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Throughout history, mankind has had a fascination with cats. They are beautiful and mysterious, and make relatively easy-to-care for pets. Today cats have become popular pets all over the world, fitting into our lifestyles with ease. Domestic cats today still have many characteristics from their wild ancestors, from their body shape, feeding and grooming habits, to how they play and interact with each other.

Cats were first domesticated about 4000 years ago by the ancient Egyptians. The cat was revered as a hunter, and cats were worshipped as gods and goddesses. The death penalty was imposed on anyone who killed a cat. Other ancient civilizations began to domesticate the cat and took tame felines to Italy. From there they spread slowly throughout Europe. They arrived in the New World with the Pilgrims. Short-haired domestic cats spread across the world from Egypt while long-haired cats came a bit later from Turkey and Iran.

Currently, the non-pedigree domestic cat is the most popular housepet (of the cats) today. There are 36 recognized breeds of pedigree cats around the world, with the Siamese being the most popular of those.

Some facts about cats:

* Stroking a cat can help relieve stress and lower blood pressure.

* A cat has 230 bones. Humans have 206.

* Cats see approximately 6 times better in the dark than humans.

* Ailurophile is the official term for a cat lover.

* Purring does not always indicate comfort and happiness. Cats will also purr loudly when distressed or in pain.

* When a cat rubs against you, the cat is marking you with its scent.

* Milk can give cats diarrhea.

* The average lifespan of an outdoor cat is only 3-5 years. The average lifespan of an indoor cat is 16 years or greater.

* A domestic cat can run at speeds of up to 30 miles an hour.

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