Torso of a Male from Cyprus

Torso of a Male from Cyprus

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History of nationality in Cyprus

A de facto republic where Greek and Turkish Cypriots share many customs but maintain distinct identities based on religion, language, and close ties with their respective "motherlands", Cyprus is an island with a highly complex history of nationality due to its bi-communal nature and the ongoing conflict between the two groups. An internationally recognized region, Cyprus is partitioned into four main parts under effective control of the Republic of Cyprus, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (recognized only by Turkey), the UN-controlled Green Line, and British bases Akrotiri and Dhekelia respectively. Despite its history of conflict, the Green Line is now open and neighborly relationships are being fostered between the two groups.

Human body

From the longest fingernails to the tallest man, check out the incredible people whose unique talents and physical attributes have earned them a Guinness World Records title.

Longest fingernails on a pair of hands (female)

View this record Longest fingernails on a pair of hands (female)

Stretchiest skin

Garry Turner (UK) is able to stretch the skin of his stomach to a distended length of 15.8 cm (6.25&hellip

View this record Stretchiest skin

Shortest woman - living (mobile)

The shortest woman living (mobile) is Jyoti Amge (India, born 16 Dec 1993), who measured 62.8 cm (24&hellip

View this record Shortest woman - living (mobile)

Widest mouth - unstretched

The widest mouth measures 17 cm (6.69 in) and belongs to Francisco Domingo Joaquim "Chiquinho"&hellip

View this record Widest mouth - unstretched

Most wins at the World Beard/Moustache Championships

The most wins at the World Beard and Moustache Championships is 8 and was achieved by Karl-Heinz&hellip

View this record Most wins at the World Beard/Moustache Championships

Longest moustache (ever)

The longest moustache measures 4.29 m (14 ft) and belongs to Ram Singh Chauhan (India). It was&hellip

View this record Longest moustache (ever)

Tallest married couple living

The tallest married couple is Sun Mingming and his wife Xu Yan (both China) who measure 236.17 cm (7&hellip

View this record Tallest married couple living

Heaviest birth - triplets (current)

The heaviest triplets at birth (current) are Evan Patrick, Aiden Cole and Lilly Kathryn (all USA),&hellip

View this record Heaviest birth - triplets (current)

Heaviest competitive male bodybuilder - ever

The heaviest competitive male bodybuilder is Daniele Seccarecci (Italy) whose competition weight is&hellip

View this record Heaviest competitive male bodybuilder - ever

Farthest eyeball pop

Kim Goodman (USA) can pop her eyeballs to a protrusion of 12 mm (0.47 in) beyond her eye sockets.&hellip

View this record Farthest eyeball pop

Tallest man ever

The tallest man in medical history for whom there is irrefutable evidence is Robert Pershing Wadlow&hellip

View this record Tallest man ever

Longest nose on a living person

The longest nose on a living person measures 8.8 cm (3.46 in) from the bridge to the tip and belongs&hellip

View this record Longest nose on a living person

Shortest married couple

The shortest married couple are Paulo Gabriel da Silva Barros (Brazil) and Katyucia Lie Hoshino&hellip

View this record Shortest married couple

Most cosmetic procedures

Cindy Jackson (USA) has spent $99,600 (£53,148) on 47 cosmetic procedures, including nine full-scale&hellip

View this record Most cosmetic procedures

Largest feet on a living person (male)

The largest feet on a living person are 40.55 cm (1 ft 3.96 in) right foot, and 40.47 cm (1 ft 3.93&hellip

View this record Largest feet on a living person (male)

Most flesh tunnels (face)

The most flesh tunnels in the face is 11 and was achieved by Joel Miggler (Germany) as verified in&hellip

View this record Most flesh tunnels (face)

Hairiest teenager

View this record Hairiest teenager

Longest fingernails on a pair of hands (female) - ever

The longest fingernails belonged to Lee Redmond (USA), who started to grow them in 1979 and&hellip

View this record Longest fingernails on a pair of hands (female) - ever

Heaviest twins (male)

Billy Leon (1946–79) and Benny Loyd (1946 - 2001) McCrary, alias McGuire (USA), were normal in size&hellip

View this record Heaviest twins (male)

Youngest female with a full beard

The youngest female with a full beard is Harnaam Kaur (UK, b. 29 November 1990), aged 24 years 282&hellip

People and Society



noun: Cypriot(s)

adjective: Cypriot

Ethnic groups

Greek 98.8%, other 1% (includes Maronite, Armenian, Turkish-Cypriot), unspecified 0.2% (2011 est.)

