Domestic Cats are just like Big Cats
- All cats are descended from a single remote ancestral species.
- Most all cats, wild and domestic, have 38 chromosomes.
- The Puma, native to North America purrs just like the domestic cat.
- All cats, big and small, share the same hunting behaviors such as:
stalking, using ambush with a short burst of speed to intercept its
prey. Most cats, big and small kill their prey with a bite to the back
of the neck.
- Anatomy. All cats have five toes on their forepaws and four toes on
their hind feet. The fifth claw on the front paws act much like a
human thumbnail, in which the cat utilizes for climbing and holding on to
- The pads at the base of each toe allow the cat to walk silently for
- Except for the Cheetah (they have semi retracting claws) cats have
retractable claws, almost like a switchblade knife. The claws are used to
hold the prey while they insert a canine tooth into the cervical vertebrae.
- Whiskers are used for quickly and accurately placing the killing bite to
the back of the neck.
- Cats have 30 teeth. Fifteen teeth on each side of the skull.
- They have canines for grasping and killing their prey. These canines
(long wedge shaped) have pressure sensing nerve endings. This allows
the cats to feel with their canines. The ability to feel with these
teeth helps the cats to kill their prey quickly.
- The cat's teeth, both big cat and little cat,
have incisors, and
carnassials. Incisors are the front teeth. Unlike other animals
which may have curved incisors, cats incisors are very straight. The
carnassials, (where human molars are located) are somewhat pointed and act
like scissor blades. This allows cats to tear off pieces of meat small
enough to swallow.
- The anatomy of the ear is much the same for all of the cats. The
auditory bulla, a bony chamber filled with air, houses the ear ossicles of
the middle ear. The Bulla is a part of the skull, lying between the
eardrum at the base of the outer canal and the labyrinth of coils and nerve
cells that translate vibrations of the eardrum into signals the brain
interprets as sound. The cats ear, with a highly developed sense of
hearing allows the feline to locate their prey. The inner ear serves
to orient the cat during jumps and leaps. This highly developed inner
ear allows many species of cats to land on "all fours" during a leap.
- The tongues of cats are different from all other animals. The tongue
is covered with little hooks or pointed projections called papillae.
Cats use their tongue for cleaning themselves and for scraping meat off
- The sense of smell in cats is little
known. It is thought to be less developed than canines, for
instance. Cats do have a unique way of recognizing scents left by
other felines. This ability is called the Flehman Response.
Scent is picked up through the Jacobson's organ located in the roof of the
mouth. This organ made of two fluid filled sacs connects directly with
the cat's nasal cavity via ducts. The cat takes on a grimace type face
when he senses a particular scent. The Jacobson's organ with its rich
blood supply, transmits the smell to the brain. A domestic cat shares
this trait with his bigger brethren, such as the tiger.
- Vision. Cat have unusually large
eyes for their skull size. The pupils of their eyes are able to open
very wide for low light conditions and yet close down to almost a pin point
in bright conditions. House cat's pupils are more like vertical slits
while the big cats are more round or oval. All cats, big and small
have superior night vision.
- Cats also have well developed
stereoscopic vision. Eyes positioned in their skulls are much like the
position of human eyes. This stereoscopic function allows cats to
accurately judge distances in their pursuit of prey.
- Temperature control. Cats have
sweat glands in the pads of their feet and around their anal and genital
area. Panting, cools the body and cools the brain directly. This
"heat exchanger" system starts in the cat's nasal cavity.
When the felid pants, tiny blood vessels in the sinuses carry the cooled air
to an area called the carotid rete. This area in turn cools the
arterial blood going to the brain. This system, more elaborate than
the canine's, efficiently and quickly cools the cat during times of high
activity, such as during a chase of prey.
Cool Cat stories and stuff
- Humans first accepted cats because of
the cats eagerness to hunt the mice that ate the grain products. Of
course the cats didn't touch the grain.
- Domesticated cats probably occurred in
Egypt around 2000 BC
- The Egyptians adored cats. As a
matter of fact, if a person killed a cat, either accidentally or on purpose,
that person would be killed.
- The Egyptian Sphinx is a representation
of a lion with the head of a pharaoh. The body of the lion signified
the pharaoh's power and importance.
- In ancient Egypt, when a cat died, the
occupants of the house would go into deep mourning and shave their
- The Norse goddess Freya is depicted
riding a chariot drawn by cats. The Norseman used cats on their ships
to control rats.
- Christians hated cats and associated
them with witchcraft. In the middle ages, the church instituted a
killing spree that lasted for hundreds of years. Eventually the rat
population got out of hand and contributed to the plague in Europe that
- Muslims prefer cats as pets. There
are many references to prophets in regard to their kind treatment of cats.
The name "cat" in other
- chatool Hebrew
- puccha Sanskrit
Stay tuned for part two
How big cats and little cats