Colleen Riley is a freelance editor, artist, and immigration paralegal. Her credits include The White Box, Beating the Story, Friendly Local Game Store, Meeples Together, Unknown Armies 3, Infinity, Laser Kittens, More Kittens, Black Mass, and Cavaliers of Mars: Witch-Queen of the Shadowed Citadel. She has also down a lot of work on the Technoir line Technoir, Mechnoir, Morenoir) and the Trinity Continuum (Æon Æxpansion, Distant Worlds, and In Media Res). She serves four (mostly) benevolent feline overlords in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her Twitter (@wordbunny) and Instagram (colleen_elizabeth_riley) are primarily cat pictures.
Cats are known for spending considerable amounts of time licking their coats to keep them clean. The cat's tongue has backwards-facing spines about 500 μm long, which are called papillae. These contain keratin which makes them rigid so the papillae act like a hairbrush. Some cats, particularly longhaired cats, occasionally regurgitate hairballs of fur that have collected in their stomachs from grooming. These clumps of fur are usually sausage-shaped and about 2–3 cm (0.8–1.2 in) long. Hairballs can be prevented with remedies that ease elimination of the hair through the gut, as well as regular grooming of the coat with a comb or stiff brush.
It was long thought that cat domestication was initiated in Egypt, because cats in ancient Egypt were venerated from around 3100 BC. However, the earliest indication for the taming of an African wildcat (F. lybica) was found in Cyprus, where a cat skeleton was excavated close by a human Neolithic grave dating to around 7500 BC. African wildcats were probably first domesticated in the Near East. The leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) was tamed independently in China around 5500 BC, though this line of partially domesticated cats leaves no trace in the domestic cat populations of today.