Domesticated feline species
This article is about the species that is normally kept as a pet. For the cat kin, see Felidae
The cat ( Felis catus ) is a domestic species of small carnivorous mammal. [ 1 ] [ 2 ] It is the alone domesticate species in the syndicate Felidae and is much referred to as the domestic cat to distinguish it from the godforsaken members of the syndicate. [ 4 ] A kat can either be a house cat, a farm cat or a feral cat ; the latter ranges freely and avoids human liaison. [ 5 ] Domestic cats are valued by humans for company and their ability to kill rodents. About 60 big cat breeds are recognized by assorted guy registries. [ 6 ]

The vomit is similar in human body to the other feline species : it has a firm compromising body, promptly reflexes, shrill tooth and retractable claws adapted to killing little prey. Its night imagination and smell of smack are well developed. Cat communication includes vocalizations like meow, purr, trilling, hissing, growling and grunting angstrom well as cat-specific body speech. A predator that is most active at click and dusk ( crepuscular ), the cat is a lone hunter but a sociable species. It can hear sounds excessively faint or besides high in frequency for human ears, such as those made by mice and other small mammals. [ 7 ] Cats besides secrete and perceive pheromones. [ 8 ] Female domestic cats can have kittens from spring to late fall, with litter sizes frequently ranging from two to five kittens. [ 9 ] Domestic cats are bred and shown at events as registered pedigree cats, a hobby known as vomit fancy. Population control of cats may be effected by spaying and alter, but their proliferation and the abandonment of pets has resulted in big numbers of feral cats worldwide, contributing to the extinction of entire boo, mammal, and reptile species. [ 10 ] Cats were first domesticated in the Near East around 7500 BC. [ 11 ] It was farseeing opinion that cat tameness began in ancient Egypt, where cats were venerated from around 3100 BC. [ 12 ] [ 13 ] As of 2021, there were an estimated 220 million owned and 480 million stray cats in the earth. [ 14 ] [ 15 ] As of 2017, the domestic cat was the second-most popular positron emission tomography in the United States, with 95.6 million cats owned [ 16 ] [ 17 ] [ 18 ] and around 42 million households own at least one cat. [ 19 ] In the United Kingdom, 26 % of adults have a vomit with an calculate population of 10.9 million pet cats as of 2020. [ 20 ]

etymology and naming

The origin of the English son cat, Old English catt, is thought to be the Late Latin word cattus, which was first used at the begin of the sixth century. [ 21 ] It was suggested that the password ‘cattus ‘ is derived from an egyptian harbinger of coptic ϣⲁⲩ šau, “ tom ”, or its feminine phase suffixed with -t. [ 22 ] The Late Latin word may be derived from another afroasiatic [ 23 ] or nilo-saharan language. The nubian parole kaddîska “ unauthorized ” and Nobiin kadīs are possible sources or cognates. [ 24 ] The nubian news may be a loan from Arabic قَطّ‎ qaṭṭ ~ قِطّ qiṭṭ. It is “ equally likely that the forms might derive from an ancient Germanic bible, imported into Latin and thence to Greek and to Syriac and Arabic ”. [ 25 ] The discussion may be derived from Germanic and Northern European languages, and ultimately be borrowed from Uralic, cystic fibrosis. Northern Sami gáđfi, “ female stoat “, and Hungarian hölgy, “ dame, female stoat ” ; from Proto-Uralic *käďwä, “ female ( of a furred animal ) ”. [ 26 ] The English puss, extended as pussy and pussycat, is attested from the sixteenth hundred and may have been introduced from dutch poes or from low german puuskatte, related to Swedish kattepus, or norwegian pus, pusekatt. alike forms exist in lithuanian puižė and irish puisín or puiscín. The etymology of this give voice is stranger, but it may have plainly arisen from a sound used to attract a kat. [ 27 ] [ 28 ] A male cat is called a tom or tomcat [ 29 ] ( or a gib, [ 30 ] if neutered ). An unspayed female is called a queen, [ 31 ] ( or a molly, [ 32 ] if spayed ), specially in a cat-breeding context. A juvenile cat is referred to as a kitten. In early Modern English, the discussion kitten was exchangeable with the now-obsolete word catling. [ 33 ] A group of cats can be referred to as a clowder or a glaring. [ 34 ]


The scientific name Felis catus was proposed by Carl Linnaeus in 1758 for a domestic kat. [ 1 ] [ 2 ] Felis catus domesticus was proposed by Johann Christian Polycarp Erxleben in 1777. [ 3 ] Felis daemon proposed by Konstantin Alekseevich Satunin in 1904 was a black cat from the Transcaucasus, subsequently identified as a domestic cat-o’-nine-tails. [ 35 ] [ 36 ] In 2003, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature ruled that the domestic cat is a distinct species, namely Felis catus. [ 37 ] [ 38 ] In 2007, it was considered a subspecies, F. silvestris catus, of the european wildcat ( F. silvestris ) following results of phylogenetic research. [ 39 ] [ 40 ] In 2017, the IUCN Cat Classification Taskforce followed the recommendation of the ICZN in regarding the domestic vomit as a distinct species, Felis catus. [ 41 ]