note: data represent only the Greek-Cypriot citizens in the Republic of Cyprus


Greek (official) 80.9%, Turkish (official) 0.2%, English 4.1%, Romanian 2.9%, Russian 2.5%, Bulgarian 2.2%, Arabic 1.2%, Filipino 1.1%, other 4.3%, unspecified 0.6% (2011 est.)

note: data represent only the Republic of Cyprus


Orthodox Christian 89.1%, Roman Catholic 2.9%, Protestant/Anglican 2%, Muslim 1.8%, Buddhist 1%, other (includes Maronite, Armenian Church, Hindu) 1.4%, unknown 1.1%, none/atheist 0.6% (2011 est.)

note: data represent only the government-controlled area of Cyprus

Age structure

0-14 years: 15.69% (male 102,095/female 96,676)

15-24 years: 12.29% (male 84,832/female 70,879)

25-54 years: 47.12% (male 316,710/female 280,167)

55-64 years: 11.92% (male 72,476/female 78,511)

65 years and over: 12.97% (male 71,053/female 93,277) (2020 est.)

Population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 44.9

youth dependency ratio: 24

elderly dependency ratio: 20.9

potential support ratio: 4.8 (2020 est.)

note: data represent the whole country

Median age

total: 37.9 years

male: 36.7 years

female: 39.4 years (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

Birth rate

10.76 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

Death rate

6.9 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

Net migration rate

7.29 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

Population distribution

population concentrated in central Nicosia and in the major cities of the south: Paphos, Limassol, and Larnaca


urban population: 66.9% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 0.76% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

269,000 NICOSIA (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.2 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.13 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female

total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

note: data represent only government-controlled areas

Maternal mortality rate

6 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 8.61 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 10.45 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 6.67 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 79.51 years

male: 76.7 years

female: 82.46 years (2021 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.48 children born/woman (2021 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure

Physicians density

1.95 physicians/1,000 population (2016)

Hospital bed density

3.4 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

total: 1% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 541,000 tons (2015 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 72,007 tons (2015 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 13.3% (2015 est.)

DNA Suggests Viking Women Were Powerful Warriors

An elaborate Viking Age grave in Sweden holds the remains of a decorated female warrior from the 10th century, providing the first archaeological evidence that women held high-status positions in Viking culture.

The remarkable find was revealed in a study by researchers at Stockholm and Uppsala Universities and published in the American Journal of Anthropology. Their DNA analysis of the skeleton confirmed that the individual was a woman older than 30 years old, who stood somewhere around 5 feet 6 inches tall.

Several weapons were buried alongside the body, including a sword, armor-piercing arrows, a battle knife, an axe, a spear and two shields, indicating that the skeleton was likely that ofਊ warrior. Accompanying the wide array of weapons were two horses and a full set of game pieces and a gaming board. The gaming pieces suggest that the person buried was a high-ranking combatant who was knowledgeable of strategies and tactics.

“This is the first formal and genetic confirmation of a female Viking warrior,” said Professor Mattias Jakobsson in a report by Uppsala University.

VIDEO: Viking Women – In Viking society, women enjoyed a surprising degree of autonomy and independence.

Legends of ferocious female warriors appear in Scandinavian lore and poetry from the Middle Ages. Stories of similar warriors have been told in the modern era too, for example Lagertha on the HISTORY series Vikings , but the existence of warrior women in Viking culture has consistently been challenged in official histories, with women often relegated to non-combatant roles.

This common assumption was also the reason why this landmark discovery was initially overlooked. The grave was originally uncovered in the late 19thꃎntury by Swedish archaeologist Hjalmar Stople, and initially seemed like many others found in the Swedish city of Birka, a trading hub for Vikings.

As Viking warriors were all assumed to be male, the trove of weapons and paraphernalia found with the skeleton seemed to leave little question as to the sex of the fighter. It wasn’t until Stockholm University osteologist Anna Kjellström reviewed the skeleton as part of another project that she noticed the bones’ structure suggested that the unknown Viking may have been a woman.

Kjellström’s theory turned out to be true. A DNA sample was taken from a tooth and an arm of the skeleton, revealing no Y chromosomes were present.

