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The Domestic Cat, The Biology of its Behavior.

The Domestic Cat

The Domestic Cat is more technical but equally fascinating. The development of the cat, from infancy to adulthood, explains much about its relationship to other species. Although predatory behavior is natural, cats need a mother's example in early life to develop these intrinsic skills. Kittens who adopt rats, rabbits, and other "natural enemies" as siblings are usually those who have been "deprived" of maternal guidance, the investigators say.

Cat owners are quite aware that their pets have highly individualistic personalities. Some are exceptionally bright, some dullwitted. Some are born with tranquil dispositions, others are fidgety, nervous, and quick to react with hostility. Genetics play a determining part, the book maintains. Not unlike humans, characteristics can be charted and observed in family heredity.

Behavior patterns vary, but one factor is significant in all cats. How they are treated by their handlers will determine their reactions to both intimates and strangers. Abused cats, like other animals, seldom overcome their initial trauma throughout their lifetime. Too often, disciplinarians inflict severity upon animals, in the manner that they would reprimand a child, not realizing that the creature does not have human understanding and probably cannot relate cause with effect.

Why do cats "make faces?" The editors of the book explain that cats grimace because they have three organs for sensing chemical stimuli. After sampling, the cat usually licks its nose. The process follows a routine of investigation, and interpreting.

The cat is more social than people suppose. It is sensitive to people's behavior, but may not react in the manners attributed to humans, Turner and Bateson conclude.
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Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 22, 1990
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