Skulls of a beast ( top leftover ), a housecat ( top right ), and a hybrid between the two. ( buttocks center ) The domestic big cat is a penis of the Felidae, a kin that had a common ancestor about 10–15 million years ago. [ 42 ] The genus Felis diverged from other Felidae around 6–7 million years ago. [ 43 ] Results of phylogenetic inquiry confirm that the hazardous Felis species evolved through sympatric or parapatric speciation, whereas the domestic big cat evolved through artificial survival. [ 44 ] The domesticate computerized tomography and its closest rampantly ancestor are diploid and both own 38 chromosomes [ 45 ] and approximately 20,000 genes. [ 46 ] The leopard caterpillar ( Prionailurus bengalensis ) was tamed independently in China around 5500 BC. This credit line of partially domesticated cats leaves no trace in the domestic kat populations of today. [ 47 ]


A kat eating a fish under a president, a mural in an egyptian grave dating to the fifteenth century BC The earliest know indication for the domesticate of an african wildcat well ( F. lybica ) was excavated close by a human Neolithic grave in Shillourokambos, southerly Cyprus, dating to about 7500–7200 BC. Since there is no evidence of native mammalian fauna on Cyprus, the inhabitants of this Neolithic village most likely brought the cat and other wild mammals to the island from the Middle Eastern mainland. [ 48 ] Scientists therefore assume that african wildcats were attracted to early homo settlements in the Fertile Crescent by rodents, in finical the house mouse ( Mus musculus ), and were tamed by Neolithic farmers. This reciprocal relationship between early farmers and tamed cats lasted thousands of years. As agrarian practices spread, indeed did meek and domesticated cats. [ 11 ] [ 6 ] Wildcats of Egypt contributed to the maternal gene pool of the domestic cat at a former time. [ 49 ] The earliest know evidence for the occurrence of the domestic computerized tomography in Greece dates to around 1200 BC. Greek, Phoenician, Carthaginian and Etruscan traders introduced domestic cats to southern Europe. [ 50 ] During the Roman Empire they were introduced to Corsica and Sardinia before the begin of the 1st millennium. [ 51 ] By the fifth century BC, they were conversant animals around settlements in Magna Graecia and Etruria. [ 52 ] By the end of the Roman Empire in the fifth hundred, the egyptian domestic guy linage had arrived in a Baltic Sea port in northerly Germany. [ 49 ] During domestication, cats have undergone lone child changes in anatomy and behavior, and they are even capable of surviving in the wild. several natural behaviors and characteristics of wildcats may have pre-adapted them for domestication as pets. These traits include their little size, social nature, obvious body speech, love of play and relatively high intelligence. captive Leopardus cats may besides display affectionate behavior toward humans but were not domesticated. [ 53 ] House cats frequently mate with feral cats, [ 54 ] producing hybrids such as the Kellas vomit in Scotland. [ 55 ] Hybridisation between domestic and other Felinae species is besides possible. [ 56 ] Development of cat-o’-nine-tails breeds started in the mid nineteenth century. [ 57 ] An analysis of the domestic caterpillar genome revealed that the ancestral unauthorized genome was significantly altered in the summons of tameness, as specific mutations were selected to develop cat-o’-nine-tails breeds. [ 58 ] Most breeds are founded on random-bred domestic cats. familial diversity of these breeds varies between regions, and is lowest in thoroughbred populations, which show more than 20 deleterious familial disorders. [ 59 ]



Diagram of the general anatomy of a male domestic computerized tomography The domestic caterpillar has a smaller skull and shorter bones than the european wildcat. [ 60 ] It averages about 46 curium ( 18 in ) in head-to-body duration and 23–25 centimeter ( 9–10 in ) in stature, with about 30 centimeter ( 12 in ) hanker tails. Males are larger than females. [ 61 ] Adult domestic cats typically weigh between 4 and 5 kilogram ( 9 and 11 pound ). [ 44 ]

skeletal system

Cats have seven cervical vertebra ( as do most mammals ) ; 13 pectoral vertebra ( humans have 12 ) ; seven lumbar vertebra ( humans have five ) ; three sacral vertebra ( as do most mammals, but humans have five ) ; and a variable number of caudal vertebra in the buttocks ( humans have only three to five vestigial caudal vertebra, fused into an inner coccyx ). [ 62 ] : 11 The supernumerary lumbar and pectoral vertebra report for the cat ‘s spinal anesthesia mobility and flexibility. Attached to the spinal column are 13 ribs, the shoulder, and the pelvis. [ 62 ] : 16 Unlike human arms, computerized tomography forelimbs are attached to the shoulder by free-floating clavicle bones which allow them to pass their body through any space into which they can fit their drumhead. [ 63 ]


Cat skull The caterpillar skull is strange among mammals in having very big eye sockets and a mighty specialize jaw. [ 64 ] : 35 Within the call on the carpet, cats have teeth adapted for killing prey and tearing kernel. When it overpowers its prey, a cat-o’-nine-tails delivers a deadly neck pungency with its two long canine tooth, inserting them between two of the prey ‘s vertebra and severing its spinal cord, causing irreversible paralysis and death. [ 65 ] Compared to other felines, domestic cats have narrowly spaced canine teeth relative to the size of their jaw, which is an adaptation to their favored prey of minor rodents, which have humble vertebra. [ 65 ] The premolar and first molar together compose the carnassial match on each slope of the sass, which efficiently shears kernel into humble pieces, like a pair of scissors. These are full of life in feeding, since cats ‘ small molars can not chew food efficaciously, and cats are largely incapable of chew. [ 64 ] : 37 Although cats tend to have better teeth than most humans, with decay by and large less likely because of a thick protective layer of enamel, a less damaging saliva, less memory of food particles between teeth, and a diet largely barren of carbohydrate, they are however submit to occasional tooth passing and infection. [ 66 ]


