As cat lovers, we should love all kinds of cats, both personally and on principle. So the difference in the types of species of cats should not matter. Big cat species (e.g. lions, tigers, leopards, and cheetahs) or small cats, wild cats or domesticated cats, they are all the same, belonging in the same family – Felidae.
However, as people, we do have preferences. Some cat species we like, some we don’t. Some cat species we find adorable, some just plain scare us. This is natural. What is important is that we know more about our pet’s family in order to understand our cats better.
“What Kind Of Cat Do I Have?”
At one point, you may have asked this question yourself. Unless you have a flair for exotic animals, your cat is most probably a domestic or house cat (F. silvestris catus). The domestic cat species are small carnivorous mammals that are valued for the companionship that they provide and their ability to hunt vermin.
Did you know that they have been with humans for at least 9,500 years? In Ancient Egypt, they were considered as sacred animals, the guardians of the afterlife, and you can see many ancient hieroglyphics of cats and cat-headed human figures.
Although small, the house cat species are excellent hunters. They have a very keen sense of smell, sharp eyesight, and agility and speed which make it look very easy for them to spring at their prey and make the catch.
You may not know this but your cat is a very intelligent creature. It might seem to you like your cat does nothing in the house except lazing around. However, a cat is very susceptible to training. It can even obey simple commands as dogs do.
It is just that cats have a fiercely independent nature. Unlike dogs, they won’t stick by your side for a length of time and instead find other ways of entertaining themselves. Most likely, they spend most of their time outdoors, hunting or doing whatever it is that cats do, and because you don’t see it, you naturally assume that all your cat does is sleep and eat.
Common Characteristics Of All Cat Species
All kinds of cats share common characteristics that help identify them as belonging to the same family. Here are some of them:
True cat species are carnivores and as carnivores, they are on top of the biological food chain. Their teeth are sharp and almost entirely comprised of incisors to cut and tear meat.
Cats possess strong jaws, which they use to disable their prey. Most big cat species, like the cheetah, use their strong jaws to lock onto the necks of their prey, cutting off the breath and basically killing the animal through suffocation.
All cats possess a unique tongue. It is rough and contains keratin, used to scrape meat from the bones. In domestic cat species, the rough tongue is a great aid when the cat is grooming itself.
Like dogs, cats walk in a peculiar manner known to scientific circles as “digitigrade.” This means that the cat walks directly on its toes and not on the balls of its feet as humans do. Moreover, cats can walk very precisely, mainly due to its peculiar gait – that is, both legs on one side move together. Moreover, cats almost directly place their hind paws on the print of the corresponding front paw. This actually aids them in traveling with as little noise as possible and leaving as little visible tracks as possible, which characteristics are contributory to their being accomplished hunters.
Cat ears are composed of no less than 62 individual muscle, which allows for a keen sense of hearing that is moderately directional. This means that the cat has the ability to channel the sounds that they hear from different directions by moving their ears in different directions. This allows them to pinpoint the direction of where the sound comes from. For instance, cat species would know the general location of a rat just by moving its ears until it hits on the right spot.
Each cat species has their own behavioral characteristics, but understanding them will make selecting the right one for your lifestyle the best.