1 A strong tackle used to hoist an anchor to the cathead of a ship
Sinonimi: true cat
ETYM AS. cat; akin to Dutch and Dan. kat, Swed. katt, Icel. köttr, German katze, kater, Irish cat, W. cath, Armor. kaz, Late Lat. catus, Bisc. catua, NGr. gata, gatos, Russ. and Pol. kot, Turk. kedi, Arabic qitt; of unknown origin. Related to Kitten.
Feline mammal usually having thick soft fur and being unable to roar; domestic cats; wildcats; SYN. true cat.
Small, domesticated, carnivorous mammal Felis catus, often kept as a pet or for catching small pests such as rodents. Found in many color variants, it may have short, long, or no hair, but the general shape and size is constant. Cats have short muzzles, strong limbs, and flexible spines which enable them to jump and climb. All walk on the pads of their toes (digitigrade) and have retractile claws, so are able to stalk their prey silently. They have large eyes and an acute sense of hearing. The canine teeth are long and well-developed, as are the shearing teeth in the side of the mouth.
Domestic cats have a common ancestor, the African wild cat Felis libyca, found across Africa and Arabia. This is similar to the European wild cat F. silvestris. Domestic cats can interbreed with either of these wild relatives. Various other species of small wild cat live in all continents except Antarctica and Australia. Large cats such as the lion, tiger, leopard, puma, and jaguar also belong to the cat family Felidae.
There are over 50 pedigree varieties, divided roughly into 3 groups: long-hairs or Persians, shorthairs, and Siamese. The long-hairs have round, broad heads, with small ears, thickset bodies, short, thick legs, and short, full tails. Among the long-hairs, the Chinchillas, with white coats tipped with black, and the Smoke, with white undercoat and black top coat, are striking. British shorthairs have round heads, smallish ears, sturdy bodies on well-proportioned legs, and medium-length tails. The foreign shorthair varieties have longish heads, big ears, long, graceful bodies, and fairly long tails. The Siamese have wedge-shaped heads, long, svelte bodies, tall legs, and long, tapering tails. The Manx differs from other cats in having no tail at all.
The domestic cat may have up to 3 litters a year, the period of gestation being about 65 days. An average litter is of four or five kittens. Kittens are born blind, and the eyes open after about 10 days. All eyes are blue at first, but the coloring develops over the first weeks according to the variety. Some, such as the Siamese and Burmese, keep their blue eyes.
The most serious illness in cats is feline infectious enteritis, a fatal illness against which all kittens should be inoculated. There are also a number of respiratory diseases, collectively known as “cat flu”, which can prove fatal, but early veterinary treatment is usually effective.
Cats were known in Egypt more than 3,000 years ago where they were worshiped, embalmed at death, and frequently buried in elaborate coffins. They were known in India over 2,000 years ago, and later in China and Japan. They arrived in Britain with the Romans, where they were considered of great value. In the 10th century laws were made for their protection, but in the Middle Ages they came to be feared, being thought to be connected with black magic. By Victorian times they were again in favor as many houses kept a cat to catch mice.
The Cat Fanciers' Association in Manasquan, New Jersey, sponsors more than 600 clubs and recognizes 37 breeds.