Illustration by Evald Hansen based on the original plan of grave Bj 581 by excavator Hjalmar Stolpe published in 1889. (Credit: Wiley Online Library/The Authors American Journal of Physical Anthropology Published by Wiley Periodicals Inc./CC BY 4.0)

This isn’t the first Viking grave to contain both weapons and female remains, the study explains. It is, however, the first to present overwhelming evidence that the weapons and paraphernalia found beside a skeleton belonged to the woman who occupied the grave. Viking burial rites were unique but fairly consistent, and warriors were often buried beside their possessions. These possessions਌ould range from their weapons or, in some cases, the women that they took as slaves. As a result, female remains have been found in Viking graves.

Cyprus elects its 1st-ever female parliament speaker

NICOSIA, Cyprus -- Lawmakers in Cyprus on Thursday elected a woman to the country's second most powerful political post for the first time since its founding as an independent republic in 1960.

Annita Demetriou was elected parliamentary speaker on the second ballot with 25 votes in the 56-seat parliament. The choice seen as a major step in leveling the political playing field for women in the divided eastern Mediterranean island, who have been traditionally under-represented in politics.

The 35-year-old lawmaker said that she assumes the post “with a deep sense of responsibility" and pledged to work with “impartiality and objectivity."

Political leaders and colleagues praised Demetriou, the only female among other six other male rivals for the position.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said he’s “particularly pleased” with Demetriou’s election because a woman now holds the country’s most powerful political post behind the presidency.

“What's most important is that a strong message is being sent out to all women of Cyprus, to all citizens of Cyprus, that women can and must strive for such positions because they deserve them," Anastasiades told reporters.

Demetriou belongs to the center-right Democratic (DISY) Party that Anastasiades previously led for many years.

There have been a number of notable female politicians in the country's 61-year history since gaining independence from British colonial rule. But the proportion of women to men holding top positions has been dismal.

In last month’s parliamentary election, only eight women were elected in the 56-seat body — three less than in its previous composition.

Anastasiades’ has three female ministers in his 15-member Cabinet and hinted to reporters that he may appoint more women during an reshuffle expected shortly, saying the election was also “a message also directed at me."

Demetriou for the last five years served in a senior legislative position as parliamentary secretary.

First elected to parliament in 2016, Demetriou, who earned a graduate degree from Britain's University of Kent also served as deputy chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Equal Opportunities between Men and Women and the Parliamentary Committee on Education and Culture.

Reader Interactions


Tammy says

This article was in the Winter 2016 Journal and listed Veronica Tilden, DO as the author. Why does it list Sally Fallon Morell as the author on the website version of the article “Restoring Male Fertility”?

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Strange things happen when you do a major upgrade to a website. Thanks for letting us know.

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Inside the World of Istanbul’s Male Belly Dancers

When Segah dances, everybody cheers. His hips slope then shake the muscles on his stomach vibrate with the coin belt across his loins. The drumbeat speeds up. The glitter on his chest and the gold band around his neck catch the spotlight, reflecting its glare back to the hundreds of audience members – men and women alike – craning their necks to the stage.

The lights dim. He blows a kiss. He puts his hand on his heart. He bows.

Here at Chanta Music, a gaudy, velvet-lined nightclub off Istanbul's high-octane Istiklal Street, belly dancing – and the adulation its admirers confer – is not limited to women. Segah – who performs under his first name only – is a self-described zenne, one of several male dancers in Turkey's largest city to earn his living performing what Turks refer to as “Oriental dance,” adopting traditionally female costume, roles and postures and adapting them to the tastes of an urban, socially liberal audience.

Male belly dancing is hardly a new phenomenon in Turkey. Most zenne dancers date the practice back to the Sultan's court in the final centuries of the Ottoman Empire, when women were largely prohibited from performing onstage. Much as how boys would play women’s parts in Elizabethan Shakespeare, young men – generally ethnic Greeks, Armenians, or Romani, drawn, often unwillingly, from the Empire's non-Muslim population – would be trained as dancers, adopt androgynous or feminine attire and makeup, and – in many cases – moonlight as paid courtesans to noblemen.

In traditional Ottoman practice, the terminology of “gay” and “straight” was largely absence from discourse, as explained by scholar Serkan Görkemli. Sexuality was more customarily defined as a matter of status/rank and sexual role. A higher-ranking nobleman would as a matter of course define himself as an active or penetrative sexual partner, one who would under other circumstances sleep with women a zenne dancer would be expected to take on a more so-caled “feminine” sexual and social role. Regardless of whether or not sexual relations between dancers and their spectators took place, however, zenne dancing (and the watching thereof) was considered part of “mainstream” masculine culture..

But after the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of the secularist Ataturk government – which saw it as its mission to “Westernize” Turkey – zenne dancing, and its often-complicated sexual politics, fell out of favor.

