Cat (animal)


January 26, 2022

The cat or domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) is one of the oldest pets of man. The domestic cat belongs to the feline family (Felidae). The word cat is also common, sometimes more specifically in the case of a female cat. A male cat is called a tomcat, and a young kitten is called a kitten.


The scientific name of the cat was published in 1758 as Felis catus by Carl Linnaeus in the tenth edition of Systema naturae. The name of the wild cat, from which the domestic cat descends, was published in 1777 by Johann Christian von Schreber as Felis silvestris. The scientific name of the vast majority of animals that have been domesticated is derived from the name of their ancestors living in the wild. In 2003, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature stated in Opinion 2027 that this principle should be followed for all domesticated species, and that the name of the wild species takes precedence over that of the domesticated form, even if the latter has been published previously. If the domestic cat is considered a subspecies of the wildcat, then the correct name for the species is Felis silvestris, and the trinomial for the subspecies Felis silvestris catus.


The lifespan of domestic cats is approximately the same as that of other felines. After ten years, a cat can be considered elderly. Cats die on average after fourteen to sixteen years. The oldest Dutch cat was 28 years old. The oldest cat in the world lived to be 38 years and 1 day old. In general, ages are difficult to control because cats do not have birth certificates. Purebred cats do have this, but on average live less, about 10-13 years. This is due to congenital diseases that are more common in purebred cats as a result of a high coefficient of inbreeding. A similar picture can also be seen in pedigree dogs.



A cat's skeleton is made up of 250 bones. Like all carnivores (meat eaters), cats are equipped to hunt and devour prey. Cats have a rather round head and short muzzle, large eyes, sensitive whiskers at the mouth and sharp, upright ears. They have short broad jaws with strong clipping teeth and sharp incisors. Cats have a total of 30 teeth. In the upper jaw they have 6 incisors, 2 canines, 6 premolars and 2 molars. In the lower jaw they have 6 incisors, 2 canines, 4 premolars and 2 molars. Their jaw cannot chew, the cat tears its food and uses the very strong stomach acid to digest the food. The tongue is covered with a layer of rough papillae that is useful for personal grooming. The cat's tongue is rougher than the tom's; so she can wash her young better.


Cats have five toes on both front paws and four toes on the hind paws. The first toe is a bit higher on the front leg than the other four toes. This first toe does not touch the ground when walking, but it is used for grooming and grabbing prey. At the tips of the toes are strong, sharp, curved claws. The nails can be retracted. This mechanism is a distinctive feature of the feline family Felidae. By sharpening the nails on a tree (in the house a scratching board or scratching post) a cat keeps its nails sharp. The sides that grow out then become loose and are removed with the teeth, leaving the nail at length with a sharp point.


A cat has a long tail that it uses for balance and social communication. The musculoskeletal system is extremely flexible with a flexible spine, which makes cats very agile. Cats can turn in a fall so that they land on their paws. In order to "get on its feet", the cat must be given the space and time to turn around.

Primordial pouch


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