We all know that cats are loving and truly wonderful creatures. These days, it
is not out of the ordinary to see a cat in virtually every other home, sleeping in the window or cuddling up on the laps of their owners. Although cats have been popular pets for as long as most can remember, they
were not domesticated less than 5,000 years or so ago. Domestication took place in the valley of the Nile, which is what research tells us today.
In the beginning, people were very grateful to cats and encouraged them to stay with them by feeding them various scraps of food. Once they were fed and perceived humans to be no threat, the cats would move in permanently with their human owners. As time went by, even the wildest of cat would allows humans to approach him, often times even hold and touch as well.
In those days, cats were very loyal and endearing pets.
They proved to be great hunters, as they done their sleeping in short periods and were much easier to wake up than dogs. Cats also have better night vision than dogs, and much better hearing as well. If someone moved through the house or if they heard suspicious noises, they would wake while dogs would sleep right through it. Humans loved having cats around, and they seemed to get along good with dogs as well.
These days, cats are used for both companionship and show. They are not used much at all for hunting mice and rodent anymore at all. There are a lot of breeds available, from the traditional alley cat to the well known Siamese. All breeds are unique in their own way, and will provide you with years of companionship if you take care of them.
Before you get a kitten or older cat, you will first want to examine the source. If you are getting the kitten from a breeder,
you will want to make sure that the breeder has a reputable reputation. you
will also want to ensure that the cattery is clean and in good shape. The kittens that are still there
should not be overcrowded, and their surroundings should be clean. The litter boxes there should be kept up and both the food and water dish should be clean and full.
The kittens should not be caged, instead free to run around. All cats that are there should appear healthy, with shiny coats and none of their ribs showing.
When you get your kitten, it should be used to being touched and handled. The kitten should be sweet, not afraid in the least. Kittens that have been handled young normally have a better temperament. The better breeders wont allow their kittens to leave the nest until they are around 12 weeks old, with some waiting until the kittens are 16 weeks. By doing this, breeders ensure that the kitten is in good health and his immune system has properly developed.
There is no mistaken the fact that cats are great to own. You can get a kitten from a reputable breeder, through a local newspaper, or an adoption agency. Cats can also be obtained from a local pound, although people normally do not
like to choose this option. No matter which way you decide to pursue, you should
always make sure that your cat is healthy. If you get a healthy cat, you wont
have a lot of problems later on down the road. Healthy cats were taken care of
and normally have everything up to date including their vaccinations.
| fossil_range ate Oligocene
| image Tiger-zoologie.de0001 22.JPG
| image_caption Tiger
| regnum Animal
| phylum chordate
| classis Mammal
| ordo Carnivora
| subordo Feliformia
| familia Felidae
| familia_authority Johann Fischer von Waldheim
| subdivision_ranks Subfamilies
lt;ref name"McKenna & Bell">lt;/ref>
is the Biology
family of the cats
a member of this family is called a felid
The most familiar felid is the domestic cat
which first became associated with humans about 10,000 years ago; but the family includes all other wild cats, including the big cat
Extant felids belong to one of two subfamilies: Pantherinae
(which includes the tiger
and the leopard
, and Felinae
(which includes the cougar
s, the ocelot
and the domestic cat).
The first felids emerged during the Oligocene
about 25 million years ago. In prehistoric
times, there was also a third subfamily, the Machairodontinae
that included the "saber-toothed cats
, such as the well known [[Smilodon]]
Other superficially cat-like mammals, such as the marsupial sabertooth [[Thylacosmilus]]
or the Nimravidae
are not included in Felidae despite convergent evolution
Felids are the strictest carnivore
of the 13 terrestrial families in the order (biology) Carnivora
although the three families of marine mammals comprising the superfamily Pinniped
a are as carnivorous as the felids.
There are 41 known species of felids in the world today, all of which are descended from the same ancestor.
originated in Asia and spread across continent
by crossing land bridge
. Testing of mitochondrial DNA
and nuclear DNA
by Warren Johnson and Stephen OBrien of the US National Cancer Institute
demonstrated the ancient cats evolved into eight main lineages that diverged in the course of at least 10 migrations (in both directions) from continent to continent via the Bering land bridge
and Isthmus of Panama
with the [[Panthera]]
genus being the oldest and the [[Felis]]
genus being the youngest. They estimated 60% of the modern species of cats developed within the last million years.
Most felids have a haploid number of 18 or 19. New World cats (those in Central and South America) have a haploid number of 18, possibly due to the combination of two smaller chromosome into a larger one.] [lt;/ref> Prior to this discovery, biologists had been largely unable to establish a family tree of cats from the fossil record because the fossils of different cat species all look very much alike, differing primarily in size.