And so zenne lingered, mostly surviving in rural areas, including Turkey's more religiously conservative Eastern provinces of Turkey. There, zennes frequently perform (without a sexual element) for straight-identified male audiences says filmmaker Mehmet Binay, whose 2012 feature Zenne Dancer explores the friendship between an Istanbul zenne dancer, a German photographer, and a gay “bear” from the conservative Urfa province.

“[In the East, zenne dancing] would not happen in a restaurant, would not happen in a wedding. It would happen in a closed house, [with] ten, 12 men sitting around drinking and [watching] a male dancer,” says Binay. Participating in traditional Eastern dance, he says, was something done by men and women alike. “We all belly dance at some point – even straight men – at least, we used to.”

Back when Binay and his collaborator Caner Alper started researching zenne in 2006, they saw it as a “vanishing culture” – found only in rural areas and in a few underground gay clubs in Istanbul.

“We are very much under the influence of Western entertainment and culture and show business,” says Binay. “Oriental” dance is no longer as popular in Turkey as it once was. Even among Istanbul's sizable gay community, for whom zenne dancing might have particular resonance, “people would rather watch drag shows or go-go boys. Male belly dancing was something [from] the past.”

But in the past half-decade, zenne dancing in Istanbul has gone mainstream: bolstered by the media attention paid to Binay and Alper's film as well as the success of gay crossover clubs like Chanta: which cater their zenne shows to a largely heterosexual, female clientele. “Zenne dancers were on the verge of extinction,” says Alper, “but now they're back again. When we used to Google zenne, we'd find a few people – now there are like hundreds. Then, [the word zenne] was an insult, now it's. ”

“Fashionable,” Binay chimes in.

“Yes, fashionable. The sort of male belly dancing we see in contemporary clubs has actually evolved. It's no longer just Oriental belly dancing. It's become something else.”

The increased popularity of zenne dancing has been a boon for dancers like Segah, who has been performing at Chanta for two years, and been featured on television programs across Turkey and in Cyprus.

Like many zenne dancers, Segah learned his art in a family setting, rather than from a formal teacher. “[Growing up], whenever my sister was doing housework she'd have music on in the background and she'd be dancing. Dancing was part of our daily routine.”

His mother was a cabaret singer, and when he went to Istanbul nightclubs to watch her, he'd often witness female belly dancers performing. “I always imagined myself dancing like them – wondering what it would be like to dance like that,” he says. When he was 15 or 16, a friend encouraged him to start dancing publicly, but the only work he could find was in a seedy gay nightclub in Istanbul's Aksaray district. “I was dancing with nothing but a coin belt on,” he says, “but once they paid me, I used that money to buy my first costume.”

Like many gay Turkish men, Segah found a degree of freedom in Istanbul – with its active, out gay community – that does not necessarily exist outside the city. While the Turkish government does not criminalize homosexuality – nor does it provide LGBT individuals with any formal protection from discrimination – cultural attitudes toward homosexuality are largely negative according to a 2011 poll conducted as part of the World Values Survey, a full 84 percent of Turks identified gays and lesbians among their least desirable neighbors. Such disdain can all too frequently spill over into violence Binay and Alper's film Zenne Dancer deals with a slightly fictionalized version of one of Turkey's most publicized cases: the 2007 “honor killing” of Ahmet Yildiz – a close friend of with both filmmakers – believed to have been carried out by his father.

And although Istanbul in particular has becoming increasingly welcoming to gays – Istanbul's annual Gay Pride parade is the largest in any majority-Muslim country -- the rising thread of Islamism in the Turkish government is slowing progress for LGBT rights. In 2013, Turkey’s prime minister at the time, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, criticizing the adoption of a Turko-Dutch boy by a Dutch lesbian couple, publicly called homosexuality a “sexual preference, which is contrary to the culture of Islam."

The Turkish military's approach to homosexuality reflects this cultural ambivalence. Out gay men are considered exempt from mandatory military service on the grounds of mental illness. In practice, they are often forced to provide degrading pornographic images of themselves or be subject to a rectal examination to “prove” their homosexuality.

Segah himself served in the military for eight months. He'd intended to get an exemption, he says, but he was not comfortable being out to his father, who accompanied him to the military recruitment office, and so remained in the military for eight months before being able to quietly secure his release. “I didn't mind,” he says. “I had more lovers there than anywhere else.”

Now, Segah performs nightly at Chanta, as well as at private functions like bachelorette parties, appearing on television next to some of Turkey's biggest stars.

