Cats (Felidae) are a diverse group of carnivores that includes domestic cats, lions, tigers, ocelots, jaguars, caracals, leopards, mountain lions,
lynx and many other groups of cats. Cats are graceful, agile predators
that have acute eyesight, muscular bodies and a sharp set of teeth.
Cats are superb hunters. Some felids can take down prey that are
much larger than themselves, providing evidence of their well-honed
skills as predators. Cats hunt using several methods. Some species lie
in wait until an unfortunate animal crosses the cat's path and then
pounce upon it for the kill. Other cats actively stalk their prey, take
up position for attack, and charge in for the capture. Most cats are
well camouflaged, with stripes or spots that let them blend into the
surrounding vegetation and shadows.
The majority of cat species are solitary animals outside of the
breeding season. Lions are an exception to this rule though, they form
long-term social groups called prides. Prides are usually made up of 4-6 related adult lions and their cubs.
Most cats have retractable claws. They extend their claws only
when needed for capturing prey or for traction when running or climbing.
When claws are not needed, the cats keep them hidden away, sharp and
ready for use. Cheetahs are unable to retract their claws, and experts
believe this is an adaptation to fast running.
Vision is cats' best developed sense. Felids have sharp eyesight
and their eyes are positioned on the front of their head so they both
facing forward to produce the optimal focusing ability and acute depth
Cats have extremely flexible spines, enabling them to use more
muscles when running and achieve faster speeds than other mammals. Since
they use more muscles when running, cats burn more energy and therefore
cannot maintain speed for extended periods of time without experiencing
fatigue.Habitat:Cats inhabit a wide
variety of habitats including coasts, deserts, forests, grasslands, and
mountains. They have colonized almost every corner of the globe with
the exceptions of Australia, Greenland, Iceland, New Zealand,
Antarctica, Madagascar, and remote oceanic islands. Note that domestic
cats have been introduced into many regions once void of cats.Classification:Cats are a group of carnivores, a subgroup of mammals
that also includes animals such as bears, dogs, racoons, mustelids,
civits, hyenas, and the aardwolf. Cats are divided into two groups, the
small cats and the panthers. The small cats include cheetahs, pumas,
lynx, ocelots and domestic cats. Panthers include leopards, lions and
tigers.Evolution:During the Palaeocene,
carnivores diverged into two separate linages, a feliform or cat-like
lineage and a caniform or dog-like lineage. Modern cats first appeared
about 10.8 million years ago.
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