"Your Guide to Cat Breeds"Written by NS Kennedy
For first 8,000 years of their relationship with humans, cats pretty much took care of their own breeding. People kept them for one purpose - hunting rodent - and they are already perfectly designed for that. More than 100 years ago, however, we began systematically breeding cats to appeal to our aesthetic tastes. Hair length, color, coat pattern, as well as head and leg proportions contribute to "look" of specific breeds.
Look at enough cat bodies and faces, and you'll see two distinctly different types.
Faces are either triangular or rounded. Bodies that are lean and slender belong to lithe oriental, or foreign breeds. Short legs supporting a broad, compact body are characteristic of a "cobby." Mixed breeds usually have an "in between" body type.
There are more than 70 distinct breeds of cats that are recognized by formal cat registries. Some registries recognize only about 40 breeds, because they exclude those such as Bengals which are hybrids of domestic and wild cats. Some "breeds" are simply variations of primary types. For example, a Balinese cat is a longer haired type of Siamese cat.
Some breeds have roots that go far back in history. The Japanese Bobtail, distinguished by a short, rabbit-like tail, can be traced more than 1,000 years. The Egyptian Mau cat retains physical characteristics of ancient Egyptian cats found in ancient paintings.
With an elegant body that is randomly spotted, banded legs and tail, communicative eyes and an ellegant cheetah-like stride, it is no wonder that Mau attracts such a tremendous amount of attention at shows.
Other breeds reflect new aesthetics. Ocicats and Savannah cats are wild-hybrids -- result of breeding wild cats with domestic cats - which fill a desire for some cat lovers to have a "wild" pet. The Cornish Rex, with its soft, wavy coat and curled whiskers, is a dramatic, visual contrast to typical smooth-coated cat. Likewise, "hairless" Sphynx cat is a breed for esoteric cat fancier.
"How to Care for Your Kitten"Written by NS Kennedy
Caring for a kitten is a lot of work. With her high energy and intense curiosity and sense of adventure, raising a kitten will keep you on your toes. Careful attention during first year of life will set a strong foundation for a long, loving relationship with your cat.
Kittens aged 8-12 weeks need four meals a day, 3-6 months three meals, and kittens over 6 months old, two meals.
Follow guidelines on food packaging as to how much to provide in each feeding. Give your kitten both moist and dry food, so she is less likely to become a finicky eater later. When you offer moist food, be sure to pick it up after about 30 minutes. Cats love moist food, but if you let them eat it at their leisure, they will become "lazy" eaters. Limit availability of good stuff, and your kitten will learn to "get it while getting is good." It is a good idea to leave dry food out all day so she can snack on it as she pleases. It is vital that your kitten learn to eat dry kibble, as crunchy food helps keep her teeth and gums healthy.
Your kitten will likely spend a lot of time licking her fur, so you won't need to bathe her. Both she and you will benefit from regular brushing sessions, however. Time spent grooming your kitten gets her used to handling and lets you monitor her health and development. Many kittens are afraid of a brush at first, or think it are a toy. If you are patient and loving, you can teach your young cat to enjoy soothing sensation of being brushed. Cats often mutually groom each other, so by brushing her you are expressing your "love" to her.
While you groom your cat, begin getting her used to having her ears, eyes, mouth and paws handled. Move your hands over her body, restraining her from time to time as you touch and manipulate different body parts. At first you may only be able to touch her lip, but over a period of days and weeks you should be able to lift her lip and touch her gums. When you handle her paws, gently squeeze her toes to extend her claws. This technique you will use later to trim her claws, and sooner you begin getting her used to it less traumatic it will be for both of you.