Still, Segah's family has been less than welcoming of his career. When they first found out about his zenne dancing – by seeing him on television – they called him up immediately and begged him to stop, telling him his work was “morally shameful.” “I'm from a traditional Turkish family,” Segah says, “I'm basically cross-dressing – imagine my father and my father's friends seeing me in this cross-dressing costume and dancing like like? It's not really easy to accept.”

While his family has grudgingly accepted his career choice, they've never been to see him perform. His brother came to Chanta once to watch Segah's opening act – a singer he admired – but Segah sent him away before his performance.

And, says Segah, he's never formally come out to his parents. “They realize [that I'm gay]”, he says but it's not something they ever openly talk about.

Within liberal Istanbul, however, Segah's negative experiences have been minimal. He recalls only once being heckled with slurs by a homophobic audience member.

“I heard it and turned and said, 'Thank you, sir,'” Segah laughs. “He was so surprised – he tipped me almost 200 lira!”

Segah takes pride in his ability to push audience members out of their comfort zones. Unlike the traditional Ottoman zenne, he says, whose stylized movements were slower, stiffer, than that of their female contemporaries, Segah prefers to perform exactly the same movements as female belly-dancers. “Mostly, zenne don't get to affect people. But when I dance, I create a kind of 'gender confusion'. I am a man – with a beard! – but I'm dancing just like a woman [would]. And that really shocks people. They're shocked into enjoying it.”


In the past, most notably in Egypt, people kept domestic cats because they hunted and ate mice and rats. Today, people often keep cats as pets. There are also domestic cats which live without being cared for by people. These kinds of cats are called "feral cats".

The oldest evidence of cats kept as pets is from the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, around 7500 BC. Ancient Egyptians worshipped cats as gods, and often mummified them so they could be with their owners "for all of eternity".

Today, special food for cats is widely available in the developed countries. Proper feeding will help a cat live longer compared to hunting or being fed table scraps. Not correctly feeding a cat can lead to problems (see below for health concerns).

Cats cannot taste sweet foods (with sugar) because of a mutation (change) in their ancestors which removed the ability to taste sweet things.

Cats have anatomy similar to the other members of the genus Felis. The genus has extra lumbar (lower back) and thoracic (chest) vertebrae. This helps to explain the cat's spinal mobility and flexibility. Unlike human arms, cat forelimbs are attached to the shoulder by free-floating clavicle bones. These allow cats to pass their body through any space into which they can fit their heads. [10]

The cat skull is unusual among mammals in having very large eye sockets and a powerful and specialized jaw. [11] :35 Compared to other felines, domestic cats have narrowly spaced canine teeth: this is an adaptation to their preferred prey of small rodents. [12] Cats, like dogs, walk directly on their toes, with the bones of their feet making up the lower part of the visible leg. [13]

Cats walk very precisely. Unlike most mammals, when cats walk, they use a "pacing" gait (walking style) that is, they move the two legs on one side of the body before the legs on the other side. This trait is shared with camels and giraffes. As a walk speeds up into a trot, a cat's gait will change to be a "diagonal" gait, similar to that of most other mammals: the diagonally opposite hind and forelegs will move at the same time. [14] Most cats have five claws on their front paws, and four on their rear paws. [15] On the inside of the front paws there is something which looks like a sixth "finger". This special feature on the inside of the wrists is the carpal pad. The carpal pad is also found on other cats and on dogs.

Cats are active carnivores, meaning that in the wild they hunt live prey. Their main prey is small mammals (like mice). They will also stalk, and sometimes kill and eat, birds. Cats eat a wide variety of prey, including insects such as flies and grasshoppers. [16] Their main method of hunting is stalk and pounce. While dogs have great stamina and will chase prey over long distances, cats are extremely fast, but only over short distances. The basic cat coat colouring, tabby (see top photo), gives it good camouflage in grass and woodland. The cat creeps towards a chosen victim, keeping its body flat and near to the ground so that it cannot be seen easily, until it is close enough for a rapid dash or pounce. Cats, especially kittens, practice these instinctive behaviours in play with each other or on small toys. Cats can fish. They use a flip-up movement of a front paw which, when successful, flips the fish out of water and over the cat's shoulders onto the grass. Dutch research showed this to be an innate (inherited) behaviour pattern which developed early and without maternal teaching. [17]

Cats are quiet and well-behaved animals, making them popular pets. Young kittens are playful. They can easily entertain themselves with a variety of store-bought or homemade toys. House cats have also been known to teach themselves to use lever-type doorknobs and toilet handles. [18]

Cats are fairly independent animals. They can look after themselves and do not need as much attention as dogs do.

