Millions of people in the world own a pet, which can also be referred to as a domesticated animal because they live in a person's home and not in the wilderness, and they are trained. It could be a cat, dog, hamster, gerbil, turtle, snake, fish, bird, pig, or many other kinds of animals.
A domesticated animal is not used for food but is often taken care of just like a member of a family. In the United States, about one-third of homes have a pet. In 2012, people in the U.S. owned around 58 million fish, over 3 million rabbits, about 3 million turtles, nearly 8 million birds, almost 5 million horses, and a million each of snakes, lizards, guinea pigs, and hamsters.
However, the domesticated animals or pets people own the most are cats and dogs. In 2012, people in the United States owned about 74,000,000 cats and 70,000,000 dogs. Cats and dogs are interesting animals, but they are not the same, have different histories, and different behaviors and personalities. There are also many different breeds of cats and dogs. A breed is a specific group or kind of a cat or dog. There are many cat breeds and dog breeds.
The most common pet in America is the cat. A cat is also called a feline, its official scientific name. Cats have been in the world for a long time and first became domesticated (tamed) over 4,000 years ago in Ancient Egypt. The Ancient Egyptians used cats to protect their food from pests. The cat had a place of honor, was admired as a hunter, and was worshipped as a god or goddess by the Egyptians. The cat was so important to them if a person killed a cat they could receive the death penalty. Cats that died were also mummified (bodies preserved) before they were buried.
As time passed, the cat became more domesticated and tamed and other civilizations began to own them. They first became popular in Italy and then slowly spread throughout Europe. When people from England came to settle in America, they also brought cats with them as pets. The cat also spread throughout India, China, and Japan. International Cat Day is celebrated throughout the world every October 29th.
Cats have always been popular household pets, though, for a short time, cats were associated with the devil. However, by the 1700s, cats were popular throughout the entire world. Today, there are more than 500 million cats living in the world.
There are many different breeds of cats including the American Bobtail, Shorthair, and Wirehair, Bengal, Burmese, Manx, Persian, Oriental, Sphynx, Siberian, and others. You may also hear the term feral cat, which is not a cat breed, but a cat that will not socialize with people and lives outdoors on its own. There are also stray cats, that do socialize with people but have often been abandoned by owners.
There are many interesting facts about cats. They conserve energy and sleep 13-14 hours per day, usually weigh between 8 to 11 pounds, have powerful night vision, 6 times better than humans, and are great hunters. Cats can live for about 12 to 15 years. A male cat is called a tom and the female is called a molly or queen.
Finally, a group of cats is called a clowder and young newborn cats are referred to as kittens.
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