet containing arginine and taurine, have excellent night vision (requiring
only 1/6 the light level needed by humans, partially the result of having a
tapetum lucidum) but rather poor color vision, have excellent hearing
(frequency range 55Hz-79KHz, higher than either humans or dogs) and an
acute sense of smell, cannot taste sweetness, live between 12 and 14 years
for indoor males, are seasonally polyestrous (may have many periods of heat
beginning in spring and ending in late autumn), are superfecund (different
kittens in a litter may have different fathers), have a gestation period of
66 days on the average, reach sexual maturity at 5-10 months for females
and 5-7 months for males, can have 2-3 litters per year, are cosmopolitan,
and can be found on every continent except Antarctica.
Recent DNA studies suggest that most of the estimated 600 million domestic
cats now living around the globe are descendants most directly of the Near
Eastern Wildcat, one of the five Felis sylvestris lybica wildcat subspecies
still found around the Old World.
August 17th is "National Black Cat Appreciation Day".
My 4-footed best friend.
2001 - 2016
The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey,
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter;
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames;
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter,
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkstrap, Quaxo, or Coriopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum,
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same;
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable,
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.
- T. S. Eliot