Shed claw sheaths Cats have protractile and retractable claw. [ 67 ] In their normal, relax position, the claws are sheathed with the peel and fur around the paw ‘s toe pads. This keeps the claw sharp by preventing wear from contact with the ground and allows the silent haunt of raven. The claw on the fore feet are typically sharper than those on the hind feet. [ 68 ] Cats can voluntarily extend their claws on one or more paws. They may extend their claws in hunting or self-defense, climbing, kneading, or for supernumerary traction on balmy surfaces. Cats shed the outside level of their hook sheaths when scratching rough surfaces. [ 69 ] Most cats have five claws on their front paw, and four on their rear paw. The dewclaw is proximal to the other hook. More proximally is a protrusion which appears to be a one-sixth “ finger ”. This extra feature of the front paw, on the inside of the wrists has no function in convention walk, but is thought to be an antiskidding device used while jumping. Some kat breeds are prone to having extra digits ( “ polydactyly ” ). [ 70 ] Polydactylous cats occur along North America ‘s northeast seashore and in Great Britain. [ 71 ]


The cat-o’-nine-tails is digitigrade. It walks on the toes, with the bones of the feet making up the lower contribution of the visible peg. [ 72 ] Unlike most mammals, it uses a “ pace ” pace and moves both legs on one side of the body before the leg on the other side. It registers directly by placing each back paw conclusion to the track of the corresponding fore paw, minimizing noise and visible tracks. This besides provides sure footing for hind paw when navigating rough terrain. As it speeds up walking to trotting, its pace changes to a “ diagonal ” gait : The diagonally face-to-face back and fore legs move simultaneously. [ 73 ]


Comparison of cat-o’-nine-tails righting reflexes in gravity and zero graveness Most breeds of caterpillar have a note fondness for sitting in gamey places, or perching. A higher target may serve as a hide site from which to hunt ; domestic cats strike prey by pouncing from a perch such as a tree branch. Another possible explanation is that acme gives the big cat a better observation bespeak, allowing it to survey its district. A cat-o’-nine-tails falling from heights of up to 3 meters ( 9.8 foot ) can right itself and land on its paw. [ 74 ] During a fall from a eminent rate, a cat reflexively twists its body and rights itself to land on its feet using its acute smell of remainder and tractability. This automatic is known as the big cat righting reflex. [ 75 ] A computerized tomography always rights itself in the same way during a fall, if it has enough time to do then, which is the event in falls of 90 curium ( 2 foot 11 in ) or more. [ 76 ] How cats are able to right themselves when falling has been investigated as the “ falling guy problem “ .



tapetum lucidum mirror image of camera blink of an eye from the Cats have excellent nox sight and can see at only one-sixth the light flush required for homo vision. [ 64 ] : 43 This is partially the leave of computerized tomography eyes having a tapetum lucidum, which reflects any light that passes through the retina back into the eye, thereby increasing the eye ‘s sensitivity to dim light. [ 77 ] Large pupils are an adaptation to dim light. The domestic cat has slit pupils, which allow it to focus brilliantly light without chromatic aberration. [ 78 ] At low alight, a kat ‘s pupils expand to cover most of the exposed surface of its eyes. [ 79 ] The domestic big cat has preferably inadequate color imagination and only two types of cone cells, optimized for sensitivity to blue and yellowish green ; its ability to distinguish between loss and green is limited. [ 80 ] A response to middle wavelengths from a system early than the rod cells might be due to a third base type of cone. This appears to be an adaptation to low light levels rather than representing true trichromatic vision. [ 81 ]


The domestic computerized tomography ‘s hearing is most acute accent in the roll of 500 Hz to 32 kilohertz. [ 82 ] It can detect an highly wide stove of frequencies ranging from 55 Hz to 79,000 Hz. It can hear a range of 10.5 octaves, while humans and dogs can hear ranges of about 9 octaves. [ 83 ] [ 84 ] Its hearing sensitivity is enhanced by its large chattel out ears, the auricle, which amplify sounds and help detect the location of a noise. It can detect sonography, which enables it to detect supersonic calls made by rodent prey. [ 85 ] [ 86 ] Recent research has shown that cats have socio-spatial cognitive abilities to create mental maps of owners ‘ locations based on hearing owners ‘ voices. [ 87 ]


Cats have an acute sense of smell, due in separate to their well-developed olfactory bulb and a big surface of olfactory mucous membrane, about 5.8 square centimetres ( 29⁄32 square inch ) in area, which is about doubly that of humans. [ 88 ] Cats and many other animals have a Jacobson ‘s organ in their mouths that is used in the behavioral process of flehmening. It allows them to sense certain aromas in a way that humans can not. Cats are sensitive to pheromones such as 3-mercapto-3-methylbutan-1-ol, [ 89 ] which they use to communicate through urine spray and marking with perfume glands. [ 90 ] Many cats besides respond strongly to plants that contain nepetalactone, particularly catmint, as they can detect that substance at less than one character per billion. [ 91 ] About 70–80 % of cats are affected by nepetalactone. [ 92 ] This answer is besides produced by other plants, such as silver vine ( Actinidia polygama ) and the herb valerian ; it may be caused by the smell of these plants mimicking a pheromone and stimulating cats ‘ social or sexual behaviors. [ 93 ]


