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Reproduction

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Felids are most often classified as polygynous but can exhibit polygynandrous behavior as well. Estrous lasts from 1 to 21 days and females may have multiple estrous cycles until they become pregnant. Females advertise estrus to potential mates through vocalizations, scent marking, and restlessness. As with most polygynous species, males compete for access to mates via displays and fighting, and successful males court mates through vocalizations and direct physical contact (e.g., rubbing on the female). During courtship, successful males may also approach receptive females with their head lowered. While the act of copulation lasts less than a minute, multiple copulations can occur over a period of several days, which may help induce ovulation. After several days, males may leave in order to find additional estrous females, in which case another male takes his place.

In felids, male territories often encompass those of multiple females (for an exception see Panther leo) and males mate with females that reside within his territory. Most conspecific interactions occur during mating season or as a result of territorial disputes among rival males. Indirect interactions via scent markings or vocalizations help reduce the number of fatal interactions.

Mating System: polygynous ; polygynandrous (promiscuous)

The act of copulation is aggressive and brief and may be repeated multiple times an hour for several days. Repeated copulation is thought to induce ovulation in females. Most species are polygynous and polyestrous, with estrous cycles lasting from from 1 to 3 days. Most felids are non-seasonal breeders, but in areas of extreme climatic or prey variability, parturition occurs during the most favorable times of the year. Small-bodied cats tend to have 3 litters per year, while large cats average 1 litter every 18 months. The interval between birthing events may depend on maturation rates of young, body size, food availability, or recent loss of litter. For example, if a female loses her litter, she can come into estrus within a few weeks. Although most litters contain 2 to 4 cubs, females can give birth to as many as 8 cubs in a litter. Gestation lasts from 2 months in small cats to 3 months in lions and tigers.

Felid cubs are born altricial, as newborns are often blind and deaf, rendering them defenseless. Mothers often hide newborns in dens, rock crevices, or tree hollows until they are mobile. Cubs remain with their mother until they can hunt on their own. Weaning begins at the introduction of solid food and ranges in length from 28 days (domestic cats) to 100 days (lions and tigers). Felids reach sexual maturity in less than a year for small cats and up to 2 years for large cats. Typically, cats do not produce their first litter until they have established a home range, which usually does not occur until they are 3 or 4 years of age. Although age of independence is highly variable, many species become independent around 18 months of age. Unlike most felids, lions are very social and females take turns nursing young born to other pride members (i.e., communal nursing) while absent mothers are hunting for food.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; induced ovulation ; viviparous

With the exception of lions, females are the sole caretakers of young felids. Mothers hide their cubs in dens, rock crevices, or tree hollows while they are away hunting and young hide until she returns. Weaning begins at the introduction of solid food, around 28 days in domestic cats (Felis domesticus) and 100 days in lions. Females teach cubs how to stalk, pounce, and kill. Weaning is complete when cubs can eat meat and help hunt for prey. Juvenile felids spend a majority of their time “role playing,” which helps develop important hunting skills. Juveniles are independent once they become competent hunters, though they may remain in their mother’s territory for up to a year before they establish their own. Most felids do not begin reproducing until they have their own territories. Although male lions use infanticide to eliminate unrelated young during pride takeover events, they also provide a significant degree of parental care to their own offspring, protecting cubs while they feed and allowing mothers to rest.

Parental Investment: altricial ; female parental care ; pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); extended period of juvenile learning

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Etnyre, E.; J. Lande and A. Mckenna 2011. "Felidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Felidae.html
author
Erika Etnyre, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
author
Jenna Lande, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
author
Alison Mckenna, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Phil Myers, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
John Berini, Special Projects
editor
Tanya Dewey, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Untitled

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Artiodactyls are an important food sources for a number of different carnivores. As artiodactyl populations decline, so too will those animals that depend on them. For example, the decline of cheetahs is often attributed habitat loss. However, cheetahs primarily prey upon small to medium-sized ungulates, such as gazelles. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, 2 species of gazelle are extinct, while 10 more are listed as vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered. In north Africa, as preferred prey species have declined, more and more cheetahs are turning to livestock for prey. These cheetahs are then killed as pests. As a result, one of the major directives for felid conservation is restoration of wild prey species.