Cats use many different sounds for communication, including meowing, purring, trilling, hissing, growling, squeaking, chirping, clicking and grunting. [19]

Body posture is also important. The whole shape of the body changes when a cat is relaxed, or when it is alert. Also, the position of their ears and tail are used for communication, as well as their usual functions.

These ways of communication are very important. They are used between a mother cat and her kittens. They are also used between male and female cats and between cats and other species, such as dogs. A mother cat protecting her kittens will fight off the largest dog. She gives good warning with a frightening display, hissing furiously, showing her claws, arching her back, and making her hair stand on end. If that fails, she attacks the dog's face with her claws. It has been said that no dog ever tries such an attack a second time. [20]

Mating Edit

Cats only mate when the queen is "in heat". Heat periods occur about every two weeks and last 4 to 6 days. [21] Mating in cats is a spectacular event. Several toms may be attracted to a queen in heat. The males will fight over her, and the victor wins the right to mate. At first, the female will reject the male, but eventually the female will allow the male to mate. The female will utter a loud yowl as the male pulls out of her. This is because a male cat's penis has a band of about 120-150 backwards-pointing spines, which are about one millimeter long. [22] When the penis is withdrawn, the spines rake the walls of the female's vagina, which is a trigger for ovulation. [23] After mating, the female will wash her vulva thoroughly. If a male attempts to breed with her at this point, the female will attack him. After about 20 to 30 minutes. once the female is finished grooming, the cycle will repeat. [21]

Because ovulation is not always triggered, females may not get pregnant by the first tom which mates with them. [24] A queen may mate with more than one tom when she is in heat, and different kittens in a litter may have different fathers. [21] The cycle ceases when the queen is pregnant.

The gestation period for cats is about two months, with an average length of 66 days. [25] The size of a litter is usually three to five kittens. Kittens are weaned at between six and seven weeks, and cats normally reach sexual maturity at 5–10 months (females) and to 5–7 months (males). [21] Females can have two to three litters per year, so might produce up to 150 kittens in their breeding life of about ten years. [21]

Birth and after Edit

Pregnant queens deliver their litters by themselves, guided by instinct. The queen finds the safest place she can. Then she will clean it thoroughly, with her tongue, if necessary. Here she will quietly give birth. She licks the newborn kits clean. In the wild, leaving a scent is risking a dangerous encounter with other animals. The kits are born blind and with closed eyes. They suckle on her teats, and sleep a good deal. After two weeks or so, their eyes open. At that stage they have blue eyes, but not the best sight. A bit later, the best developed kit will totter out of the nest. The others follow. They will soon recognise you as a living thing: that is a great moment. At first, they go back to the nest to feed and sleep. After some more days they leave the nest for good, but still they may sleep together in a 'kitten heap'.

The queen, meanwhile, has left the nest from time to time, to hunt, feed, and also to urinate and defecate. Unlike the tom, she covers up her business to hide her scent. Very soon, the kits will urinate anywhere they please unless one trains them. This is done after they are weaned, when they are ready for some kitten food. Here is how to do it:

1. Prepare clean cat tray filled with absorbent grit. 2. Give kittens their special kitten food. 3. Take the lead kitten right after it has eaten, place it in your cat tray. 4. Gently stroke its tummy with one finger. 5. Watch as kitten sits down promptly and urinates. Do same for other kits. 6. Repeat next time if they need it. They will not need a third time.

What you have done is exactly what the queen would do in the wild. You have triggered a reflex which all kittens have. The thing is, the tray is artificial, and your queen may do her business outside. But at least when young, kittens need a tray. Your next job is to call the vet, who will tell you when to bring the kits for their vaccination. [26]

Kittens play endlessly. It is how they do their learning. They will play their favourite games, such as 'hide and pounce', with almost anyone or anything. Soft balls on strings are a standard toy so is a scratching post.

With cats there is a limit to how far you can train them. They are at least as intelligent as dogs, but they are not pack animals. They like to do their own thing, and owners do best by fitting in. Never hit a cat: if you do, the relationship will never be the same again. If you really want to dissuade them, try hissing. It has been said that no one really owns a cat many cats collect extra owners, and may change house if they do not like the treatment. [27]

If your kitten was born in your home do not let it out of the house until it is two to three months old. If you have the mother, she will look after the kit. But if you have got the kit from a vet or dealer, keep it in for several weeks. When it does go out, you need to watch over it. The main problem is that it may easily get lost. In time, the kit will learn every inch of the house and garden. Then, you can happily let it roam. [28]

Cats are very clean animals. They groom themselves by licking their fur. The cat's tongue can act as a hairbrush and can clean and untangle a cat's fur. Still, owners may buy grooming products to help the cat take care of itself. After licking their fur, cats sometimes get hairballs. [29] A hairball is a small amount of fur that is vomited up by animals when it becomes too big. This is quite normal. Owners brush their cats to try to prevent a lot of hairballs.