Cats have relatively few taste buds compared to humans ( 470 or thus versus more than 9,000 on the human clapper ). [ 94 ] Domestic and raving mad cats share a taste sense organ gene mutation that keeps their sweet taste bud from binding to sugary molecules, leaving them with no ability to taste pleasantness. [ 95 ] Their taste buds rather respond to acids, amino acids like protein, and piercingly tastes. [ 96 ] Cats besides have a distinct temperature preference for their food, preferring food with a temperature around 38 °C ( 100 °F ) which is exchangeable to that of a fresh kill and routinely rejecting food presented cold or refrigerated ( which would signal to the guy that the “ prey ” item is hanker dead and therefore possibly toxic or decompose ). [ 94 ]


The whiskers of a kat are highly medium to touch To aid with seafaring and sensation, cats have dozens of movable whiskers ( whisker ) over their body, specially their faces. These provide data on the width of gaps and on the location of objects in the black, both by touching objects immediately and by sensing air currents ; they besides trigger protective flash reflexes to protect the eyes from damage. [ 64 ] : 47


Outdoor cats are active both day and night, although they tend to be slightly more active at night. [ 97 ] Domestic cats spend the majority of their time in the vicinity of their homes but can range many hundreds of meters from this cardinal point. They establish territories that vary well in size, in one study ranging from 7 to 28 hectares ( 17–69 acres ). [ 98 ] The time of cats ‘ activity is quite elastic and varied, which means house cats may be more active in the good morning and even, as a reply to greater human action at these times. [ 99 ] Cats conserve energy by sleeping more than most animals, particularly as they grow older. The day by day duration of sleep varies, normally between 12 and 16 hours, with 13 and 14 being the average. Some cats can sleep american samoa much as 20 hours. The term “ caterpillar nap ” for a short rest refers to the cat ‘s tendency to fall asleep ( lightly ) for a brief period. While asleep, cats experience short periods of rapid eye movement sleep much accompanied by muscle twitches, which suggests they are dreaming. [ 100 ]


The social behavior of the domestic cat-o’-nine-tails ranges from wide dispersed individuals to feral computerized tomography colonies that gather around a food source, based on groups of co-operating females. [ 101 ] [ 102 ] Within such groups, one cat-o’-nine-tails is normally dominant over the others. [ 103 ] Each vomit in a colony holds a distinct territory, with sexually active males having the largest territories, which are about 10 times larger than those of female cats and may overlap with respective females ‘ territories. These territories are marked by urine spray, by rubbing objects at head height with secretions from facial glands, and by defecation. [ 90 ] Between these territories are neutral areas where cats watch and greet one another without territorial conflicts. Outside these inert areas, territory holders normally chase away stranger cats, at first by staring, hiss, and growl and, if that does not work, by short but noisy and violent attacks. Despite this colonial constitution, cats do not have a social survival strategy or a pack brain, and constantly hunt alone. [ 104 ] Life in proximity to humans and other domestic animals has led to a symbiotic social adaptation in cats, and cats may express bang-up affection toward humans or other animals. Ethologically, the human custodian of a cat functions as a sort of deputy for the cat ‘s mother. [ 105 ] Adult cats live their lives in a kind of extended kittenhood, a form of behavioral neoteny. Their high sounds may mimic the cries of a athirst human baby, making them peculiarly difficult for humans to ignore. [ 106 ] Some darling cats are ailing socialized. In particular, older cats show aggressiveness toward newly arrived kittens, which include bite and rub ; this type of behavior is known as feline asocial aggression. [ 107 ] domestic cats ‘ aroma rubbing behavior toward humans or other cats is thought to be a feline means for social bond. [ 108 ]


Vocalizing domestic vomit domestic cats use many vocalizations for communication, including purr, trilling, hissing, growling/snarling, grunt, and respective different forms of meowing. [ 7 ] Their soundbox linguistic process, including placement of ears and fag end, relaxation of the solid body, and knead of the hand, are all indicators of mood. The fag end and ears are particularly crucial social signal mechanisms in cats. A brocaded fag end indicates a friendly greet, and flattened ears indicates aggression. Tail-raising besides indicates the big cat ‘s place in the group ‘s social hierarchy, with dominant individuals raising their tails less frequently than hyponym ones. [ 109 ] Feral cats are generally silent. [ 110 ] : 208 Nose-to-nose touch is besides a common greet and may be followed by social training, which is solicited by one of the cats raising and tilting its head. [ 102 ] Purring may have developed as an evolutionary advantage as a signaling mechanism of reassurance between mother cats and nursing kittens. Post-nursing cats frequently purr as a sign of contentment : when being petted, becoming loosen, [ 111 ] [ 112 ] or consume. The mechanism by which cats purr is elusive ; the kat has no unique anatomical reference feature that is clearly creditworthy for the sound. [ 113 ]


The addict papilla on a guy ‘s tongue act like a hairbrush to help clean and detangle fur Cats are known for spending considerable amounts of time licking their coats to keep them clean. [ 114 ] The caterpillar ‘s tongue has backward-facing spines about 500 μm retentive, which are called papilla. These hold keratin which makes them rigid [ 115 ] so the papilla act like a hairbrush. Some cats, peculiarly longhaired cats, occasionally vomit hairballs of fur that have collected in their stomach from grooming. These clumps of fur are normally allantoid and about 2–3 curium ( 3⁄4–1+1⁄4 in ) long. Hairballs can be prevented with remedies that ease elimination of the hair through the catgut, equally well as regular dress of the coat with a comb or rigid brush. [ 114 ]


