Cat, (Felis catus), also called house cat or domestic cat, domesticated member of the family Felidae, order Carnivora, and the smallest member of that family. Like all felids, domestic cats are characterized by supple low-slung bodies, finely molded heads, long tails that aid in balance, and specialized teeth and claws that adapt them admirably to a life of active hunting. Cats possess other features of their wild relatives in being basically carnivorous, remarkably agile and powerful, and finely coordinated in movement.
It is noteworthy that the ancestors of the other common household pet, the dog, were social animals that lived together in packs in which there was subordination to a leader, and the dog has readily transferred its allegiance from pack leader to human master. The cat, however, has not yielded as readily to subjugation. Consequently, the house cat is able to revert to complete self-reliance more quickly and more successfully than most domesticated dogs. For an account of the relationship of the family of cats to other carnivores, see carnivore.The “cat pattern,” established very early in the evolution of modern mammals, was a successful one: early cats were already typical in form at a time when the ancestors of most other modern mammalian types were scarcely recognizable. They first appeared in the early Pliocene Epoch (5.3 to 3.6 million years ago), and they have continued with remarkably little change into modern times.
Cats are believed to be the only mammals who don’t taste sweetness.
Cats are nearsighted, but their peripheral vision and night vision are much better than that of humans.
Cats are supposed to have 18 toes (five toes on each front paw; four toes on each back paw).
Cats can jump up to six times their length.
Cats’ claws all curve downward, which means that they can’t climb down trees head-first. Instead, they have to back down the trunk.
Cats’ collarbones don’t connect to their other bones, as these bones are buried in their shoulder muscles.
Cats have 230 bones, while humans only have 206.
Cats have an extra organ that allows them to taste scents on the air, which is why your cat stares at you with her mouth open from time to time.
Cats have whiskers on the backs of their front legs, as well.
Cats have nearly twice the amount of neurons in their cerebral cortex as dogs.
Cats have the largest eyes relative to their head size of any mammal.
Cats make very little noise when they walk around. The thick, soft pads on their paws allow them to sneak up on their prey — or you!
Cats’ rough tongues can lick a bone clean of any shred of meat.
Cats use their long tails to balance themselves when they’re jumping or walking along narrow ledges.
Cats use their whiskers to “feel” the world around them in an effort to determine which small spaces they can fit into. A cat’s whiskers are generally about the same width as its body. (This is why you should never, EVER cut their whiskers.)
Cats walk like camels and giraffes: They move both of their right feet first, then move both of their left feet. No other animals walk this way.
Male cats are more likely to be left-pawed, while female cats are more likely to be right-pawed.
Though cats can notice the fast movements of their prey, it often seems to them that slow-moving objects are actually stagnant.
Some cats are ambidextrous, but 40 percent are either left- or right-pawed.
Some cats can swim.