Wild Cats

Wild Cats

With their sleek fur, big eyes, and razor-sharp teeth and claws, wild cats are among the most beautiful and deadly creatures on earth. They are mammals, which means wild cats are warm-blooded, breathe air, give birth to live young, and have spines and bones. Fur helps protect and disguise them, and can be one color, or patterned with spots or stripes. All cats – even your cat at home, if you have one – share many common features.

Cats all have terrific senses. Wild cats see about six times better in the dark than human beings. They have large pupils, and an extra layer of reflecting cells called the tapetum lucidium, or “luminous carpet.” These reflectors absorb light and make a cat’s eyes shine in the fark when caught by a car’s headlights. Cats have a great sense of smell and use their nose and Jacobson’s organ, a small sac in their mouth, o tell if meat is fresh or spoiled. If that wasn’t amazing enough, cats have other super senses. They hear exceptionally well and have sensitive whiskers which help them “feel” their way around in the dark.

There are lots of amazing things you can learn about wild cats. The skeletons of wild cats have about 250 bones, 40 more than a human being. Their spine is very flexible, which helps them stretch ad jump. The feet of wild cats are truly incredible. They are digitigrade, which means they walk on tip-toes. On the needs of those toes, wild cats have super sharp claws, which are retractile meaning they can pull them in when they aren’t using them for climbing or hunting. And cats sweat through pads on the bottom o their paws to cool themselves.

Of course, since cats are carnivores, they use their sharp claws and 30 teeth to catch and cut their food. Even their tongue helps them eat. It has small backward spikes, which the cat uses to lap up liquid, clean meat off bones, and groom its fur.

No portrait of cats would be complete without mentioning their voices. When we think of wild cats, we think of their powerful roars. But in fact, very few cat species do this. Of the 37 species, only four of the “big cats” can roar Lion, Tiger, Leopard, and Jaguar.

See more: Cats in the Wild