The felids closest relatives are thought to be the Prionodon ,] [lt;/ref> and at one remove the group of civet , hyena , mongoose , and Eupleridae ] [lt;/ref> with whom they share the Suborder Feliformia Most felid species share a genetic anomaly that prevents them from tasting sweetness.] [lt;/ref>
Felids are obligate carnivores requiring a diet of meat and organs to survive. Aside from the lion wild felids are generally solitary; feral domestic cats do, however, form feral cat colony Cheetahs are also known to live and hunt in groups. Felids are generally secretive animals, are often nocturnal, and live in relatively inaccessible habitats. Around three-quarters of cat species live in forest d terrain, and they are generally agile climbers. However, felids may be found in almost any environment, with some species being native to mountain us terrain or desert .
Wild felids are native to every continent except Australasia and Antarctica
Image Smilodon01.jpg (reconstruction)]]
Image Panthera leo Kruger Skull.jpg
Felids tend to have lithe and flexible bodies with muscular limbs. In the great majority of species, the tail is between a third and a half the length of the body, although there are some exceptions (for example, the bobcat and margay . The limbs are digitigrade with soft toe pads and protractible claws. Compared with most other mammals, the head of cats is highly domed with a short muzzle. The skull possesses wide zygomatic arch s and a large sagittal crest both of which allow for the attachment of strong jaw muscles.
The various species of felids vary greatly in size. One of the smallest is the black-footed cat measuring long, while the largest in the wild is the tiger which can attain up to in length [Vratislav Mazak: Der Tiger Nachdruck der 3. Auflage von 1983. Westarp Wissenschaften Hohenwarsleben, 2004 ISBN 3-89432-759-6] and weigh
The fur of felids takes many different forms, being much thicker in those species living in cold environments, such as the snow leopard The color of felids is also highly variable—although brown to golden fur is common in most species—usually marked with distinctive spots, stripes, or rosettes. The only felids to lack significant markings are the lion, Cougar caracal and jaguarundi Many species exhibit melanism in which some individuals have an all-black coat.
The tongue of felids is covered with horny Filiform papilla which rasp meat from prey and aid in grooming.
All felids have Protraction claws, in other words they have the ability to protract their claws from a retracted, at-rest position. Although in a few species, such as the cheetah the claws remain visible even when at rest (retracted). The claws are retracted when the animal is relaxed and protracted when they are in use. They are attached to the terminal phalanges with a tough ligament when the animal contracts muscles in the toe to straighten it, the ligament forces the claw outwards. [lt;/ref>
Cats have five toes on their forefeet and four on their hindfeet, reflecting their reliance on gripping and holding down their prey with their claws.In Felidae, the baculum is shorter than in Canidae ] [lt;/ref>
File MSU V2P2 - Panthera vs Felis 1.png
File MSU V2P2 - Panthera vs Felis 2.png
Felids have relatively large eyes, situated to provide binocular vision Their night vision is especially good due to the presence of a tapetum lucidum which reflects light back inside the eyeball, and gives felid eyes their distinctive shine. As a result, the eyes of felids are about six times more light sensitive than those of humans, and many species are at least partially nocturnal The retina of felids also contains a relatively high proportion of rod cell , adapted for distinguishing moving objects in conditions of dim light, which are complemented by the presence of cone cells for sensing color during the day. However, felids appear to have relatively poor color vision in comparison with humans.
This is explained by the fact that felids see moving objects more "colorfully" than still objects, but in an intact environment, are unable to distinguish color tones alone (like turquoise (color) compared to teal for example).
The pinna (anatomy) of felids are also large, and especially sensitive to high-frequency sounds in the smaller cats. This sensitivity allows them to locate small rodent prey; cats themselves do not apparently produce such sounds.
Felids also have a highly developed sense of smell, although not to the degree seen in canidae this is further supplemented by the presence of a vomeronasal organ in the roof of the mouth, allowing the animal to "taste" the air. The use of this organ is associated with the Flehmen response in which the upper lip is curled upwards. Most felids are unable to taste sweetness due to a mutated gene in their taste buds. Exceptions include members of the genera [[Leopardus]]and [[Otocolobus]]
Felids possess highly sensitive whiskers set deep within the skin, which provide the cat with sensory information about the slightest air movement around it. For this reason, whiskers are very helpful to nocturnal hunters.
Most felids are able to land on their feet after a fall, an ability that relies on vision and the equilibrioception acting together.
Felids have a relatively small number of teeth compared with other carnivorans, a feature associated with their short muzzles. With a few exceptions, such as the lynx they have the dentition The canine tooth are large, reaching exceptional size in the extinct saber-tooth cat species. The upper third premolar and lower molar are adapted as carnassial teeth, suited to tearing and cutting flesh.
