Sunday, January 04, 2015

Cat

Felis catus or the domestic cat is today's choice. Start close to home (we do have teasel in the garden) and he happened to be close to hand. He and his twin brother are 16 years old now. That's old for a domestic cat: in the US the mean lifespan is around 12 - 13 years, depending on where you live. Interestingly, feline life -expectancy has increased from fewer than ten years in the 1980s. 
Domestication of wild cats is thought to have occurred with the rise of agriculture in the Middle East and not, as is commonly thought, as part of ancient Egyptian culture.



Although they kill millions of birds in the UK, their impact on total populations of various bird species is still uncertain: the number of cats vs the populations of various species does not suggest a causal link. Having said that, a bell on the cat's collar does reduce its success at taking prey and assuages, to some extent, the conscience of an owner who values local wildlife.

One of the biggest worries in the UK is the effect of interbreeding of feral cats on the Scottish wildcat (Felis silvestris) population, which has been reduced through habitat loss. It is estimated that there are fewer than a hundred remaining in the wild and extinction is extremely likely.
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