Courses for Kids
Free study material
Offline Centres
Store Icon

The Cat

share icon
share icon

The Cat: An Introduction

Cats are mostly domestic pet animals that are kept at home. The scientific name of a cat is Felis catus. When maintained as a pet, it is sometimes referred to as the housecat, or simply the cat, when there is no need to distinguish it from other felids and felines. Cats are smart, highly specialised animals that have acquired a variety of morphological adaptations and sensory talents to accommodate their carnivorous diet. In this article types of cats, cats breeds, taxonomy and reproduction of cats are discussed.


Cat (Felis catus), also known as a house cat or domestic cat, is a domesticated member of the Felidae family and the smallest member of the Carnivora order. Domestic cats, like all felids, have supple low-slung bodies, finely moulded heads, long tails that aid in balance, and specialised teeth and claws that lend themselves admirably to a life of active hunting. Cats, like their wild relatives, are primarily carnivorous, remarkably agile and powerful, and finely coordinated in movement.

Domestic cats (Felis catus) live in commensal relationships with humans wherever they are found. Cats can now be found on all continents and numerous oceanic islands, thanks to the fast-rising human population, which is occupying more and more isolated parts of the earth. Cats have a huge influence on wildlife because they feed on small mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, endanger the genetic pool of wildcat species through hybridization and function as reservoirs in the transfer of several diseases, posing a health risk to both wildlife and human populations.

Domestic cats typically weigh between 2 and 5 kilograms. Males weigh substantially more than females. There are breed variances; American Ragdolls and Maine Coons might be three times the size of the norm, whilst the little Singapura weighs just 2 – 3 kg. Domestic cats that are well cared for may expect to live for approximately 12 years on average, with many cats living into their twenties.

Canis lupus familiaris, the scientific name of dog, was arguably the first animal to be tamed by humans. It has been carefully bred into a variety of different shapes. They may be found all over the world in a variety of settings, both near and far from people. They are avid hunters who have a substantial detrimental influence on a wide spectrum of natural animals.

Dogs are commonly linked with people and may, thus, be found in all ecosystems. Feral and roaming domestic dogs can be found far from human civilization.

Types of Cats

Cats are classified into three types based on where and how they live.

  • Domestic Pets: These are the cats that are kept by a person or a family. Their owners meet the majority of their requirements.

  • Stray Cats: These are cats that are found in and around cities, towns, and rural areas. They may rely on certain human-provided resources, but they are not owned.

  • Feral Cats: These are the cats that live, breed and survive in the wild by hunting or scavenging. People do not purposefully meet any of their requirements.

Cat Breeds

Persian, Siamese, Maine Coon, Ragdoll, Bengal, British Shorthair, Sphynx, Abyssinian, Burmese, American Shorthair, and Scottish Flood are some of the breeds available.

By far the most prevalent and popular breed of cat, the Domestic Shorthair label encompasses the whole range of moggies that do not fit under any specified breed. They have existed since at least 2000 BC and appear in a variety of forms, sizes, and colours.

Taxonomy of Cats

  • Kingdom- Animalia

  • Phylum- Chordata

  • Subphylum- Vertebrata

  • Class- Mammalia

  • Order- Carnivora

  • Family- Felidae

  • Genus- Felis

  • Species- Catus

Cat Reproduction

  • Females reach sexual maturity at roughly 9 months (range 4–18 months) under ideal conditions. Males reach sexual maturity at 8 months. However, some may be fertile sooner. In temperate climates, cats are often seasonal breeders. Tomcats are most sexually active in the spring, but they can have kittens at any time of year. Females will reproduce all year if maintained inside with no exposure to sunlight and a 12:12 hour light-dark cycle. The average oestrous cycle lasts between 18 to 24 days.

  • If mating happens, oestrus lasts around 4 days, else it lasts between 5 to 10 days. Cats are induced ovulators due to foreplay and coitus, which stimulate ovulation. Sterile copulation may result in a pseudopregnancy lasting around 36 days. Pregnancies that are successful last around 63 days (range: 58–72 days). Females can enter oestrus three to four weeks after a litter is weaned.

  • The average litter size is four (the normal range is three to ten), with 104 males born for every 100 females. The third litter normally has the largest litter size. Females are most fertile between the ages of 1 and 8. Beyond that, their oestrous cycles become erratic and their litters become fewer and smaller. Despite the fact that sperm quality drops with age, guys can stay viable far into their twenties.

Interesting Facts about Cats

  • Cats share 95.6% of their genetic makeup with tigers.

  • Cats can jump 5 times their own height.

  • Cats usually sleep around an average of 15 hours PER day. This means that a cat spends roughly 70% of their lives sleeping.


A cat's genome is 95.6 percent tiger, and they share many behaviours with their jungle ancestors. Scratching to mark scent, prey play, prey stalking, pouncing, chinning, and urine marking are examples of this behaviour. This article has discussed the zoological name of cat, and also throws light on the different types of cats, their breeds and how they behave and reproduce. We also have learnt various interesting facts about this small carnivorous mammal.

Want to read offline? download full PDF here
Download full PDF
Is this page helpful?

FAQs on The Cat

1. To what order and family do cats and dogs belong?

Cats and dogs are related on five levels: they are both members of the domain eukarya, the kingdom Animalia, the phylum Chordata, the class Mammalia and the order Carnivora. Cats belong to the family Felidae and dogs belong to the family Canidae. Cats and dogs belong together since they have a common ancestry. They are related to a wide range of other species, both huge and little. The genus of a cat is Felis. And the scientific name of dog and cat is Canis lupus familiaris and Felis catus respectively.

2. What are the characteristics of domestic and wild cats?

Domestic and wild cats have identical bodily features. These characteristics include flexible bodies with strong limbs and tongues coated with prickly papillae to aid in grooming and rasping the flesh of their victims. Every cat has sensitive whiskers on their cheeks, above their eyes and on their muzzle as well as exceptional vision. Their eyes have a membrane that reflects light back into their eyeballs, giving them their distinctive sparkle at night.

3. What do cats purr?

Purring is one of the most well-known animal sounds. It is a distinctive vocal feature shared by domestic cats, bobcats, cheetahs, lynx, and pumas. Purring behaviour is absent in larger breeds of cats, such as lions and tigers. The sound comes from the internal laryngeal muscles in the throat, which help control the glottis opening and closing (the space between the vocal folds in the larynx). When the muscles in this area oscillate, the vocal cords separate, producing a distinct sound as air moves across the surface.

Competitive Exams after 12th Science