A domestic cat ‘s arched back, raised fur and an open-mouthed hiss are signs of aggression Among domestic cats, males are more likely to fight than females. [ 116 ] Among feral cats, the most coarse argue for kat contend is competition between two males to mate with a female. In such cases, most fights are won by the heavier male. [ 117 ] Another park reason for fighting in domestic cats is the difficulty of establishing territories within a humble home. [ 116 ] Female cats besides fight over district or to defend their kittens. Neutering will decrease or eliminate this behavior in many cases, suggesting that the behavior is linked to sex hormones. [ 118 ] When cats become aggressive, they try to make themselves appear larger and more threaten by raising their fur, arching their backs, turning sideways and hissing or spitting. [ 119 ] Often, the ears are pointed down and back to avoid damage to the inner auricle and potentially listen for any changes behind them while focused forward. They may besides vocalize obstreperously and bare their teeth in an campaign to foster intimidate their adversary. Fights normally consist of grapple and delivering potent slaps to the face and body with the forepaw a well as bites. Cats besides throw themselves to the ground in a defensive model to rake their opponent ‘s belly with their potent back leg. [ 120 ] good damage is rare, as the fights are normally inadequate in duration, with the loser running away with little more than a few scratches to the side and ears. Fights for mating rights are typically more dangerous and injuries may include deep puncture wounds and lacerations. normally, good injuries from fighting are limited to infections of scratches and bites, though these can occasionally kill cats if untreated. In addition, bites are credibly the main route of transmission of feline immunodeficiency virus. [ 121 ] sexually active males are normally involved in many fights during their lives, and often have decidedly battered faces with obvious scars and cuts to their ears and nose. [ 122 ]

Hunting and feeding

A domestic vomit with its prey, a deermouse The determine and structure of cats ‘ cheek is insufficient to allow them to take in liquids using suction. consequently, when drinking they lap with the tongue to draw liquid up into their mouths. Lapping at a rate of four times a second, the computerized tomography touches the smooth tip of its tongue to the airfoil of the water, and cursorily retracts it like a corkscrew, drawing water up. [ 123 ] [ 124 ] feral cats and free-fed family cats consume several small meals in a day. The frequency and size of meals varies between individuals. They select food based on its temperature, smell and texture ; they dislike chilled foods and respond most strongly to moist foods rich in amino acids, which are alike to meat. Cats reject novel flavors ( a response termed neophobia ) and learn quickly to avoid foods that have tasted unpleasant in the past. [ 104 ] [ 125 ] It is besides a common misconception that cats like milk/cream, as they tend to avoid sugared food and milk. Most pornographic cats are lactose illiberal ; the sugar in milk is not easily digested and may cause piano stools or diarrhea. [ 126 ] Some besides develop leftover eat habits and like to eat or chew on things like wool, credit card, cables, newspaper, string, aluminum hydrofoil, or evening coal. This condition, em, can threaten their health, depending on the sum and perniciousness of the items eaten. [ 127 ] Cats hunt belittled prey, primarily birds and rodents, [ 128 ] and are frequently used as a form of pest control. [ 129 ] [ 130 ] Cats use two hunt strategies, either stalking raven actively, or waiting in ambush until an animal comes close adequate to be captured. [ 131 ] The scheme used depends on the prey species in the sphere, with cats waiting in ambush outdoor burrows, but tending to actively stalk birds. [ 132 ] : 153 domestic cats are a major predator of wildlife in the United States, killing an estimated 1.3 to 4.0 billion birds and 6.3 to 22.3 billion mammals per annum. [ 133 ] Certain species appear more susceptible than others ; for example, 30 % of house sparrow deathrate is linked to the domestic guy. [ 134 ] In the recovery of ringed robins ( Erithacus rubecula ) and dunnocks ( Prunella modularis ), 31 % of deaths were a consequence of big cat depredation. [ 135 ] In parts of North America, the presence of larger carnivores such as coyotes which prey on cats and other humble predators reduces the impression of predation by cats and other modest predators such as opossums and raccoons on bird numbers and variety show. [ 136 ] possibly the best-known element of cats ‘ hunting behavior, which is normally misunderstood and often appalls cat owners because it looks like anguish, is that cats frequently appear to “ play ” with raven by releasing it after capture. This cat and mouse behavior is due to an natural imperative to ensure that the prey is weak adequate to be killed without endangering the cat. [ 137 ]

Another ill understand chemical element of cat-o’-nine-tails hunting behavior is the presentation of prey to human guardians. One explanation is that cats adopt humans into their social group and partake excess kill with others in the group according to the dominance hierarchy, in which humans are reacted to as if they are at, or near, the lead. [ 138 ] Another explanation is that they attempt to teach their guardians to hunt or to help their human as if feeding “ an aged cat, or an awkward kitten ”. [ 139 ] This hypothesis is inconsistent with the fact that male cats besides bring home raven, despite males having negligible affair in raising kittens. [ 132 ] : 153


Play fight between kittens aged 14 weeks domestic cats, specially young kittens, are known for their love of dally. This behavior mimics hunting and is important in helping kittens learn to stalk, capture, and kill prey. [ 140 ] Cats besides engage in play active, with each other and with humans. This behavior may be a room for cats to practice the skills needed for real fight, and might besides reduce any fear they associate with launching attacks on early animals. [ 141 ] Cats besides tend to play with toys more when they are hungry. [ 142 ] Owing to the close similarity between turn and hunt, cats prefer to play with objects that resemble prey, such as small furred toys that move quickly, but quickly lose interest. They become habituated to a miniature they have played with ahead. [ 143 ] String is frequently used as a plaything, but if it is eaten, it can become catch at the base of the cat-o’-nine-tails ‘s tongue and then move into the intestines, a medical emergency which can cause unplayful illness, evening death. [ 144 ] Owing to the risks posed by cats eating string, it is sometimes replaced with a laser pointer ‘s dot, which cats may chase. [ 145 ]


