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Facts about cats

All cats are descendants of one type of cat

Domestic cat - picture recorded from Boomer the Crazy Cat
Domestic cat – originally not so domestic, but now even more popular than pet dogs.
African wildcat - picture from Big Cats online
African wildcat – the Felis silvestris species from which domestic cats are descendants.

Whether your kitty meows or roars, it is a descendant of the Felis silvestris species, which is divided into the African wildcat, European wildcat and Steppe wildcat.

The smallest of the descendants is the rusty-spotted cat found in Sri Lanka. It is about half the size of the domestic cat. The largest is the tiger. The male Siberian or Amur Tiger has a total body length in excess of 3m (10 ft) and weighs up to 300kg (660 lb).

The lion is the king of the cats. It stands out from the other cats, not just in its distinctive appearance but also in being the only felid that lives in organised social groups. Adult male lions weigh up to 225kg (500 lb) and grow up to 3m (10 ft) in body length.

The fastest cat, the cheetah, is also the fastest land animal. It can reach 95 km/h (60 mph) over short distances. Unlike other big cats it does not roar – it makes high pitched yelps, barks and chirruping sounds. And like your kitty, it does purr.

Domestic cats purr at about 26 cycles per second, the same frequency as an idling diesel engine. A domestic cat hears frequencies up to about 65 kHz, humans up to 20 kHz. Its sense of smell is about 14 times stronger than that of humans.

In the rear of a cat’s eye is a light-reflecting layer called the tapetum lucidum, which causes cats’ eyes to glow at night. This reflecting layer absorbs light 6 times more effectively than human eyes do, allowing a cat to see better than humans at night.

There are more than 3000 types of domestic cats, but only 8% are pedigree. And, unlike other cats, they are found all over the world… in abundance. In the US, there are more cats than dogs, and people annually spend more on cat food than on baby food.

Domestic cats – or any other cats – do not have nine lives. They also do not always land on their feet. It is said that a cat that falls out of a 20-story building has a better chance of surviving than when falling out of a 7-story building because it takes a cat at least 7 stories to co-ordinate itself to land on its feet.

Cats step with both left legs, then both right legs when they walk or run. The only other animals to do this are the giraffe, camel and the maned wolf.

The tails of wild cats almost never lift higher than their backs.

Cats cannot see directly below their heads that is why they do not see the food when you put it under their nose. Keep this in mind when you’re feeding your kitty.

Meow or roar, the cat is a hunter

Simba - a domestic cat from Germany
All cats are direct descendants of the wildcat – even your kitty. This is Simba, a purebred Maine Coon from Germany.

Of the 36 species of wild cats, the tiger is the largest, weighing up to 300kg (660 lb).

King of the beasts – respected and famous even before there were movies.

The cheetah – the fastest land animal. It also is the only cat that cannot retract its claws.