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Cats

Ocelot, Central and South America, body length up to 100 cm (40 inches). A highly secretive, nocturnal hunter of small prey, the...Read More >>Ocelot, Central and South America, body length up to 100 cm (40 inches). A highly secretive, nocturnal hunter of small prey, the ocelot will defend its own territory fiercely, sometimes to the death. Cats are predatory carnivores with long tails and muscular bodies. The cat family is divided into the big cats or panthers—the lion, tiger, jaguar, cheetah and the leopards—and the small cats, or felines, a group that includes the cougar, lynxes, serval, caracal, bobcat, ocelot, fishing cat and wildcats. All cats feed only on meat, and are superbly adapted for hunting. Although lions are well-known for living in groups, or prides, most cats are secretive animals that usually live and hunt alone. Small cats often live in isolated areas, as far away from humans as possible. Agile climbers, many live in forest or mountain habitats. Some have spotted coats that help them to blend into the background when hunting.


European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris), southern, eastern and central Europe, up to 90 cm (3 ft) long

Senses

Cats have excellent vision. Their large eyes, which are positioned to allow them to see in 3D, can see well in the dark. Their highly developed hearing is also extremely useful for a nocturnal hunter. Their large external ears help them listen out for the movement of prey. They can twitch and move to locate the direction of a noise. The ears of the smaller cats are especially sensitive to faint, high-pitched sounds, such squeaking noises or the rustling in the undergrowth made by small rodent prey. 

There are 41 known species of cat.

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