She is the animal that has nine lives. The elegance of nature is caught in an exceptional body and a way of life. She is a delicate beauty and killing machine at the same time, an agile and skillful hunter, but also a sleepy and lazy princess. She cannot be manipulated, but she clearly shows what she wants. Yes, she is the domestic cat or Felis catus.
With the help of sensitive whiskers, these elegant beauties can sense different objects and feel their way around at dusk. Also known as tactile hairs or vibrissae, each cat usually has eight to twelve whiskers on either side of her nose; however, tactile hairs can also be found above her eyes.
Throughout evolution, the body of a cat has been formed and adjusted for climbing, long jumps and safe landings on her feet. The heart deprives her of longer curious expeditions. Due to its smallness, cats become tired very quickly, which is why they nap and sleep most of their life – usually about sixteen hours per day.
Her legs are long and slim. Each finger has a claw the cat is able to extend and retract when hunting or climbing. Cats also sharpen their claws and keep them just long and sharp enough.
The tail works as her navigation and it also helps keep the cat balanced when climbing and running. Moreover, it is also used for communicating and territorial marking.
Cat’s sense of smell is thirty times more sensitive than the human’s. She uses it to check out food and sense the smells of other relatives and surroundings.
Her eyes are the eyes of a predator, located on the left and right side of the face. Consequently, it is easier for cats to determine the location and distance of their prey. Their eyes are also adapted to an active nightlife. Due to the elliptic shape of the pupils and lenses, their eyes are able to collect a greater amount of light. Moreover, the cat’s eyes also have a thin layer of reflective cells just behind the area at the back of the eyeball that gathers up light.
An extraordinary hearing and no less than thirty-two ear muscles help cats when hunting, avoiding predators and communicating; they can even hear ultrasound. Interestingly, these skillful hunters are not so good at hearing lower tones, which is why they respond better to women voices.
Photography: Ines Suljić
Text: Simon Cirkulan, prof. chem. and biol.