All felines, be them wild or domesticated, are part of the very same family, the one called Felidae. The domesticated cat comes from a species of small-sized wild cats, called Felis Silvestris. The only feline which lives in packs is the lion. All the other felines are solitary hunters, they rather live on their own than go for a community life. Another interesting and unusual fact about cats is that their heart can beat two times faster than the human heart. Thus, a cat's heart can beat 240 times/minute. Felines also have a faster metabolism, and therefore their heart needs more oxygen. It's the very rhythm of the heart that requires this.
According to some experts, cats were initially domesticated 4000 years ago in Egypt, when people noticed how good cats were at catching mice that fed on their stored cereals. It's a generally known fact that cats were worshiped in ancient Egypt, but few people know that cats also enjoyed a lot of attention in Rome, too. Romans believed that the cat was the god of freedom, and it was the only animal which was allowed to enter Roman temples. Cats were brought in 54 BC by Julius Caesar's troopes to Britannia. When Britannia allied with Gallia, i.e. with nowadays France, to fight the Romans who had brought cats as mascots for their fight, cats spread all over the European continent.
The first cat cartoon was created in 1910 by George Herriman in his comic book entitled "Krazy Kat", created for the New York Evening Journal. Cats are said to live for about 14-15 years. But still there are cases in which cats live a lot much longer. Such was the case of "Crème Puff", the oldest female cat which lived in Austin, Texas, and died of old age in 2005, when she was no less than 38 years old. There is also a male example of long-living cat. Its name was "Puss" and it lived in Devon, England. Puss died in 1939, at the age of 36.
Another interesting cat-related thing is that whereas in most countries black cats crossing one's path are believed to bring bad luck, in the UK it's quite the opposite, meaning black cats are said to bring people good fortune.
No matter how sweet they can be, cats never ever eat chocolate. In fact, even small dose of chocolate can be fatal for the poor creatures. Chocolate contains a substance cats are unable to metabolize, called "theobromine". This chocolate component is a heart-stimulant and also has diuretic properties. Therefore, it may cause the cat's pulse to go excessively up and the heart to lose any control over its rhythm.
The popular cat exhibitions and cat beauty contests may seem quite natural for us nowadays. However, the very first cat exhibition took place a very long time ago, in 1871 at the Crystal Palace in London. The Victorian audiences were very much interested in exhibitions, so thousands of people came to see the cats back then.
Cats are quite good for people, especially for loners. Thus, cats are said to take away negative emotions and feelings from people. According to researches, cats offer affection and attention, and when we pet them and spoil them, they can help us get rid of stress, anxiety, tension and frustration. As it has already been mentioned here, ancient Egyptians paid a lot of attention to this animal category. In fact, they suffered so much after the death of a cat that the whole family used to shave their eyebrows as a sign of mourning for their beloved lost animal. Also, if a house was on fire, the very first creature to be saved from the flames had to be the cat, before any attempt to put down the fire. Anyone who killed a cat was sentenced to death.
"Kitty Litter" bedding for the cat's litter box made its inventor enormously rich. Edward Lowe invented it in 1947 and in 1990 he sold his business for no less than $200,000,000. There are also many cat-related legends. One of them says that upon the birth of Jesus Christ there was a cat which kept Baby Jesus warm in the manger, and in order to reward the animal, Virgin Mary gave the Tabby cat its distinctive mark.