When cats mate, the tom ( male ) bites the nape of the female ‘s neck as she assumes a place conducive to mating known as lordosis behavior Female cats, called queens, are polyestrous with several estrus cycles during a class, lasting normally 21 days. They are normally fix to mate between early February and August. [ 146 ] several males, called tomcats, are attracted to a female in heat. They fight over her, and the winner wins the correct to mate. At first, the female rejects the male, but finally, the female allows the male to mate. The female utters a loud howl as the male pulls out of her because a male computerized tomography ‘s penis has a band of about 120–150 backward-pointing penile spines, which are about 1 mm ( 1⁄32 in ) long ; upon coitus interruptus of the penis, the spines may provide the female with increased sexual foreplay, which acts to induce ovulation. [ 147 ] After match, the female cleans her vulva thoroughly. If a male attempts to mate with her at this detail, the female attacks him. After about 20 to 30 minutes, once the female is finished dress, the cycle will repeat. [ 148 ] Because ovulation is not constantly triggered by a individual entangle, females may not be impregnated by the first male with which they mate. [ 149 ] Furthermore, cats are superfecund ; that is, a female may mate with more than one male when she is in heat, with the result that different kittens in a litter may have different fathers. [ 148 ] The morula forms 124 hours after creation. At 148 hours, early blastocysts shape. At 10–12 days, implantation occurs. [ 150 ] The pregnancy of queens lasts between 64 and 67 days, with an modal of 65 days. [ 146 ] [ 151 ] radiography of a meaning cat. The skeletons of two fetuses are visible on the leave and right of the uterus . A neonate kitten Data on the generative capacity of more than 2,300 free-ranging queens were collected during a survey between May 1998 and October 2000. They had one to six kittens per litter, with an median of three kittens. They produced a think of of 1.4 litters per class, but a maximum of three litters in a class. Of 169 kittens, 127 died before they were six months old due to a injury caused in most cases by pawl attacks and road accidents. [ 9 ] The first base litter is normally smaller than subsequent litters. Kittens are weaned between six and seven weeks of age. Queens normally reach sexual maturity at 5–10 months, and males at 5–7 months. This varies depending on engender. [ 148 ] Kittens reach puberty at the old age of 9–10 months. [ 146 ] Cats are ready to go to new homes at about 12 weeks of age, when they are ready to leave their mother. [ 152 ] They can be surgically sterilized ( spayed or castrated ) deoxyadenosine monophosphate early as seven weeks to limit undesirable reproduction. [ 153 ] This operation besides prevents undesirable sex-related behavior, such as aggression, territory marker ( spraying urine ) in males and yowling ( calling ) in females. traditionally, this operating room was performed at around six to nine months of age, but it is increasingly being performed before puberty, at about three to six months. [ 154 ] In the United States, about 80 % of family cats are neutered. [ 155 ]

Lifespan and health

The average life of positron emission tomography cats has risen in recent decades. In the early 1980s, it was about seven years, [ 156 ] : 33 [ 157 ] rising to 9.4 years in 1995 [ 156 ] : 33 and about 15 years in 2021. Some cats have been reported as surviving into their 30s, [ 158 ] with the oldest know computerized tomography, Creme Puff, dying at a affirm senesce of 38. [ 159 ] neutering increases liveliness anticipation : one sketch found castrated male cats live doubly adenine long as integral males, while spayed female cats live 62 % longer than intact females. [ 156 ] : 35 Having a vomit alter confers health benefits, because castrated males can not develop testicular cancer, spayed females can not develop uterine or ovarian cancer, and both have a reduced risk of mammary cancer. [ 160 ]


About 250 inheritable familial disorders have been identified in cats, many exchangeable to human connatural errors of metamorphosis. [ 161 ] The high floor of similarity among the metabolism of mammals allows many of these feline diseases to be diagnosed using genetic tests that were in the first place developed for use in humans, vitamin a well as the use of cats as animal models in the study of the human diseases. [ 162 ] [ 163 ] Diseases affecting domestic cats include acute accent infections, parasitic infestations, injuries, and chronic diseases such as kidney disease, thyroid disease, and arthritis. Vaccinations are available for many infectious diseases, as are treatments to eliminate parasites such as worms, ticks, and fleas. [ 164 ]



The domestic cat is a cosmopolitan species and occurs across a lot of the world. [ 59 ] It is adaptable and now present on all continents except Antarctica, and on 118 of the 131 independent groups of islands, even on the sequester Kerguelen Islands. [ 165 ] [ 166 ] Due to its ability to thrive in about any terrestrial habitat, it is among the universe ‘s most incursive species. [ 167 ] It lives on small islands with no homo inhabitants. [ 168 ] Feral cats can live in forests, grasslands, tundra, coastal areas, agricultural state, scrublands, urban areas, and wetlands. [ 169 ] The unwantedness that leads to the domestic kat being treated as an invasive species is double. On one hand, as it is short altered from the wildcat, it can promptly interbreed with the wildcat well. This hybridization poses a danger to the genic peculiarity of some beast populations, particularly in Scotland and Hungary, possibly besides the iberian Peninsula, and where protect natural areas are in close proximity to human-dominated landscapes, such as Kruger National Park in South Africa. [ 170 ] [ 56 ] On the other hand, and possibly more obviously, its initiation to places where no native felines are introduce contributes to the decline of native species. [ 171 ]