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Etnyre, E.; J. Lande and A. Mckenna 2011. "Felidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Felidae.html
author
Erika Etnyre, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
author
Jenna Lande, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
author
Alison Mckenna, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Phil Myers, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
John Berini, Special Projects
editor
Tanya Dewey, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Behavior

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Felids have acute senses of smell, hearing, and sight. In addition to the tapetum lucidum, a layer of reflective tissue in the eye of many vertebrates, felids have a modified pupil that allows for excellent vision in a wide range of environments. The felid pupil consists of a vertical slit that expands in low light conditions and contracts in high light conditions. Felids have relatively large pinnae that can rotate to allow for multidirectional hearing without rotating their head. Well-developed vibrissae, which are located above the eyes, on the muzzle, and on the ventral surface of forepaws between the digits, play an important role in tactile sensory reception. Similar to other carnivores, felids have haptic receptors inside their digits that allows them to sense temperature, pressure, and other stimuli.

Felids are solitary animals that scent mark territories with facial glands and urine. They also mark territorial boundaries by clawing tree trunks. Like many vertebrates, felids have a vomeronasal organ, or Jacobson's organ, that allows them to detect pheromones. This olfactory sense organ is found at the base of the nasal cavity and plays an important role in conspecific interactions, especially those related to reproduction. For example, after smelling the genital area or urine of a potential mate, males curl their upper lip toward their nostrils (i.e., the Flehmen response). Using the vomeronasal organ, this allows males to assess the mating condition and quality of potential mates. It is thought that input from the vomeronasal organ and the olfactory bulbs significantly contribute to mating activity.

Due to their nocturnal and solitary lifestyles, investigating audible communication in felids has proven difficult. However, the calls of many carnivores are known to signal individual recognition and territorial boundaries. It is thought that by observing domestic cats (Felis catus), one can hear a majority of the sounds made by most felids. They purr, meow, growl, hiss, spit, and scream. The hyoid apparatus of small-bodied cats is hardened, resulting in an inability to roar. Large-bodied cats have the capability to roar, which is thought to serve as a form of long-distance communication. For example, lions typically roar at night to advertise territories. Research suggests that lionesses can identify the sex of a roaring individual and lionesses respond differently to different numbers of roaring individuals.

Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

Other Communication Modes: pheromones ; scent marks

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

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Etnyre, E.; J. Lande and A. Mckenna 2011. "Felidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Felidae.html
author
Erika Etnyre, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
author
Jenna Lande, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
author
Alison Mckenna, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Phil Myers, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
John Berini, Special Projects
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Tanya Dewey, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Conservation Status

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Major challenges to felid populations include habitat loss or fragmentation, management of cat-human interactions, the collection and killing of felids for the pet and fashion trades, and disappearance of natural prey. Additionally, reduced population sizes increase vulnerability to extinction due to natural disasters, epidemics, and inbreeding depression. According to the IUCN Redlist of Threatened Species, 29 of the 36 recognized species of felids are currently in decline, and 5 of the remaining 7 species have insufficient population data to determine demographic trends. Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) are listed as critically endangered and are one of the most endangered animals on the planet, with a maximum of 143 individuals remaining in 2 separate breeding populations. Including tigers (Panthera tigris) and snow leopards (Panthera uncia), 6 other species are listed as endangered. CITES, which was created in part over concerns that international fur trade would drive many felids to extinction, currently lists 23 species or subspecies under Appendix I, with all remaining species placed under Appendix II. The North American Endangered Species Act lists 8 species or subspecies of North American felids as threatened or endangered, including jaguars (Panthera onca), ocelots (Leopardus pardalis), and panthers (Puma concolor).

