Size: 28 in (71 cm)
Weight: 5 to 20 lbs (2.3 to 9 kg)
The cat (Felis silvestris catus), also known as the domestic cat or housecat, is a small domesticated mammal that is valued by humans for its companionship and its ability to hunt vermin and household pests. Cats are currently the most popular pet in the world. Due to their close association with humans, cats are now found almost everywhere on Earth.
What does a cat look like?
Cats are similar in size and anatomy to the other catlike animals, with light, flexible bodies and teeth adapted to killing small prey. A skilled predator, the cat hunts over 1,000 species for food, using its excellent eyesight and hearing. Unusually, cats have lost the ability to taste sugar and in some breeds show hereditary deafness. Despite being solitary hunters, cats are a social species and use a variety of vocalizations, pheromones and types of body language for communication. These include meowing, purring, trilling, hissing, growling, squeaking, chirping, clicking, and grunting. They are also bred and shown as registered pedigree pets. This hobby is known as cat fancy.
Where do cats live?
Cats are a cosmopolitan species and are found across much of the world. They are extremely adaptable and are now present on all the continents (including Antarctica) and on 118 of 131 main groups of islands. Feral cats can live in forests, grasslands, tundra, coastal areas, agricultural land, scrublands, urban areas and wetlands. Their habitats even include small oceanic islands with no human inhabitants. However, this ability to thrive in almost any terrestrial habitat has led the cat's designation as one of the world's worst invasive species. Despite this general adaptability, the close relatives of domestic cats, the African Wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica) and the Arabian Sand Cat (Felis margarita) both inhabit desert environments, and domestic cats still show similar adaptations and behaviors.
What does a cat eat?
Domestic cats remain largely carnivorous. They also have the rough tongue that can help them clean every last morsel from an animal bone (and groom themselves). Their diets vary with the whims of humans, however, and can be supplemented by the cat's own hunting successes. Cats feed on small prey, primarily birds and rodents. Feral cats and house cats that are free-fed tend to consume many small meals in a single day, although the frequency and size of meals varies between individuals. Cats use two hunting strategies, either stalking prey actively, or waiting in ambush until an animal comes close enough to be captured. Although it is not certain, the type of strategy used may depend on the prey species in the area, with for example, cats waiting in ambush outside burrows, but tending to actively stalk birds.
Where does the word cat come from?
The word cat derives from Old English catt, which belongs to a group of related words in European languages. The ultimate source of all these terms is Late Latin catus, cattus, catta "domestic cat".
What is a group of cats called?
A group of cats is referred to as a "clowder", a male cat is called a "tom", and a female is called a "molly" or "queen". The male progenitor of a cat, especially a pedigreed cat, is its "sire", and its female progenitor is its "dam". An immature cat is called a "kitten".
How do cats communicate?
Cats communicate by marking trees, fence posts, or furniture with their claws or their waste. These scent posts are meant to inform others of a cat's home range. House cats employ a vocal repertoire that extends from a purr to a screech.
What is special about the cats eyes?
Cat's eye. Cats have extremely sensitive vision, particularly in dim light.Cats have excellent night vision. The cats eyes can reflect light that passes through the retina back into the eye, thereby increasing the eye's sensitivity to dim light. Another adaptation to dim light is the large pupils of cats' eyes. Unlike some big cats, such as tigers, domestic cats have slit pupils. At low light levels a cat's pupils will expand to cover most of the exposed surface of its eyes. However, domestic cats have rather poor color vision and can only see two colors: blue and green, and are less able to distinguish between red and green.
How does a cat brush it's hair?
The hooked papillae on a cat tongue act like a hairbrush to help clean and detangle fur.Cats are known for their cleanliness, spending many hours licking their coats. 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 two to three centimeters 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.
Why do cats like to play?
Domestic cats, especially young kittens, are known for their love of play. This behavior mimics hunting and is important in helping kittens learn to stalk, capture, and kill prey. Cats will also engage in play fighting, with each other and with humans. This behavior may be a way for cats to practice the skills needed for real combat, and might also reduce any fear they associate with launching attacks on other animals.
Due to the close similarity between play and hunting, cats prefer to play with objects that resemble prey, such as small furry toys that move rapidly, but rapidly lose interest in a toy they have played with before. Cats also tend to play with toys more when they are hungry.
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