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Cats, both wild and domestic, are presented in this beautiful full-color book featuring hundreds of facts about your favorite felines. It was probably the Ancient Egyptians, 5,000 years ago, who first recognized the value of cats - encouraging the animals into their homes and grain stores to keep rats and mice at bay. It did not take long for the rest of mankind to fall for the charms of the cat, and cats have been part of our lives almost continuously ever since. In addition to being quiet, clean and efficient hunters of vermin, cats have proved to be playful, intelligent and affectionate companions, too. This book describes the origins and characteristics of the cat, its evolution from wild animal to perfect pet, and at the same time places it in its historical and cultural contexts. The book then goes on to provide valuable advice and guidance about all aspects of cat ownership and care, including choosing a cat and keeping it healthy. All major breeds recognized by the international cat fancies are featured, with information on temperament and special grooming requirements to help the would-be owner choose the ideal cat companion. The book is illustrated with over 400 color photographs.