The domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus or Felis catus) is a small, typically furry, carnivorous mammal. They are often called house cats when kept as indoor pets or simply cats when there is no need to distinguish them from other felids and felines. They are often valued by humans for companionship and for their ability to hunt vermin. There are more than seventy cat breeds recognized by various cat registries.
Cats are similar in anatomy to the other felids, with a strong flexible body, quick reflexes, sharp retractable claws and teeth adapted to killing small prey. Cat senses fit a crepuscular and predatory ecological niche. Cats can hear sounds too faint or too high in frequency for human ears, such as those made by mice and other small animals. They can see in near darkness. Like most other mammals, cats have poorer color vision and a better sense of smell than humans. Cats, despite being solitary hunters, are a social species, and cat communication includes the use of a variety of vocalizations (mewing, purring, trilling, hissing, growling and grunting) as well as cat pheromones and types of cat-specific body language.
Cats have a high breeding rate. Under controlled breeding, they can be bred and shown as registered pedigree pets. Failure to control the breeding of pet cats by spaying and neutering, as well as the abandonment of former household pets, has resulted in large numbers of feral cats worldwide, requiring population control. In certain areas outside cats’ native range, this has contributed, along with habitat destruction and other factors, to the extinction of many bird species. Cats have been known to extirpate a bird species within specific regions and may have contributed to the extinction of isolated island populations.Cats are thought to be primarily responsible for the extinction of 87 species of birds, and the presence of feral and free-ranging cats makes some otherwise suitable locations unsuitable for attempted species reintroduction.
Because cats were venerated in ancient Egypt, they were commonly believed to have been domesticated there, but there may have been instances of domestication as early as the Neolithic from around 9,500 years ago (7500 BC). A genetic study in 2007 concluded that all domestic cats are descended from Near Eastern wildcats, having diverged around 8000 BC in the Middle East. A 2016 study found that leopard cats were undergoing domestication independently in China around 5500 BC, though this line of partially domesticated cats leaves no trace in the domesticated populations of today. A2017 study confirmed that domestic cats are descendants of those first domesticated by farmers in the Near East around 9,000 years ago. According to a 2007 study, cats are the second-most popular pet in the U.S. by number of pets owned, behind freshwater fish. In a 2010 study, they were ranked the third-most popular pet in the UK, after fish and dogs, with around 8 million being owned. (Cats own you).
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) was founded in 1969, in initial efforts to stop the commercial hunt for seal pups on the east coast of Canada. The International Fund for Animal Welfare has offices in 15 countries, and projects in more than 40 IFAW is one of the largest animal welfare organisations in the world.
Activities of the IFAW include
- collaborating with elephant and rhino orphanages in Zambia, Zimbabwe and India, where the focus is on rescue, rehabilitation, release, and post-release monitoring and protection.
tenBoma is IFAW’s counter-poaching initiative in Kenya, as featured on NBC’s Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly and PBS NewsHour.
- IFAW’s Wildlife Crime program works to reduce demand for wildlife products, wildlife cybercrime and live animal exploitation and trafficking around the world.
- IFAW’s Marine Mammal Rescue and Research group (MMRR) is a team of scientists, veterinarians and other individuals committed to promoting the conservation of marine mammal species (dolphins, whales, porpoises, and seals) and their habitats. Cape Cod is a hot spot for mass stranding activity, and the team is called on for expertise in global events as well.
- IFAW introduced The Meet Us Don’t Eat Us campaign to promote whale watching, as an alternative to whale hunting in Iceland.
- IFAW aims to protect the last 400 critically endangered North Atlantic right whales and has developed acoustic detection systems, collaborated with lobstermen, commercial fishers and shipping industries to prevent collisions with ships and gear entanglements; and advocated for greater legislation to protect the species.
- IFAW trains customs officers, game wardens and law enforcers in many countries to prevent the killing of endangered species, Through its DISRUPT wildlife crime prevention program,
- IFAW protects elephants by protecting critical elephant habitats, managing human-elephant conflict, preventing poaching, ending illegal ivory trade and rescuing orphan and injured elephants.
- IFAW Carries out legislative and educational campaigns across the globe. This is an effort to try to prevent cruelty to animals, preserve endangered species, and protect wildlife habitats.
- IFAW has a leading role in the campaigns to end the commercial seal hunt in Canada and end commercial whaling, as well as its work to help dogs and cats in impoverished communities, protect elephants, end illegal ivory trade,rescue and release of wild animals such orphan rhinos and rescue of animals in the wake of disasters such as hurricane Katrina in the US.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare attracted Controversy and criticism after A financial manager of the Brian Davies Foundation, IFAW invested IFAW’s money in organizations that carried out animal experiments, such as Bausch & Lomb, US Surgicals, Glaxo, Merck, Abbot, Upjohn, Philip Morris and McDonald’s. When the investment was drawn to the attention of IFAW’s trustees, the shares were sold immediately and the financial manager dismissed. When Davies retired from IFAW in 1997 to start Network For Animals, IFAW established a payment schedule to use his name and image for fundraising and campaigns. The contract was important for the continued level of success that IFAW achieved with Davies’ leadership, according to research on successful animal welfare organizations”. Davies had the following to say about it: “I signed an agreement with IFAW which was conceived by the trustees. I was opposed to the idea of receiving remuneration from two animal welfare organisations; this solution allowed me to run Network For Animals without pay for seven years.”