Which animal was domesticated first – the cat or the dog?

Which animal was domesticated first – the cat or the dog?

Domesticated animals are those that have been tamed and bred by humans. Humans began keeping animals as companion pets (such as cats and dogs), work animals (such as horses, donkeys, and camels to carry things), and livestock (such as cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats for food and skin, fur, or wool). 

It is not easy to tell exactly when different species of animals were domesticated. Domestication occurred gradually, so there is no exact moment in history.

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Chartreux Cat

The Chartreux Cat (Felis catus) is a mammal in the Felidae family of cats. It is a rare domestic cat. A cat is a felid, or a feline.

The Chartreux Cat has short, thick, silver-grey fur, which is called blue fur. Unlike most other cats, it has water-resistant fur due to a double layer of medium-length, slightly woolly hair. It sheds its fur moderately. It is large and muscular with short ears and a fluffy tail. It has distinctive orange or amber eyes. It is considered to be highly intelligent. 

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What is catnip?

What is catnip?

Catnip is not an animal. Catnip is a plant in the mint family. Cats like to like and chew on catnip (Nepeta cataria) and spit it out.

When cats lick and chew on catnip, they help to release iridoid chemicals in the plant. Iridoid chemicals are natural insect repellents. The chemicals repel mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches, roaches, and possibly mites.

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RESEARCH: Do American households have more cats or more dogs as pets?

Do American households have more cats or more dogs as pets? A recent 2022 research in America studied the types of pets in a household and whether dogs or cats were more popular as pets.

Studies show that, globally, dogs outnumber cats. The study showed that, in America, cats outnumber dogs. There are about 86.1 million cats and 79.7 million dogs in America. 

However, dogs are more popular as pets than cats in America – 36.6% of households own one or more dogs, whereas 30.4% of households own one or more cats. 

Why did more American households choose a dog instead of a cat? 

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Jaguar Claws

The Jaguar (Panthera onca) is a large mammal in the Felidae family of wild cats. It is native to South America.

It is a carnivore – it eats meat. It kills is prey by biting into its skull. It pierces the skull with its large canine teeth and strong jaws.

But first, it has to catch its prey. It uses a stalk and ambush approach, instead of chase and catch. It slowly stalks and then pounces on its prey. Sometimes it leaps into water to catch its prey because it is a good swimmer.

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RESEARCH: Animals have played an important health role during the COVID-19 pandemic

A 2020 research study indicates that animals, mainly pets, have played an important health role during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Researchers at the University of South Australia studied the effects of animals during the pandemic when human-to-human contact was restricted to reduce the spread of the virus. 

Researcher Dr. Janette Young said, “To fill the void of loneliness and provide a buffer against stress, there has been a global upsurge in people adopting dogs and cats from animal shelters during lockdowns. Breeders have also been inundated with demands for puppies quadrupling some waiting lists.”

It is estimated that more than half the global population share their lives with one or more pets. The health benefits have been widely reported, but little data exists regarding the specific benefits that pets bring to humans in terms of touch. 

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Eye contact: the difference between cats and dogs

Most animals can look at other animals and humans in the eyes. Pet animals do. However, there is a difference, in general, in the way cats and dogs make eye contact with humans.

A cat makes quick, fleeting eye contact with a human. A cat looks at a human in the eyes and then looks away quickly, and then may look back again. This is known as a ‘less intrusive glance’ or a fleeting glance. 

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How does a cat sharpen its claws?

How does a cat sharpen its claws?

Human fingernails and cat claws are made from keratin and keep growing their whole life.

Human fingernails do not retract (go in and out) – they do not go back into the skin to make them invisible. 

Most cats and wild cats have claws that are exposed or protracted when they use them and are hidden, sheathed, or retracted when they don’t need them. 

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Eurasian Lynx

The Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx) is a medium-sized wild cat: a feline mammal. It is a felid. 

The Eurasian Lynx has short reddish or brown fur in summer and thick, silky silver-grey to greyish-brown fur in winter, with a long grey and white ruff. Its underbelly, neck and chin are white. Its fur has black spots, although some Lynxes have dark-brown stripes on their forehead and back. It has black tufts of hair on its ears. It has powerful long legs with large webbed, furred paws to enable it to swim and to walk on snowy ground. It has a bobbed tail with a black tip. 

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CREATURE FEATURE: Caracal

The Caracal (Caracal caracal) is a medium-sized carnivorous felid mammal in the Felides family of wild cats. 

The Caracal has reddish, tan-coloured or sandy-coloured fur. Its sides are lighter with small, reddish markings, and its underbelly is white. It has a strong build, and long legs with large broad paws. It has a short face with black markings on its whiskper pads and around its green, grey, or golden-brown eyes. It has long canine teeth. It has large black ears with ear tufts. It has a short tail. The female is lighter in colour than the male, and shorter. 

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Cat, Cheetah, Leopard, Lion, Tiger Eyes: What’s the difference?

What are the similarities or differences between the eyes of a Cat (Felis catus), Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), Leopard (Panthera pardus), Lion (Panthera leo), and Tiger (Panthera tigris)?

The Domestic Cat is nocturnal, active at night. The Cheeth and the Lion are diurnal, active during the day. The Leopard and the Tiger are crepuscular, active at dawn and dusk.

The eyes of a nocturnal animal have vertical pupils that look like a black line, called slitted eyes. The eyes of a diurnal or crepuscular animal have round pupils.

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Pallas’s Cat

The Pallas’s Cat (Otocolobus manul) is a near-threatened wild cat, and a mammal. It is also known as a Manul. It is a felid, or a feline.

The Pallas’s Cat has a shortened ‘squashed’ or flattened face. It is a stocky cat with long, dense grey fur with dark vertical bars on its body and front legs. Its winter coat is darker. It has white cheeks with narrow black stripes from the corners of it grey-green eyes. It has a white chin and a white throat. It has black rings on its tail. Its legs are short and its claws are long.

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Cheetah 

The Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is a large feline, a wild cat. It is a mammal.

The Cheetah is tawny-coloured with clear solid round and oval black spots and with a white underbelly. Its spots are on its fur and also on its skin. It is a ‘sway-backed’ cat with a thin waist, and long legs. Its head is rounded and small, with a unique black ‘tear’ stain below each eye. It has dog-like feet with blunt claws that cannot retract – their claws cannot go in and out; the claws are always visible. Its tail is long and spotted, with several closely-spaced black rings near the end. It has short, thin whiskers.

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African Leopard 

The African Leopard (Panthera pardus) is a large feline, a wild cat. It is a mammal.

The African Leopard has a short coat of cream-yellow fur with dark-brown or black spots grouped into rosettes all over its body – on its fur and on its skin. Inside the rosettes is a yellowish-cream spot. It has short powerful legs with heavy feet, a strong body, thick neck, and a long tail. Its claws can retract (move in and out). Its ears are short and rounded, and its eyes have white underneath. It has thick whiskers.

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CREATURE FEATURE: Serval

The Serval (Leptailurus serval) is a slender, medium-sized wild cat found in southern Africa, similar to a cheetah but much smaller. The Serval can grow to 54–62 centimetres (21–24 inches) tall.

The Serval has golden-yellow fur that has black spots and black stripes. It has a small head, large ears, elongated toes, and a short 30 centimetre (12 inch) long black-tipped tail. It has brown or green eyes, white whiskers, white chin, and white under-belly. Three to four black stripes run from the back of the head onto the shoulders, which become rows of spots.

The Serval has the longest legs of any cat, in comparison with its body size. This may be to allow the Serval cat to walk above muddy ground. Like a domestic cat, it is very flexible and can change direction in mid-air as it leaps.

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