Currently, conservation efforts are focused on habitat preservation, captive breeding, and reintroductions. Numerous cat species have been reintroduced or translocated throughout parts of their range where they were once extinct. Aside from the reintroduction of European wild cats in Bavaria, Canada lynx in northern New York State, and bobcats to Cumberland Island, Georgia, few reintroductions have been truly successful. The majority of felid reintroductions fail due to a lack of careful planning and execution, which is directly linked to a lack of time and money. In addition, a majority of large cat reintroductions fail because management teams don't take into consideration four important points. First, reintroduction efforts must consider the conditions under which past translocation events were successful, especially the movement of animals into established populations. Second, management teams often fail to appropriately train captive-bred animals to be successful predators in their native habitat. Third, prior to a reintroduction or translocation event it is imperative that the various genetic and morphological differences between different subpopulations are well understood. Finally, the support and receptivity of local human communities must be assessed prior to reintroducing a potentially dangerous predator. Many felid populations are currently in decline largely because of persecution by humans. If felid reintroduction is not supported by local communities, such attempts are likely to fail.

In 1996, the IUCN published an action plan for the conservation of large cats, which included a list of 105 "priority projects". The "general conservation plan" called for a number actions that were believed to aid in the conservation of all felid species. For example, the establishment of a "cat conservation center" would result in a centralized data management center that would solicit potential donors for funding and help carry out the directives suggested by the conservation action plan as a whole. In addition to a generalized action plan, species specific action plans were formulated for 43 different cat species. Since 1996, the IUCN's Cat Specialist Group has helped launch numerous research efforts aimed at addressing the conservation goals outlined in their 1996 conservation plan. In 2004, the Cat Specialist Group established a "digital cat library" that contains more than 6,000 "papers and reports relevant to the conservation of wild cats", and in 2005 the first captive bred Iberian lynx litter was born, which served as a giant symbolic leap in the long journey of felid conservation.

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Etnyre, E.; J. Lande and A. Mckenna 2011. "Felidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Felidae.html
author
Erika Etnyre, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
author
Jenna Lande, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
author
Alison Mckenna, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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John Berini, Special Projects
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Tanya Dewey, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Comprehensive Description

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With the exception of Antarctica, Australia, New Zealand, Madagascar, Japan, and most oceanic islands, native populations of cats are found worldwide, and one species, domestic cats, have been introduced nearly everywhere humans currently exist. Although some authorities recognize only a few genera, most accounts of Felidae recognize 18 genera and 36 species. With the exception of the largest cats, most are adept climbers, and many are skilled swimmers. Most felids are solitary. Often, felids are separated into two distinct subgroups, large cats and small cats. Generally, small cats are those that, due to a hardening of the hyoid bone, have an inability to roar. Felidae consists of 2 subfamilies, Pantherinae (e.g., lions and tigers) and Felinae (e.g., bobcats, pumas, and cheetahs).

Felids are perhaps the most morphologically specialized hunters of all carnivores, often taking prey as large as themselves and occasionally taking prey several times their own size. Unlike other carnivores, felids rely almost exclusively on prey that they have killed themselves. They are agile hunters, hunting mostly at night, with diets consisting of fresh meat or carrion. Felids are found in all terrestrial habitats except treeless tundra and polar ice caps.

The first cat-like mammals appeared around 60 million years ago (MYA) during the Eocene and culminated in the most specialized of the saber-tooths, Barbourofelis fricki. However, the phylogeny of saber-tooths and their ancestors (Nimravidae) is the subject of considerable debate and fossil evidence for these cat-like mammals does not exist after the Miocene. True felids first appeared during the early Oligocene and, although early ancestors of present day felids had short upper canines, felid radiations that occurred during the Miocene and Pliocene, such as Smilodon, appeared to specialize on large herbivores and had large, saber-like upper canines. Early felids were divided into two subfamilies, Machairodontinae (saber-toothed cats) and Felinae (conical-toothed cats). The many genera of saber-toothed cats are divided into three tribes (Metailurini, Homotheriini, and Smilodontini). Living and extinct conical-toothed cats are placed in one subfamily and one tribe, the Felini, but controversy surrounds generic-level classification of felids. Modern cats are closely related to hyenas, mongooses, and civets. These families, including the families Eupleridae and Nandiniidae, are in the suborder Feliformia.

