The domestic cat or the feral cat is a small, typically furry, carnivorous mammal.
Mammals are any vertebrates within the class Mammalia, a clade of endothermic amniotes distinguished from reptiles and birds by the possession of a neocortex, hair, three middle ear bones and mammary glands.
Fur is used in reference to the hair of animals, usually mammals, particularly those with extensive body hair coverage that is generally soft and thick, as opposed to the stiffer bristles on most pigs.
A carnivore meaning 'meat eater' is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of animal tissue, whether through predation or scavenging.
They are often called house cats when kept as indoor pets or simply cats when there is no need to distinguish them from other felids and felines.
A pet or companion animal is an animal kept primarily for a person's company or protection, as opposed to working animals, sport animals, livestock, and laboratory animals, which are kept primarily for performance, agricultural value, or research.
The Felinae are a subfamily of the family Felidae, which includes the genera and species listed below.
Cats are often valued by humans for companionship and for their ability to hunt vermin.
Vermin are pests or nuisance animals, that spread diseases or destroy crops or livestock.
Homo sapiens is the binomial nomenclature for the only extant human species.
There are more than 70 cat breeds; different associations proclaim different numbers according to their standards.
Cats are similar in anatomy to the other felids, with a strong, flexible body, quick reflexes, sharp retractable claws, and teeth adapted to killing small prey.
Anatomy is the branch of biology concerned with the study of the structure of organisms and their parts.
A claw is a curved, pointed appendage, found at the end of a toe or finger in most amniotes.
Cat senses fit a crepuscular and predatory ecological niche.
In ecology, a niche is a term with a variety of meanings related to the behavior of a species living under specific environmental conditions.
Cat senses are adaptations that allow cats to be highly efficient predators.
Crepuscular animals are those that are active primarily during twilight.
Cats can hear sounds too faint or too high in frequency for human ears, such as those made by mice and other small animals.
Frequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit time.
They can see in near darkness.
Like most other mammals, cats have poorer color vision and a better sense of smell than humans.
Color vision is the ability of an organism or machine to distinguish objects based on the wavelengths of the light they reflect, emit, or transmit.
Cats, despite being solitary hunters, are a social species and cat communication includes the use of a variety of vocalizations, as well as cat pheromones and types of cat-specific body language.
Animal communication is the transfer of information from one or a group of animals to one or more other animals which affects either the current or future behavior of the receivers.
Social animals are those animals which interact highly with other animals, usually of their own species, to the point of having a recognizable and distinct society.
Cat communication is the transfer of information by one or more cats that has an effect on the current or future behaviour of another animal, including humans.
Cats have a high breeding rate.
Under controlled breeding, they can be bred and shown as registered pedigree pets, a hobby known as cat fancy.
A cat registry or cat breed registry, also known as a cat fancier organisation, cattery federation, or cat breeders' association, is an organisation that registers domestic cats of many breeds, for exhibition and for breeding lineage tracking purposes.
Failure to control the breeding of pet cats by neutering and the abandonment of former household pets has resulted in large numbers of feral cats worldwide, requiring population control.
Neutering, from the Latin neuter, is the removal of an animal's reproductive organ, either all of it or a considerably large part.
Abandoned pets are both exotic pets and companion animals that are either inadvertently or deliberately cast off by their owners.
Population control is the practice of artificially altering the size of any population.
This has contributed, along with habitat destruction and other factors, to the extinction of many bird species.
Cats have been known to extirpate a bird species within specific regions and may have contributed to the extinction of isolated island populations.
Cats are thought to be primarily, though not solely, responsible for the extinction of 33 species of birds, and the presence of feral and free ranging cats makes some locations unsuitable for attempted species reintroduction in otherwise suitable locations.
Species reintroduction is the deliberate release of a species into the wild, from captivity or other areas where the animal survives.
Since cats were venerated in ancient Egypt, they were commonly believed to have been domesticated there, but there may have been instances of domestication as early as the Neolithic from around 9,500 years ago.
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 10,200 BC, according to the ASPRO chronology, in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world and ending between 4,500 and 2,000 BC.
Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt.
Cats, known in ancient Egypt as "Mau", were considered sacred in ancient Egyptian society.
A genetic study in 2007 concluded that domestic cats are descended from Near Eastern wildcats, having diverged around 8,000 BC in West Asia.
Western Asia, West Asia, Southwestern Asia or Southwest Asia is the westernmost subregion of Asia.
A 2016 study found that leopard cats were undergoing domestication independently in China around 5,500 BC, though this line of partially domesticated cats leaves no trace in the domesticated populations of today.
China, officially the People's Republic of China, is a sovereign state in East Asia.
The leopard cat is a small wild cat native to South, Southeast and East Asia.
The leopard is one of the five "big cats" in the genus Panthera.
As of a 2007 study, cats are the second most popular pet in the United States by number of pets owned, behind the first, which is freshwater fish.
The United States of America, commonly referred to as the United States or America, is a federal republic composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions.
Fishkeeping is a popular hobby concerned with keeping fish in a home aquarium or garden pond.