Many house cats eat food which their owners give them. This food is manufactured, and designed to contain the right nutrients for cats. There are many different types of cat food. These come in many different flavors and costs are often very small.

There is moist canned food and also dry cat food which comes in different sized cans or bags and formulas. There are kitten formulas, cat formulas, health formulas, formulas for reducing a cat's weight, and many others. It seems obvious that the food should be mostly meat, as that is most of a cat's natural diet. But remember, when they catch mice, they also eat the bones. So there is need for formulas to have more than just meat.

Cats should not be fed a daily diet of dog food. It could make the cat blind, as it has no taurine, which is a nutrient for the eyes.

Cats do get diseases, and prevention is better than cure. It is most important to get a young cat vaccinated against some of the most deadly diseases. If a cat gets a disease, a veterinarian (animal doctor) can offer help. Some cats, depending on breed, gender, age, and general health, may be more susceptible to disease than others. Regular visits to a vet can keep a cat alive many extra years by catching sickness and disease early. [30]

Cats that roam outside will get fleas at some time. Cat fleas will not live on people, but fleas will not hesitate to bite anyone nearby. Owners may choose to buy anti-flea collars, but any areas where the cat normally sleeps need to be cleaned up. A vet or local pet-shop may offer advice about fleas. It is recommended that people quickly take action when a cat gets fleas because fleas can make cats uncomfortable.

House cats can become overweight through lack of exercise and over-feeding. When they get spayed or neutered ("fixed"), they tend to exercise less. Spaying is done for queens, and neutering is done for toms. It is important to fix cats, and here are some reasons. First of all, if a female cat has kittens, they will need homes. Finding homes for kittens is often quite difficult. If a tom is not fixed, it develops a disgusting smell. Breeders who have entire toms keep them in a special hut outside the house, for that reason. Fixing also helps to avoid over-population. Over-population means that there are too many cats, and some will be put to sleep (put down) in animal pounds (animal shelters).

It is a good idea to adopt a cat from a vet or an animal shelter. The vet, shelter or RSPCA will make sure they are healthy and spayed. [31] [31]

Kittens are sometimes born with defects. People who receive cats as gifts are recommended to get it examined for its health. Some birth defects, like heart problems, require urgent vet attention. Others are harmless, like polydactyly. Polydactyly means many digits, or many "fingers" from poly (many) and dactyl (digit). Sometimes, there is a mutation (change) in cat families. Most cats have only four to five toes per paw, depending on whether it is the front or back paw. These mutated cats have six, seven, and in rare cases even more. All of these cats are called polydactyl cats. They can also be called Hemingway cats because author Ernest Hemingway owned some of these cats.

The Meaning of Traditional Japanese Tattoos

There are a number of images and symbols used in the Japanese style of tattooing to convey specific meanings. These images are used to convey a person’s beliefs, aspirations, or character traits. Called “motifs”, these design elements are intended to have the same meaning wherever they are used so that meaning is not unique to the individual. That means that anyone that sees the tattoo can instantly recognize the meaning and what they wearer wants to have conveyed, be it personality traits, character attributes, or association with a criminal organization.

Japanese Dragon Tattoos:

Tattoo Meaning: wisdom, strength, force for good, wind/water

Dragons in the West traditionally symbolize strength, ferocity, and wealth. They are a destructive force, but are also considered guardians. The Japanese, and the East in general, see dragons differently. In Japanese traditional tattoo art, dragons are generous, benevolent forces that use their strength to do good for mankind. Wisdom is another trait attributed to dragons. These positive connotations have made dragon tattoos among the most popular of Japanese style tattoos.

Koi Tattoos:

Tattoo Meaning: determination, strength, courage, desire for success, water

Japanese tattoos of koi fish are another of the most popular tattoo designs in traditional Japanese tattoo art. Koi are a specially bred type of carp, a fish native to China, where the Koi actually originates. Koi are given masculine qualities in traditional Eastern folklore such as strength and bravery. The Koi in China were known to attempt to swim upstream in the Yellow River, but very few could swim past a point known as “Dragon’s Gate”. Koi who did were said to be rewarded by turning into dragons. For this reason, Koi also symbolize determination and a strong desire to succeed and become “something more”.