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Etnyre, E.; J. Lande and A. Mckenna 2011. "Felidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Felidae.html
author
Erika Etnyre, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
author
Jenna Lande, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
author
Alison Mckenna, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Phil Myers, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
John Berini, Special Projects
editor
Tanya Dewey, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Benefits

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Where feral domestic cats have been introduced, the diversity of small vertebrates (such as birds, lizards, and small mammals) has significantly declined. Felids attack and kill livestock, which can result in losses for farmers. Wild cats are capable of transmitting pathogens to domestic cats. Large cats occasionally kill and eat people, though a majority of attacks are often the result of accidental confrontations or involve sick or injured animals. In the Sunderbans of India, the largest contiguous parcel of halophytic forest in the world, tigers (Panthera tigris) kill several dozen people each year.

Negative Impacts: injures humans (bites or stings); causes or carries domestic animal disease

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Etnyre, E.; J. Lande and A. Mckenna 2011. "Felidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Felidae.html
author
Erika Etnyre, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
author
Jenna Lande, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
author
Alison Mckenna, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Phil Myers, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
John Berini, Special Projects
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Tanya Dewey, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Benefits

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Felids were first domesticated in Egypt between 4,000 and 7,000 years ago. Historically, cat pelts served as a symbol of status and power, a trend that continues to this day. In Africa, felids are often hunted for sport (i.e., trophies) and retaliatory killings by livestock farmers are not uncommon. In addition to their pelts, felids are desired for their claws and teeth. Traditional medicines may incorporate felid by-products, although their efficacy is unproven. Although international trade of wild felids and their by-products is illegal, domestic trade continues in some countries. In the ecotourism industry large cats have significant economic value in Africa and India and are sought out by tourists on both national and private reserves. Small cats primarily prey on rodents, hares, and rabbits, which helps control pest populations throughout much of their range. Large cats commonly prey on large herbivores, which reduces competition between livestock and native ungulates.

Positive Impacts: pet trade ; body parts are source of valuable material; ecotourism ; controls pest population

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Etnyre, E.; J. Lande and A. Mckenna 2011. "Felidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Felidae.html
author
Erika Etnyre, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
author
Jenna Lande, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
author
Alison Mckenna, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Phil Myers, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
John Berini, Special Projects
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Tanya Dewey, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Associations

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Felids are apex predators that initiate top-down control and are often considered keystone species in their native habitats. Often preying upon the most vulnerable of individuals (e.g., young, old, or ill), felids promote robust prey populations that exhibit decreased vulnerability to disease and prevent overgrazing by large herbivores. For example, evidence suggests that white-tailed deer in Bear Island, Florida avoid forest habitat based on the presence or absence of Florida panthers. However, bobcats, which typically prey upon small mammals, opportunistically prey on deer in open habitat. Thus, in their attempt to avoid one felid predator, white-tailed deer have become increasingly vulnerable to another.

Domestic and wild felids are vulnerable to a large number of endoparasites including flatworms (Platyhelminthes), roundworms (Nematoda), thorny-headed worms (Acanthocephala), tongue worms (Pentastomida), and parasitic protozoa (Apicomplexa). Common felid ectoparasites consist of ticks and mites (Acari), sucking lice (Phthiraptera), fleas (Siphonaptera), mosquitoes (Culicidae), and flies (Diptera).

Ecosystem Impact: keystone species

Commensal/Parasitic Species:

  • flatworms (Platyhelminthes)
  • thorny-headed worms (Acanthocephala)
  • roundworms (Nematoda)
  • protozoa (Apicomplexa)
  • tongue worms (Pentastomida)
  • ticks and mites (Acari)
  • sucking lice (Phthiraptera)
  • fleas (Siphonaptera)
  • mosquitoes (Culicidae)
  • flies (Diptera)
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Etnyre, E.; J. Lande and A. Mckenna 2011. "Felidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Felidae.html
author
Erika Etnyre, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
author
Jenna Lande, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
author
Alison Mckenna, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Phil Myers, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
John Berini, Special Projects
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Tanya Dewey, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Trophic Strategy

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Morphologically, felids are considered the most specialized of all carnivores in the order Carnivora. They are at top of the food web in most ecosystems, as their diet consists almost entirely of animals. Occasionally, felids ingest grass to help pass fur balls, a by-product of constant grooming. Some genera ingest fruit to help offset water requirements. Felids may eat the viscera (i.e., internal organs) of prey, thus consuming partially digested plant biomass. Although they typically hunt for large prey (e.g., Perissodactyla and Artiodactyla), when the opportunity arises large cats may eat carrion as well. Small cats predominantly prey upon rodents and rabbits or hares. When available, small cats also feed upon reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish, crustaceans, and arthropods. Some species cache food and may drag prey carcasses into nearby trees prior to feeding (e.g., Panthera pardus). Fishing cats and flat-headed cats are unique among felids, as they are especially adapted for preying upon fish and frogs.