feral cats are domestic cats that were born in or have reverted to a baseless country. They are unfamiliar with and leery of humans and roam freely in urban and rural areas. [ 10 ] The numbers of feral cats is not known, but estimates of the United States feral population compass from twenty-five to sixty million. [ 10 ] Feral cats may live alone, but most are found in big colonies, which occupy a specific territory and are normally associated with a source of food. [ 172 ] celebrated feral kat colonies are found in Rome around the Colosseum and Forum Romanum, with cats at some of these sites being fed and given aesculapian attention by volunteers. [ 173 ] Public attitudes toward feral cats vary widely, from seeing them as free-ranging pets to regarding them as vermin. [ 174 ] One common approach path to reducing the feral guy population is termed “ trap-neuter-return ”, where the cats are trapped, neutered, immunized against diseases such as rabies and the feline panleukopenia and leukemia viruses, and then released. [ 175 ] Before releasing them rear into their feral colonies, the attending veterinarian often nips the peak off one ear to mark it as neutered and inoculated, since these cats may be trapped again. Volunteers continue to feed and give caution to these cats throughout their lives. Given this support, their lifespans are increased, and behavior and nuisance problems caused by rival for food are reduced. [ 172 ] Some feral cats can be successfully socialized and ‘re-tamed ‘ for borrowing ; young cats, specially kittens [ 176 ] and cats that have had anterior experience and contact with humans are the most receptive to these efforts .

impact on wildlife

On islands, birds can contribute deoxyadenosine monophosphate much as 60 % of a cat ‘s diet. [ 177 ] In about all cases, the cat can not be identified as the sole lawsuit for reducing the numbers of island birds, and in some instances, eradication of computerized tomography has caused a “ mesopredator publish “ effect ; [ 178 ] where the suppression of top carnivores creates an abundance of smaller predators that cause a severe refuse in their shared raven. domestic cats are a put up gene to the decay of many species, a gene that has ultimately led, in some cases, to extinction. The South Island piopio, Chatham fulminate, [ 135 ] and the New Zealand merganser [ 179 ] are a few from a farseeing list, with the most extreme case being the flightless Lyall ‘s wren, which was driven to extinction only a few years after its discovery. [ 180 ] [ 181 ] One feral big cat in New Zealand killed 102 New Zealand lesser short-tailed bats in seven days. [ 182 ] In the US, feral and free-ranging domestic cats kill an calculate 6.3 – 22.3 billion mammals per annum. [ 133 ] In Australia, the impact of cats on mammal populations is even greater than the affect of habitat loss. [ 183 ] More than one million reptiles are killed by feral cats each day, representing 258 species. [ 184 ] Cats have contributed to the extinction of the Navassa curly-tailed lizard and Chioninia coctei. [ 171 ]

interaction with humans

A long-haired calico cat sat in the lap of a man who is sat cross-legged on the floor. A vomit sleeping on a world ‘s lap Cats are common pets throughout the worldly concern, and their cosmopolitan population as of 2007 exceeded 500 million. [ 185 ] Cats have been used for millennium to control rodents, notably around grain stores and aboard ships, and both uses extend to the present day. [ 186 ] [ 187 ] angstrom well as being kept as pets, cats are besides used in the external fur deal [ 188 ] and leather industries for making coats, hats, blankets, and stuffed toys ; [ 189 ] and shoes, gloves, and musical instruments respectively [ 190 ] ( about 24 cats are needed to make a cat-fur coat ). [ 191 ] This use has been outlawed in the United States since 2000 and in the European Union ( deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as the United Kingdom ) since 2007. [ 192 ] Cat pelts have been used for superstitious purposes as depart of the practice of witchcraft, [ 193 ] and are silent made into blankets in Switzerland as traditional medicine thought to cure rheumatism. [ 194 ] A few attempts to build a cat census have been made over the years, both through associations or national and external organizations ( such as that of the canadian Federation of Humane Societies [ 195 ] ) and over the Internet, [ 196 ] [ 197 ] but such a undertaking does not seem simple to achieve. General estimates for the global population of domestic cats range widely from anywhere between 200 million to 600 million. [ 198 ] [ 199 ] [ 200 ] [ 201 ] [ 202 ] Walter Chandoha made his career photographing cats after his 1949 images of Loco, an particularly charm stray taken in, were published around the populace. He is reported to have photographed 90,000 cats during his career and maintained an archive of 225,000 images that he drew from for publications during his life. [ 203 ]


A cat show is a judge event in which the owners of cats compete to win titles in respective cat-registering organizations by entering their cats to be judged after a breed standard. [ 204 ] It is much required that a cat-o’-nine-tails must be goodly and vaccinated in rate to participate in a kat display. [ 204 ] Both pedigree and non- thoroughbred companion ( “ moggy ” ) cats are admissible, although the rules differ depending on the arrangement. Competing cats are compared to the applicable breed standard, and assessed for temperament. [ 204 ]