Phoenix Tattoos:

Tattoo Meaning: rebirth, triumph, fire

This tattoo, like many other Japanese tattoos, has a shared background with other cultures. Most of us are familiar with the story of the Phoenix, a bird that is consumed by fire and then rises from its own ashes. Many are not aware that the story exists in many cultures and at many times throughout history including Greek and Roman mythology, Middle Eastern folklore, and even the Americas. The Japanese phoenix story draws its source from the story that’s indigenous to mainland China. Regardless of origin, phoenix tattoos are meant to symbolize rebirth and triumph, as well a renewal and rebuilding of one’s self.

Tiger Tattoos:

Tattoo Meaning: strength, courage, protector against bad luck, evil spirits, and disease, wind

The Japanese tiger tattoo carries with it the same traits we attribute to the real animal–strength and courage, but also long life. The tiger tattoo is also used to ward off evil spirits and bad luck, as well as disease. The tiger is a symbol for both the North and for autumn, they are said to control the wind, and they are one of the four sacred animals.

Lion or Fu-Dog tattoos:

Tattoo Meaning: protective, strong, courageous, good luck, heroism

This tattoo resembles both a lion and a dog. More specifically, it looks like a lion with pointed ears. They are said to be protective, strong, and courageous. As statues they serve to keep evil out, as tattoos they serve as protectors and often indicate a courageous person with heroic aspirations.

Japanese Snake Tattoo:

Tattoo Meaning: protection, wisdom, good luck, strength, and change

In traditional Japanese tattoos, the snake holds a wide range of meanings and performs a number of important functions. Among its many attributes are protection from illness, disaster, and bad fortune. Snake tattoos also represent wisdom and protection, particularly from the results of bad decisions. The snake can also embody regeneration, healing, and medicine as it was revered in Japanese culture in association with medicinal rites and remedies. As a symbol of good luck, it was also though to bring good health.

The Japanese snake tattoo also represents the Divine Feminine, or the holy female attributes. It was thought that much in the same way a snake sheds its skin, a woman could take on the positive attributes of a man. Seems a little sexist, but it was ancient Japan, after all.

Japanese Skull Tattoos:

Tattoo Meaning: life, death, change, reverence for dead/ ancestors

Though the image of the human skull in much of tattoo culture and art in general has come to have a negative connotation (such as death, danger, and an ill fate), the skull used in Japanese tattoos was intended to be a positive representation of the natural life cycle.

Traditionally, the Japanese skull tattoo represents change, which makes sense as death is the greatest change man can experience.

Japanese Flower Tattoos:

Japanese flower tattoos have a wide variety of meaning and are a very important and highly valued design in traditional Japanese tattoo art. For the sake of convenience, we’ve included the information about Japanese flower tattoos in our Flower Tattoos section.

Oni/ Oni Mask/ Demon Mask Tattoo:

Tattoo Meaning: good and evil, protectors, tricksters, demons

The Oni Mask tattoo in Japanese tattoos is extremely common and refers to the belief in a spirit world in which demons carry out their roles of punishing the unjust and evil, as well as spreading disease (seems like a random thing to be responsible for, but I guess it fits in with the whole evil-doing business).

While Oni are known for being evil, some Oni are good and are seen as protectors. One instance of this would include a monk who becomes an Oni after death to protect his temple. In English, the word Oni is best translated as ogre or troll (the Japanese word for “demon” is actually “yokai”). Oni, in traditional Japanese folklore, we marauding ogres known for terrorizing villages and tormenting villagers. Their association with demons in Japanese tattoo art has more to do with ogres being grouped into the realm of supernatural creatures (along with yokai) than anything else. Still, the symbolism holds as the imagery of the marauding ogre isn’t far from the idea of the evil spirit which the tattoo aims to convey.

Water/ Wave Tattoos:

Tattoo Meaning: movement, strength, fluidity, life

Many Japanese tattoos feature water. Specifically, waves are an element of Japanese tattoo art that are perhaps among the most recognizable (Think traditional Japanese artists, like Hokusai). The image of water in Japanese traditional tattoos is often combined with Koi, Dragons, or Oni. In addition to symbolizing strength and life, water tattoos convey the belief that life, like water, ebbs and flows. It is strong and swift when necessary, but can be gentle and calm as well.

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