Cats, like dogs, walk directly on their toes, with the bones of their feet making up the lower part of the visible leg. On the inside of the front paws there is something which looks like a sixth «finger». The cat on the right is fed up with the cat on the left and this is a semi-serious warning. The stripes on this standard tabby cat help it hide in long grass and bushes. While dogs have great stamina and will chase prey over long distances, cats are extremely fast, but only over short distances. The cat creeps towards a chosen victim, keeping its body flat and near to the ground so that it cannot be seen easily, until it is close enough for a rapid dash or pounce. Cats are quiet and well-behaved animals, making them popular pets.
They can easily entertain themselves with a variety of store-bought or homemade toys. House cats have also been known to teach themselves to use lever-type doorknobs and toilet handles. They can look after themselves and do not need as much attention as dogs do. The whole shape of the body changes when a cat is relaxed, or when it is alert. Also, the position of their ears and tail are used for communication, as well as their usual functions. These ways of communication are very important. They are used between a mother cat and her kittens.
A mother cat protecting her kittens will fight off the largest dog. She gives good warning with a frightening display, hissing furiously, showing her claws, arching her back, and making her hair stand on end. It has been said that no dog ever tries such an attack a second time. Cats only mate when the queen is «in heat». Heat periods occur about every two weeks and last 4 to 6 days. Mating in cats is a spectacular event. Several toms may be attracted to a queen in heat.
The males will fight over her, and the victor wins the right to mate. At first, the female will reject the male, but eventually the female will allow the male to mate. The female will utter a loud yowl as the male pulls out of her. If a male attempts to breed with her at this point, the female will attack him. After about 20 to 30 minutes. A queen may mate with more than one tom when she is in heat, and different kittens in a litter may have different fathers.
The cycle ceases when the queen is pregnant. Females can have two to three litters per year, so might produce up to 150 kittens in their breeding life of about ten years. The queen finds the safest place she can. Then she will clean it thoroughly, with her tongue, if necessary. Here she will quietly give birth. She licks the newborn kits clean. In the wild, leaving a scent is risking a dangerous encounter with other animals.
After two weeks or so, their eyes open. At that stage they have blue eyes, but not the best sight. A bit later, the best developed kit will totter out of the nest. They will soon recognise you as a living thing: that is a great moment. At first, they go back to the nest to feed and sleep. After some more days they leave the nest for good, but still they may sleep together in a ‘kitten heap’.
Unlike the tom, she covers up her business to hide her scent. Very soon, the kits will urinate anywhere they please unless one trains them. This is done after they are weaned, when they are ready for some kitten food. Prepare clean cat tray filled with absorbent grit. Give kittens their special kitten food. Take the lead kitten right after it has eaten, place it in your cat tray. Gently stroke its tummy with one finger. Watch as kitten sits down promptly and urinates. Do same for other kits. Repeat next time if they need it. They will not need a third time. What you have done is exactly what the queen would do in the wild. The thing is, the tray is artificial, and your queen may do her business outside. But at least when young, kittens need a tray. Your next job is to call the vet, who will tell you when to bring the kits for their vaccination.