The jaws of felids can only move vertically. This prevents them from being able to mastication but makes it easier for their powerful masseter muscle jaw muscles to hold struggling prey.
All felids share a broadly similar set of vocalisations, but with some variation between species. In particular, the pitch of calls varies, with larger species producing deeper sounds; overall, the frequency of felid calls ranges between 50 and 10,000 hertz.
All felids are able to spit, hiss, growling snarl, and mew. The first four sounds are all used in an aggressive context. The spitting sound is a sudden burst, typically used when making threats, especially towards other species. The hiss is a prolonged, atonal sound used in close range to other members of the species, when the animal is uncertain whether to attack or retreat. Growling is used to indicate a willingness to attack, while the higher-pitched snarl is used when adopting a defensive posture.
The mewing sound may be used either as a close-contact call, typically between a mother and kittens, or as a louder, longer distance call, primarily during the mating season. The acoustic properties of the mew vary somewhat between different felid species; extreme examples include the whistling sound made by cougars and the mew-grunt of lions and tigers.
Most felids seem to be able to purr vibrating the muscles in their larynx to produce a distinctive buzzing sound. In the wild, purring is used while a mother is caring for kittens. Precisely which species of felid are able to purr is a matter of debate, but the sound has been recorded in most of the smaller species, as well as the cheetah and cougar, and may also be found in the big cat .
Other common felid vocalisations include the gurgle, wah-wah, prusten and roar (utterance) The first two sounds are found only among the Felinae (small cats). Gurgling is a quiet sound used during meetings between friendly individuals, as well as during courtship and when nursing kittens. The wah-wah is a short, deep-sounding call used in close contact, and is not found in all species (it is, for example, absent in the domestic cat).
In contrast, prusten and roaring are found only in big cats. Prusten is a short, soft, snorting sound reported in tigers, jaguars, snow leopards, and clouded leopards; it is used during contact between friendly individuals. The roar is an especially loud call with a distinctive pattern that depends on the species. The ability to roar comes from an elongated and specially adapted larynx and hyoid bone
[lt;/ref> When air passes through the larynx on the way from the lungs, the cartilage walls of the larynx vibrate, producing sound. Only lions, leopards, tigers and jaguars are truly able to roar, although the loudest mews of snow leopards have a similar, if less structured, sound.] Tigers and jaguars have a very snarly roar, while the roar of leopards and lions is much more throaty.
Social and territorial behavior
Traditionally, five subfamilies have been distinguished within the Felidae based on Phenotype features: the Felinae the Pantherinae the Acinonychinae (cheetahs), the extinct Machairodontinae and the extinct Proailurinae
Genetic research has provided a basis for a more concise classification for the living members of the cat family based on genotypical groupings.
[lt;/ref>] [lt;/ref> Specifically, eight genetic lineages have been identified:] [Johnson, W. E. and OBrien S. J. (1997). Phylogenetic reconstruction of the Felidae using 16S rRNA and NADH-5 mitochondrial genes Journal of Molecular Evolution (1997) 44: S98–116. lt;/ref>
*Lineage 1 [[Pantherinae]]: [[Panthera]] [[Snow Leopard|Uncia]] [[Neofelis]]
*Lineage 2: [[Pardofelis]] [[Catopuma]]
*Lineage 3: [[Leptailurus]] [[Caracal]] [[Profelis]]
*Lineage 4: [[Leopardus]]
*Lineage 5: [[Lynx]]
*Lineage 6: [[Puma (genus)|Puma]] [[Acinonyx]]
*Lineage 7: [[Prionailurus]] [[Otocolobus]]
*Lineage 8: [[Felis]]
The last four lineages are more related to each other than to any of the first four, and so form a clade within the Felinae subfamily of family Felidae.
*** Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus
** Genus [[Prionailurus]]Lineage 7]
*** Leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis
**** Iriomote cat (Prionailurus bengalensis iriomotensis
*** Flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps
*** Rusty-spotted cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus
*** Fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus
** Genus [[Otocolobus]]Lineage 7]
*** Pallas's cat (Otocolobus manul
** Genus [[Felis]]Lineage 8]
*** Chinese mountain cat (Felis bieti
*** cat (Felis catus
*** Jungle cat (Felis chaus
*** Sand cat (Felis margarita
*** Black-footed cat (Felis nigripes
*** Wildcat (Felis silvestris
Image HansomeLion 002.jpg ]
Image Cheetah4.jpg ]
Image Standing jaguar.jpg ]
Image LuchsP1050413.jpg ]
Image Margaykat Leopardus wiedii.jpg ]
Image Wildkatze.jpg ]
The following is the complete list of genera within family Felidae, grouped according to the traditional phenotypical classification with the corresponding genotypical lineages indicated. It includes all the currently living species of cats.
