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« Back Mammals (UK)

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Cats belong to the cat family, Felidae. Domestic cats are Felis domesticus. Cats are a favorite pet of people around the world. Cats are intelligent and have an independent nature. They can also be playful and entertaining. Many cats make affectionate, loyal pets, providing companionship for people of all ages.

The word cat also refers to a family of meat-eating animals that includes tigers, lions, leopards, and panthers. This family also includes domestic cats--that is, those that people keep as pets. Domestic cats and their wild relatives share many characteristics. All these animals have long, powerful bodies and somewhat rounded heads. They have short, strong jaws and 30 sharp teeth. Cats are also skillful hunters. They are able to catch other animals by approaching them swiftly and quietly on padded feet. Or they may wait motionless until an animal comes close and then spring upon it suddenly.

Domestic cats have many special physical abilities - they see better in dim light than people do, they can climb trees, run at a high speed, and leap long distances. Cats also have a keen sense of balance and can easily walk along the tops of narrow fences or along narrow ledges. When cats fall, they almost always land on their feet.

Cats vary in personality and in certain physical features, such as the length and color of their coats. There are many breeds of cats. Special characteristics set each breed apart from all others. Among the favorite breeds are the Siamese and the Persian.

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