Foraging Behavior: stores or caches food

Primary Diet: carnivore (Eats terrestrial vertebrates, Piscivore , Scavenger )

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Etnyre, E.; J. Lande and A. Mckenna 2011. "Felidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Felidae.html
author
Erika Etnyre, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
author
Jenna Lande, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
author
Alison Mckenna, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Phil Myers, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
John Berini, Special Projects
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Tanya Dewey, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Distribution

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Felids are native to every continent except Australia and Antarctica. Excluding domestic and feral cats (Felis catus), which are globally distributed, felids can be found everywhere except Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Madagascar, polar regions, and many isolated oceanic islands.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Introduced , Native ); palearctic (Introduced , Native ); oriental (Introduced , Native ); ethiopian (Introduced , Native ); neotropical (Introduced , Native ); australian (Introduced ); oceanic islands (Introduced )

Other Geographic Terms: holarctic ; cosmopolitan

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Etnyre, E.; J. Lande and A. Mckenna 2011. "Felidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Felidae.html
author
Erika Etnyre, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
author
Jenna Lande, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
author
Alison Mckenna, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Phil Myers, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
John Berini, Special Projects
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Tanya Dewey, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Habitat

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Cats are found in all terrestrial habitats except treeless tundra and polar ice regions. Most species are habitat generalists and can be found in a wide range of environments. However, few have adapted to a limited range of habitats. For example, optimal habitat for sand cats (Felis margarita) consists of sandy and stony deserts. Domestic and feral cats (F. catus) are ubiquitous globally and are especially pervasive in urban and suburban areas.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: taiga ; desert or dune ; savanna or grassland ; chaparral ; forest ; rainforest ; scrub forest ; mountains

Wetlands: marsh ; swamp ; bog

Other Habitat Features: urban ; suburban ; agricultural ; riparian

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Etnyre, E.; J. Lande and A. Mckenna 2011. "Felidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Felidae.html
author
Erika Etnyre, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
author
Jenna Lande, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
author
Alison Mckenna, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Phil Myers, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
John Berini, Special Projects
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Tanya Dewey, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Life Expectancy

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Although many cats do not live beyond their first birthday, felid lifespan ranges from 15 to 30 years old. In the wild, juvenile deaths are normally due to predation. In captivity, however, juvenile deaths are often due to stillbirths, cannibalism, maternal neglect, hypothermia, and congenital disorder.

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Etnyre, E.; J. Lande and A. Mckenna 2011. "Felidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Felidae.html
author
Erika Etnyre, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
author
Jenna Lande, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
author
Alison Mckenna, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Phil Myers, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
John Berini, Special Projects
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Tanya Dewey, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Morphology

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All felids bear a strong resemblance to one another. Unlike members of the family Canidae, felids have a short rostrum and tooth row, which increases bite force. Loss or reduction of cheek teeth is particularly apparent in felids, which have a typical dental formula of 3/3, 1/1, 3/2, 1/1 = 30. In most species, the upper premolar is significantly reduced and in Lynx, has been completely lost. Felids have well developed carnassials. Their cheek teeth are secodont and are specialized for shearing. Felid canines tend to be long and conical and are ideal for puncturing prey tissues with minimal force. Besides having a short rostrum, felids also have large bullae that are divided by a septum; no alisphenoid canal, and paroccipital processes flattened against the bullae. Felids also have a vestigial or absent baculum and retractable claws. Distal segments of digits in the relaxed position are pulled back and up into a sheath by an elastic segment, which prevents claws from becoming blunt. Cheetahs are the exception as they cannot retract their claws and, when attacking prey, they tend to run into them so that they fall, much like canids. Cats have five toes on their forefeet and four on their hindfeet. They are digitigrade, and their metapodials are moderately long but never fused.