* Subfamily Pantherinae
** Genus [[Panthera]]Lineage 1]
*** Lion (Panthera leo
*** Jaguar (Panthera onca
*** Leopard (Panthera pardus
*** Tiger (Panthera tigris
** Genus [[Uncia (genus)|Uncia]]Lineage 1]
*** Snow leopard (Uncia uncia
** Genus [[Neofelis]]Lineage 1]
*** Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa
*** Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi
* Subfamily Felinae
** Genus [[Pardofelis]]Lineage 2] — since 2006, this genus is defined as also comprising Bay cat and Asian golden cat;
*** Marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata
** Genus [[Catopuma]]Lineage 2]
*** Bay cat (Catopuma badia — Synonym (taxonomy) Pardofelis badia
*** Asian golden cat (Catopuma temminckii — syn. Pardofelis temminckii
** Genus [[Leptailurus]]Lineage 3]
*** Serval (Leptailurus serval
** Genus [[Caracal]]Lineage 3]
*** Caracal (Caracal caracal
** Genus [[Profelis]]Lineage 3]
*** African golden cat (Profelis aurata
** Genus [[Leopardus]]Lineage 4]
*** Pantanal cat (Leopardus braccatus
*** Colocolo (Leopardus colocolo
*** Geoffroy's cat (Leopardus geoffroyi
*** Kodkod (Leopardus guigna
*** Andean mountain cat (Leopardus jacobitus
*** Pampas cat (Leopardus pajeros
*** Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis
*** Oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus
*** Margay (Leopardus wiedii
** Genus [[Lynx]]Lineage 5]
*** Canadian lynx (Lynx canadensis
*** Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx
*** Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus
*** Bobcat (Lynx rufus
** Genus [[Puma (genus)|Puma]]Lineage 6]
*** Cougar (Puma concolor
*** Jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi
** Genus [[Acinonyx]]lt;ref>http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3/browse.asp?id14000003
Image Panthera leo atrox Sergiodlarosa.jpg was one of the abundant Pleistocene megafauna a wide variety of very large mammals that went extinct about 10,000 years ago.
[http://www.museum.state.il.us/exhibits/larson/ice_age_animals.html# Ice Age Animals], Illinois State Museum]]]
Possibly the oldest known true felid ([[Proailurus]] lived in the late Oligocene and early Miocene epochs. During the Miocene, it gave way to [[Pseudaelurus]] Pseudaelurusis believed to be the latest common ancestor of the two extant subfamilies and the extinct subfamily, Machairodontinae This group, better known as the saber-tooth cats, became extinct in the Late Pleistocene era. The group includes the genera [[Smilodon]] [[Machairodus]]and [[Homotherium]] The Metailurini were originally classified as a distinct tribe within the Machairodontinae, though they count as members of the Felinae in recent times. [lt;/ref>] [lt;/ref> Most extinct cat-like animals, once regarded as members of the Felidae, later turned out to be members of related, but distinct, families: the "false sabretooths" Nimravidae and Barbourofelidae As a result, sabretooth "cats" seem to belong to four different lineages. The total number of fossil felids known to science is low compared to other carnivoran families, such as dog and bear . Felidae radiated quite recently and most of the extant species are relatively young.
Genera of the Felidae
The list follows McKenna and Bells Classification of Mammalsfor prehistoric genera (1997)
and Wozencraft (2005) in Wilson and Reeders [[Mammal Species of the World]]for extant genera. Pseudaelurusis included in the Felinae as per McKenna & Bell, despite its basal position in felid evolution. Inconsistent with McKenna and Bell, three additional prehistoric genera, [[Miracinonyx]] [[Lokontailurus]]and [[Xenosmilus]] are listed. [[Sivapanthera]]is included in the Felinae (not Acinonychinae) and [[Ischrosmilus]]is included in the genus [[Smilodon]]
Image Bengalkatze.jpg ([[Prionailurus]]]]
Image Ocelot.jpg ([[Leopardus]]]]
Image Megantereon cultridens.jpg ]]
**†[[Machairodus]](Late Miocene, Africa, Eurasia, North America)
**†[[Homotherium]](Pliocene, Pleistocene; Africa, Eurasia, North America)
**†[[Xenosmilus]](Pleistocene; North America)
**†[[Lokotunjailurus]](Latest Miocene; Africa)
**†[[Miomachairodus]](Middle Miocene; Africa, Asia)
**†[[Paramachairodus]](Late Miocene; Eurasia, Africa)
**†[[Megantereon]](Pliocene, Pleistocene; North America, Africa, Eurasia)
**†[[Smilodon]](Late Pliocene to Late Pleistocene; North- and South America)
Category Mammal families
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