Meaning of DOMESTIC CAT in English


( (species Felis catus), ) also called House Cat, domesticated member of the family Felidae, order Carnivora. The domestic cat retains many of the characteristics of larger wildcats. Its eyes are extremely sensitive to light. Its triangular ears rotate rapidly to identify the source of a sound and can respond to frequencies of up to 25,000 vibrations per second. Domestic cats also retain the main specializations of all cats toward predationteeth and strong, sharp, retractile claws. The canine teeth stab and hold prey, and the sharp-edged molars function as scissors. The incisors and premolars are hardly functional and do not meet when the mouth is closed. Domestic cats vary a great deal from larger cats in coat as well as size. Male domestic cats may reach 71 cm (28 in.), but 51 cm (21 in.) is a more usual length for females. An alley cat (i.e., a nonpedigreed cat) may weigh up to 13 kg (28 lb), but the weight of most domestic cats varies from 2.5 to 4.5 kg (6 to 10 lb). Most house cats, including the Siamese and Abyssinian, are short-haired, but the Persian has a long, thick coat and mixed breeds vary. A British breed, the Rex, has a curly coat. Domestic cats are usually black, yellow, gray, tabby (dark stripes or swirls on a lighter background), white, or a mixture of these. Tortoiseshell markinga piebald mix of white, black and yellowis normally found only in females. The rare males born with this colour pattern are almost invariably sterile. Siamese cats are distinguished by pale ground colour with darker points (face-mask, ears, feet, and tail). Blue eyes are usually associated with a dilution in coat colour, as in the Siamese. Blue-eyed white cats are frequently deaf. The earliest authenticated record of the domestication of the cat dates from 1500 BC in ancient Egypt, although the cat was proclaimed to be sacred in that country about 1,000 years earlier. The actual domestication of cats probably came about when the Egyptians noticed that cats protected their granaries from rodents. The Egyptians worshipped a goddess with a cat's head (Bast), and thousands of mummified cats have been found. Domestic cats spread to other cultures and were common to Greece and China by 500 BC, and known in India by 100 BC. The first record of domestic cats in Britain dates to AD 936, when a law was passed in Wales for their protection. By the mid-18th century domestic cats were present in the United States. Throughout the ages the cat has been associated with several superstitions and with witchcraft. They often have been regarded as witches' familiars, and black cats have been regarded generally as unlucky omens. Cats are ideal house pets and are easily house-trained. Their size and agility enable them to adjust quickly to small households. They are able to produce three litters in one year. Estrus or heat may occur up to five times a year, during which the female (queen) calls, or yowls, to alert the male (tom). Gestation is about 63 days and an average litter contains four kittens, which are born blind, deaf, and helpless. A simple operation, called spaying, neutering, or fixing, removes a cat's ability to reproduce.

Britannica English vocabulary.      Английский словарь Британика.