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Edu-Center | Zoology | Cats

What is a cat?

A cat (Felis catus, often reffered to as a domestic cat) is a small, carnivorous mammal. Cats are the only domesticated species of the taxonomic family Felidae, which also includes big cats such as lions, tigers, and panthers (oh my!). Cats have strong, flexible bodies; fast reflexes; sharp, pointed teeth; retractable claws; and strong night vision. There are about 60 different cat breeds.


  • Kingdom: Anamalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Suborder: Feliformia
  • Family: Felidae
  • Genus: Felis
  • Species: Felis catus

Cool cat facts

  • Archaeologists estimate that the first African wildcat was tamed about 9,500 years ago in Cyprus, long before Egyptians became asociated with them.
  • Cats typically weigh around 4.5 kg... The heavest cat on record weighed a whopping 21.297 kg.
  • Cats sleep on average 12-16 hours per day. Then they spend another couple hours grooming themselves.
  • Cats can't taste sweet foods because of a defect in the gene responsible for the sweet taste receptor.
  • A cat can rotate its ears all the way around backwards, 180 degrees.
  • Feral and wild cats don't meow. Cats developed meowing just to communicate with humans!

Cat sounds in different languages

  • English: Meow
  • Estonian: Näu
  • French: Miaou
  • Italian: Miao
  • Japanese: Nyan
  • Korean: Yaong
  • Russian: Myau
  • Spanish: Miau
  • Swedish: Mjau

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