How Cats Work

By: Joy H. Montgomery

Feline Fanatics

The Egyptians were perhaps the first to immortalize the cat in paintings and statues, and many elevated the cat to godlike status. So how did the cat lose its status as a revered idol? During the Middle Ages, many believed cats to be witches in disguise or Satan's tool, and unfortunately, that myth continues to haunt cats to this day. In more recent times, portrayals like that of the sinister Siamese cats in Disney's "Lady and the Tramp" continue to perpetuate the idea that cats are mean or planning world domination.

Fortunately for cats, there are true feline enthusiasts who are crazy about this species. For proof, look no farther than a cat show. The first cat show took place in 1871 in London, and the United States soon followed, with the first official cat show taking place in New York City's Madison Square Garden in 1895 [source: The Cat Handbook]. Soon after, organizations like the Cat Fanciers Association were founded, and now more than 400 cat shows are held annually throughout the United States.


In recent years, trends in cat couture and kitschy kitty toys have grown tenfold. Would you buy a wig for your cat? Many cat lovers are willing to shell out big bucks for wigs, clothing and high-end kitty condos. In addition, cats have become Internet sensations thanks to Web sites like, and viral videos like the Keyboard Cat. The "crazy cat lady" is no longer the poster child for introverts, and cat lovers from all walks of life, including men, are proud to call their felines loyal friends. In fact, the cat's quirky attitude and funny behaviors make it the perfect muse for an entire new generation of artists and enthusiasts, which is why it's so easy to understand how the cat came to be America's most popular pet.

Related Articles

More Great Links


  • American Bird Conservancy. "Domestic Cat Predation on Birds and Other Wildlife." (June 8, 2010)
  • American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. "2009-2010 National Pet Owners Survey." (June 7, 2010)
  • American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "Pet Care Costs." (June 7, 2010)
  • American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "Pet Overpopulation in the United States." (June 10, 2010)
  • Bessant, Claire; Viner, Bradley; Cutts, Paddy. "Cat -- The Complete Guide." Team Media Limited. 1999.
  • Bonham, Margaret; Coile, D. Caroline. "Why Do Cats Bury Their Poop?: More Than 200 Feline Facts, Fallacies and Foibles Revealed" Sterling Publishing. Published 2008.
  • Case, Linda P. "The Cat: Its Behavior, Nutrition and Health" Blackwell Publishing. 2003.
  • Cat Fanciers Association. (June 7, 2010)
  • Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. "Choosing and Caring for Your New Cat." May 16, 2009. (June 10, 2010)
  • Cornell University Department of Animal Science. "Common Cat Toxicities." March 2009. (June 8, 2010)
  • Dabritz, H.A.; Conrad, P.A. "Cats and Toxoplasma: Implications for Public Health." Zoonoses and Public Health. Volume 57. Issue 1. Page 34-52. Sept. 10, 2009. (June 6, 2010)
  • Driscoll, Carlos; Clutton-Brock, Juliet; Kitchener, Andrew; O'Brien, Stephen. "The Evolution of House Cats." Scientific American. June 2009. (June 5, 2010)
  • Davis, Karen Leigh. "The Cat Handbook." Barron's. Published 2000.
  • Duno, Steve. "The Only Cat Book You'll Ever Need: The Essentials for Staying One Step Ahead of Your Feline." F+W Publications, Inc. 2005.
  • Frazier, Anitra; Eckroate, Norma. "The Natural Cat: The Comprehensive Guide to Optimum Care" The Penguin Group. 2008.
  • Humane Society of the United States. "Cat Care Essentials." Nov. 23, 2009 (June 17, 2010)
  • Humane Society of the United States. "Pet Ownership Statistics." Dec. 30, 2009. (June 5, 2010)
  • Landsberg, Gary; Hunthausen, Wayne L.; Ackerman, Lowell J. "Handbook of Behavior Problems of the Dog and Cat, Volume 1." Elsevier Saunders. 2003.
  • National Research Council. "Nutrient Requirements of Cats and Dogs."
  • Occupational Safety & Health Administration. "Silica, Crystalline Fact Sheet." Sept. 22, 2009. (June 7, 2010)
  • Schultz, Jacque. "9 Feline Myths." Petfinder. (June 10, 2010)
  • Turner, Dennis C.; Bateson, Patrick. "The Domestic Cat: The Biology of Its Behaviour." Cambridge University Press. 2000.
  • University of California - Davis. "Cats' Family Tree Rooted In Fertile Crescent, Study Confirms." Jan. 28, 2008. (June 8, 2010)
  • Washington State University. "Anatomy of the Cat." Jan. 5, 2009. (June 8, 2010)