The domestic cat (Felis catus or Felis silvestris catus) is a small, usually furry, domesticated, carnivorous mammal. It is often called the housecat when kept as an indoor pet, or simply the cat when there is no need to distinguish it from other felids and felines. Cats are valued by humans for companionship and their ability to hunt vermin and household pests.
Cats are similar in anatomy to the other felids, with strong, flexible bodies, quick reflexes, sharp retractable claws, and teeth adapted to killing small prey. Cat senses fit a crepuscular and predatory ecological niche. Cats can hear sounds too faint or too high in frequency for human ears, such as those made by mice and other small game. They can see in near darkness. Like most mammals, cats have poorer color vision and a better sense of smell than humans.
Despite being solitary hunters, cats are a social species, and cat communication includes the use of a variety of vocalizations (meowing, purring, trilling, hissing, growling and grunting) as well as pheromones and types of cat-specific body language.
Cats have a rapid breeding rate. Under controlled breeding, they can be bred and shown as registered pedigree pets, a hobby known as cat fancy. Failure to control the breeding of pet cats by spaying and neutering, and the abandonment of former household pets, has resulted in large numbers of feral cats worldwide, with a population of up to 60 million of these animals in the United States alone, while in Japan they are caught and disposed of.
Since cats were cult animals in ancient Egypt, they were commonly believed to have been domesticated there, but there may have been instances of domestication as early as the Neolithic.
A genetic study in 2007 revealed that domestic cats have descended from African wildcats (Felis silvestris lybica) c. 8000 BCE, in the Middle East. According to Scientific American cats are the most popular pet in the world, and now found almost every place where people live.
Read more about Cat: Nomenclature and Etymology, Taxonomy and Evolution, Genetics, Anatomy, Physiology, Senses, Health, Behavior, Cats and Humans, Feral Cats, History and Mythology
Other articles related to "cat, cats":
... This unnamed feline is a black-and-white cat who looks prototypical to Sylvester The Cat ... He would later reappear in shorts such as The Hep Cat (1942) the first color Looney Tunes short, The Fifth-Column Mouse(1943) as a Hitler-like antagonistic cat, and lastly in Birdy and the Beast (1944), as ... The cat appeared in a total of 5 shorts three directed by Friz Freleng, and two directed by Bob Clampett ...
... tended to think that ancient Egypt was the site of cat domestication, owing to the clear depictions of house cats in Egyptian paintings about 3,600 ... contained the skeletons, laid close to one another, of both a human and a cat ... The cat specimen is large and closely resembles the African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica), rather than present-day domestic cats ...
... The sand cat (Felis margarita), also known as the sand dune cat, is the only felid found primarily in true desert, and has a wide but apparently disjunct distribution ... Since 2002 this small cat has been listed as Near Threatened by IUCN due to concern over potential low population size and decline ... The sand cat lives in arid areas that are too hot and dry even for the African Wildcat the Sahara, the Arabian Desert, and the deserts of Iran and Pakistan ...
... Sam Cat is an orange cat that claims to be friends with Sylvester ... But when it comes to food, they are deadly rivals ...
... The sand cat is a relatively small, stocky cat with short legs, a long tail, and large, pointed ears ... Unusually among Asian cats, the sand cat has long hairs growing between its toes ... the large ears, the auditory bullae are also unusually large, giving the cat an enhanced sense of hearing, probably helping it to pick up vibrations in the sand ...
Famous quotes containing the word cat:
“A few years before I lived in the woods there was what was called a winged cat in one of the farmhouses.... This would have been the right kind of cat for me to keep, if I had kept any; for why should not a poets cat be winged as well as his horse?”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“I dont want her to have a cat because shell end up talking baby talk to the cat. Thats the way it is, and how can a P.I. do that?”
—Sue Grafton (b. 1940)
“There are many who say that a dog has his day,
And a cat has a number of lives;”
—Dylan Thomas (19141953)