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Big Cats - Domestic Cat

( Originally Published 1936 )

The house Cat is thought 'by many of the best authorities to have come in direct descent from the Egyptian Cats, which were objects of worship and whose mummified bodies have been found in the tombs of Egypt. The commonest form is the tabby, but many others exist, probably as the result of centuries of careful breeding. The tabbylike colour is more or less striped and spotted, and closely resembles the ancestral type, all other forms being varieties of this.

Angora, or Persian, Cats are larger than the common species, and have much longer hair, as well as larger and rounder eyes. They are held in great esteem by fanciers, and bring high prices. There are many variations in colour, some being a beautiful smoke-colour, while others are pure white, jet black, or yellow with tabby marking. They are perhaps more intelligent than the common Cat, but as a rule are very delicate and difficult to rear.

One of the most curious Cats in the world is the Manx, which resembles the ordinary variety, but has little or no tail. Still another and very handsome form is the Siamese, which is very short-haired, the body a light yellow, or fawn colour, the tail, legs, and head dark brown or black. The eyes are a beautiful purple or amethyst colour. See Plate 13, Fig. 60.

In common with many other animals, the domestic cat often assumes the black, or melanistic, form, and the pure white, or albinistic. The latter often have either blue or pink eyes, and are not infrequently deaf.

As a rule, this animal seems to have a greater attachment to places than to people, and its homing instinct is extraordinary when taken many miles away from home, the animals often finding their way back in what seems a truly marvellous manner.

The Domestic Cat hunts by stalking and catches mice and birds in exactly the same method employed by the tiger in its pursuit of deer and antelope. Its muscles are very pliable, combining extreme elasticity with the maximum of strength, so that it can turn and twist in almost any direction. It also has the power of remaining perfectly still for what often seems an unendurable time, a character that is of great value in watching for mice and other animals whose hearing is extremely acute.

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