Cats are a family of carnivores and therefore belong to mammals. They are found on every continent except Oceania and Antarctica. They almost only eat meat. There are many different types of them that look very different. In nature, only wild cats and lynx live with us.
When we talk about a cat, we often mean a domestic cat. In fact, all cats are similar to our domestic cats. However, the domestic cat was specially bred and is more or less tame.
What is typical for cats?
All cats look and act similarly. Their body is supple, the coat is soft with short hair. The head is rather small in relation to the body. However, the eyes are rather large in comparison to the head. The pupils form a narrow slit that opens wide in the dark. This is why cats can see well even in low light. The whiskers on the snout also help them.
Cats hear very well. Their ears are erect and tapered. They can rotate their ears to hear in a specific direction. Cats have a good sense of taste, so they taste very well with their tongues, but they don’t smell that well with their noses.
Cats have very strong teeth. They are especially good at grabbing and killing their prey with their canines. They also hold onto prey with their claws. Cats have five clawed toes on their front paws and four on their back paws.
Cats have a peculiarity about their skeleton. They don’t have collarbones. These are the two bones that run from the shoulder to the center and almost meet at the top of the chest. People sometimes break their collarbones in a fall. This cannot happen with cats. Your shoulders are much more flexible without a collarbone. You can therefore easily land even with a long jump.
Most cats can purr. You can hear it as a deep hum. Cats usually purr when they feel particularly well. Even very small kittens do this. The purring originates in the throat. However, scientists have not yet figured out exactly how this works.
Most cats are loners. Males only meet a female to mate and produce young. Only the lions live in pride. Domestic cats can also be kept well in groups of females.
How are cats classified?
There are three subfamilies of cats: the extinct saber-toothed cats, the big cats, and the lesser cats. The saber-toothed cats became extinct during the Stone Age.
The big cats include the tiger, jaguar, lion, leopard, and snow leopard. Sometimes the clouded leopard is also included. It resembles the leopard and lives in southeast Asia. The expert recognizes the big cats not only by their body size because that is not always entirely true. A key difference is a bone under the tongue called the “hyoid bone.” The big cats are also different in their genes.
Small cats include the cheetah, the cougar, the lynx, and a few others. This also includes the “Real Cats”. You a genus of your own. They also include the wild cat, from which our domestic cat descends.
Which cat holds which record?
The records are always held by the males. The tigers grow the biggest. They are about 200 centimeters long from the snout to the bottom and weigh up to 240 kilograms in total. They are closely followed by the lions. However, the comparison is difficult. It depends on whether you’re comparing what most animals are like. That would be an average. You can also compare the largest animal of each species that you have ever found with the others. Then the comparison can be a little different. It’s like comparing schoolchildren from two classes.
The fastest is the cheetah. It manages to reach about 100 km/h. That’s faster than driving on a country road in many countries. However, the cheetah only maintains this speed for a very short period of time, just before it catches prey.
It is impossible to say which cat is the strongest. Tigers, lions, and cougars each live on a different continent. They don’t even meet in nature. The lion and the leopard, for example, live partly in the same countries. But they never let it come to a fight, but go out of the way.