Cats – the most popular pets in the world. It is estimated that 17% of households in the UK own a pet cat, with a total population of approximately 8.5 million (Pet Food Manufacturers Association 2015). They were domesticated around 9000 years ago. They were originally valued most for their ability to hunt vermin, but more recently have been promoted to being family members and valued companions.
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they must have a predominantly meat component to their diets. Some of their essential amino acids are only found in meat (e.g. taurine), and a lack of this can lead to severe heart disease.
Cats are predators, but they are also prey animals and as such are always on the alert for danger. The like to sit on high places to observe their surroundings in safety, and will seek out places to hide away if they are afraid. Cats enjoy play that mimics their hunting behaviour, chasing, pouncing, stalking. Play with string should be done with care due to the risk of the cat eating the string, which can cause serious internal problems.
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