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DOMESTIC CAT
 
 
SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION
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ECOLOGY & CONSERVATION
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MENU - CARNIVORA
 
SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION
COMMON NAME: cat, domestic cat, pussy cat, kitty cat, kitty, feline
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Carnivora
FAMILY: Felidae
GENUS SPECIES: Felis catus
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FAST FACTS
DESCRIPTION: Believed to be decended from the wildcat of Africa and southwestern Asia (F. silvestris libyca). Domestication occurred in Egypt roughly 4,000 years ago. There are approximately 30 different breeds of domestic cats.
SIZE:

Average head/body length = 460 mm (18 in.)

Tail length = 300 mm (12 in.)
MALE

Average head/body length = 522 mm (21 in.) for feral cats

Tail length = 269 mm (11 in.)
FEMALE

Average head/body length = 478 mm (19 in.) for feral cats

Tail length = 252 mm (9.9 in.)
WEIGHT:  
MALE Average = 4.5 kg (9.9 lb.) for feral cats
FEMALE Average = 3.3 kg (7.3 lb.) for feral cats
DIET: Feral diet: small mammals (rabbits, mice), birds and carrion
GESTATION: Average 65 days
ESTRAL PERIOD Polyestrous; can produce 2 litters per year
NURSING DURATION 8 weeks
SEXUAL MATURITY:  
MALE 9-12 months
FEMALE 7-12 months
LIFE SPAN: 15 years for domestically reared cats
2-3 years for feral cats
RANGE: Global with the acception of Antarctica and a few islands in Pacific southwest
HABITAT: Highly adaptable. Feral cats shelter in burrows of other animals, under thick vegetation or under rocks and other debris. Urban feral cats shelter in abandon buildings and other structures.
POPULATION: GLOBAL Unknown
REGIONAL Estimated U.S. population of feral cats - 60 million
STATUS: IUCN Not listed
CITES Not listed
USFWS Not listed
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FUN FACTS
1. It is believed that domestication of Felis catus by ancient civilizations began because of its prowess as a hunter of rodents. They were put to use ridding grain stores of rodent populations.
2. In the ancient Egyptian city of Bubastis, the cat was an object of worship by the followers of Bastet, the goddess of pleasure. This cult flourished at least into Roman times.
3. Within a large population of feral cats on Macquarie Island, south of Australia, 90% are orange or tabby in color. The other 10% are black and tortoise-shell colored.
4. Cats can produce a purr during inhalation, exhalation, and when vocalizing.
5. In some societies, cats have been associated with evil and some superstitions still exist in modern times.
6. Free ranging cats are believed to be responsible for the decimation of native wildlife species, especially among the songbirds.
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ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION

Domestic cats are capable of living in feral and semi-feral states and have established substantial populations in areas where they are not native. Predation on native species has resulted in the decimation of a number of species, especially affecting the songbirds.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

Nowak, R. M. Walker's Mammals of the World. Sixth edition. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.
Burnie, D. and Wilson, D.E. Smithsonian Institution - Animal. New York: DK Publishing Inc., 2001.

MacDonald, D. The Encyclopedia of Mammals. Andromeda Oxford Ltd., 2001.

http://animal.discovery.com/guides/cats/body/maturity.html
http://www.columbia.edu/itc/cerc/danoff-burg/invasion_bio/inv_spp_summ/Felis_catus.html
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