Cats can be infected or infested with viruses, bacteria, fungus, protozoans, arthropods or worms that can transmit diseases to humans. [ 205 ] In some cases, the cat exhibits no symptoms of the disease. [ 206 ] The like disease can then become discernible in a human. The likelihood that a person will become diseased depends on the age and immune status of the person. Humans who have cats living in their home or in conclude association are more likely to become infect. Others might besides acquire infections from computerized tomography feces and parasites exiting the cat ‘s consistency. [ 205 ] [ 207 ] Some of the infections of most concern include salmonella, cat-scratch disease and toxoplasmosis. [ 206 ]

history and mythology

In ancient Egypt, cats were worshipped, and the goddess Bastet frequently depicted in cat shape, sometimes taking on the war-like aspect of a lioness. The greek historian Herodotus reported that killing a caterpillar was prevent, and when a family kat died, the entire family mourned and shaved their eyebrows. Families took their abruptly cats to the sacred city of Bubastis, where they were embalmed and buried in sacred repositories. Herodotus expressed astonishment at the domestic cats in Egypt, because he had entirely ever seen wildcats. [ 208 ] ancient Greeks and Romans kept weasels as pets, which were seen as the ideal rodent-killers. The earliest apparent evidence of the Greeks having domestic cats comes from two coins from Magna Graecia dating to the mid-fifth hundred BC showing Iokastos and Phalanthos, the fabled founders of Rhegion and Taras respectively, playing with their pet cats. The usual ancient Greek bible for ‘cat ‘ was ailouros, meaning ‘thing with the waving tail ‘. Cats are rarely mentioned in ancient greek literature. Aristotle remarked in his History of Animals that “ female cats are naturally lecherous. ” The Greeks late syncretized their own goddess Artemis with the egyptian goddess Bastet, adopting Bastet ‘s associations with cats and ascribing them to Artemis. In Ovid ‘s Metamorphoses, when the deities flee to Egypt and take animal forms, the goddess Diana turns into a cat. [ 209 ] [ 210 ] Cats finally displaced weasels as the pest control of option because they were more pleasant to have around the theater and were more enthusiastic hunters of mouse. During the Middle Ages, many of Artemis ‘s associations with cats were grafted onto the Virgin Mary. Cats are frequently shown in icons of Annunciation and of the Holy Family and, according to italian folklore, on the lapp nox that Mary gave birth to Jesus, a computerized tomography in Bethlehem gave birth to a kitten. [ 211 ] domestic cats were spread throughout much of the rest of the global during the Age of Discovery, as ships ‘ cats were carried on sailing ships to control shipboard rodents and as good-luck charms. [ 50 ] several ancient religions believed cats are exalted souls, companions or guides for humans, that are all-knowing but mute sol they can not influence decisions made by humans. In Japan, the maneki neko cat-o’-nine-tails is a symbol of good fortune. [ 212 ] In Norse mythology, Freyja, the goddess of sexual love, beauty, and richness, is depicted as riding a chariot drawn by cats. [ 213 ] In jewish caption, the beginning kat was living in the house of the first valet Adam as a pet that got rid of mouse. The big cat was once partnering with the first gear frump before the latter broke an oath they had made which resulted in hostility between the descendants of these two animals. It is besides written that neither cats nor foxes are represented in the water, while every other animal has an incarnation species in the water. [ 214 ] Although no species are sacred in Islam, cats are revered by Muslims. Some western writers have stated Muhammad had a favorite guy, Muezza. [ 215 ] He is reported to have loved cats then much, “ he would do without his cloak rather than disturb one that was sleeping on it ”. [ 216 ] The story has no origin in early on Muslim writers, and seems to confuse a narrative of a late Sufi saint, Ahmed ar-Rifa’i, centuries after Muhammad. [ 217 ] One of the companions of Muhammad was known as Abu Hurayrah ( “ don of the kitten ” ), in reference to his attested affection to cats. [ 218 ]

Superstitions and rituals

Some cultures are superstitious about black cats, ascribing either good or bad fortune to them many cultures have negative superstitions about cats. An model would be the impression that encountering a black cat ( “ crossing one ‘s path ” ) leads to badly luck, or that cats are witches ‘ familiars used to augment a wiccan ‘s powers and skills. The kill of cats in Medieval Ypres, Belgium, is commemorated in the innocuous contemporary Kattenstoet ( cat parade ). [ 219 ] In mid-16th century France, cats would be burned alive as a form of entertainment. According to Norman Davies, the assemble people “ shrieked with laughter as the animals, howling with pain, were singed, roasted, and last carbonized “. [ 220 ] James Frazer wrote that “ It was the custom-made to burn a basket, barrel, or sack full of know cats, which was hang from a grandiloquent mast in the midst of the bonfire ; sometimes a flim-flam was burned. The people collected the embers and ashes of the open fire and took them home, believing that they brought good fortune. The french kings often witnessed these spectacles and even lit the bonfire with their own hands. In 1648 Louis XIV, crowned with a wreath of roses and carrying a crowd of roses in his pass, kindled the fire, danced at it and partake of the feast afterwards in the township hall. But this was the end occasion when a monarch presided at the summer solstice bonfire in Paris. At Metz summer solstice fires were lighted with capital pomp on the esplanade, and a twelve cats, enclosed in wicker cages, were burned active in them, to the entertainment of the people. similarly, at Gap, in the department of the Hautes-Alpes, cats used to be roasted over the summer solstice bonfire. ” [ 221 ] According to a myth in many cultures, cats have multiple lives. In many countries, they are believed to have nine lives, but in Italy, Germany, Greece, Brazil and some spanish-speaking regions, they are said to have seven lives, [ 222 ] [ 223 ] while in Arabic traditions, the number of lives is six. [ 224 ] The myth is attributed to the natural pliancy and speed cats exhibit to escape dangerous situations. [ citation needed ] besides lending credence to this myth is the fact that falling cats frequently land on their feet, using an natural correct automatic to twist their bodies around. Nonetheless, cats can hush be injured or killed by a high decrease. [ 225 ]

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