Felids range in body mass from 2 kg in black-footed cats (Felis negripes) to 300 kg in tigers (Panthera tigris), and exhibit sexual dimorphism, with males being larger and more muscular than females. In some species, such as lions (Panthera leo), males may also have ornamentation that is used to attract potential mates. Throughout their range, felid coats are longest where temperatures tend to be coldest (e.g., snow leopards). Felids exhibit a wide range of colors, from black to orange to white, and many species have cryptically colored coats containing rosettes, spots, and stripes that help camouflage them while hunting for prey. While melanistic variants (solid black) are common in many species, completely white individuals tend to be rare. A great deal of color variation can occur within individual species and newborns tend to have different coloration than adults. For example, adult cougars (Puma concolor) rarely have spots while kittens almost always have spots. In general, the ventral surface of felids tends to be pale while the face, tail, and back of the ears often have black or white markings.

Felids have a number of morphological adaptations that have allowed them to become the most adept hunters in the order Carnivora. They have digitigrade posture that results in a rapid stride rate and powerful forelimbs that help them capture and retain large prey. Often, felids are cryptically colored, which helps camouflage them while hunting. In addition, most felids have large eyes and exceptional vision. In nocturnal species, the tapetum lucidum helps intensify limited light. Many species also have large semi-rotating ears. Finally, the felid tongue has a sandpaper-like texture due to posteriorly directed papillae on its dorsal surface, which are thought to help retain food in the mouth and remove tissue from the bones of prey.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: male larger; ornamentation

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Etnyre, E.; J. Lande and A. Mckenna 2011. "Felidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Felidae.html
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Erika Etnyre, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Jenna Lande, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Alison Mckenna, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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John Berini, Special Projects
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Tanya Dewey, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Associations

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Felids are typically apex predators (i.e., predators with no predators of their own), but young are vulnerable to predation until they are capable of defending themselves. Many species are cryptically colored, which allows them to remain camouflaged while in their native habitat. Although not an act of predation, many large cats are intolerant of heterospecific felids. For example, lions readily kill leopards, which are known to kill cheetahs. During attempted pride takeovers, male lions commit infanticide as a way of inducing estrus in pride females and eliminating the offspring of rival males. About one quarter of lion cub deaths can be attributed to infanticide, which also occurs in pumas.

Anti-predator Adaptations: cryptic

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Etnyre, E.; J. Lande and A. Mckenna 2011. "Felidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Felidae.html
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Erika Etnyre, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Jenna Lande, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Alison Mckenna, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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John Berini, Special Projects
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Tanya Dewey, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Description of Felidae

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The cats. Felids are the most strictly carnivorous of the sixteen mammal families in the order Carnivora. The most familiar felid is the domestic cat, which first became associated with humans about 10,000 years ago, but the family includes all other wild cats including the big cats.  Discounting extinct species, the living felids belong to either the Pantherinae (lion, tiger, jaguar, and leopard), and Felinae (cougar, cheetah, lynxes caracal, and domestic cat).  The first felids emerged dabout 25 million years ago. In prehistoric times, there was a third group called the Machairodontinae, which included the saber-toothed cats such as the well known Smilodon.   There are 40 known species of felids in the world today. They originated in Asia and spread across continents by crossing land bridges. Ancient cats evolved into eight main lineages that diverged in the course of at least 10 migrations (in both directions) from continent to continent via the Bering land bridge and Isthmus of Panama. The Panthera species are the oldest and the Felis species are the youngest.   Felids are purely carnivorous animals, subsisting almost entirely on other vertebrates. Aside from the lion, they are solitary. Most are secretive animals, often nocturnal, and live in relatively inaccessible habitats. Around three-quarters of cat species live in forested terrain, and they are generally agile climbers. However, felids may be found in almost any environment, with some species being native to mountainous terrain or deserts. Wild felids are native to every continent except Australia and Antarctica.  The various species of felid vary greatly in size. One of the smallest is the Black-footed Cat at between 35-40 cm in length, while the largest and most powerful is the Siberian tiger. Compared with many other mammals, they have relatively short faces, and good binocular vision.  The fur of felids takes many different forms, being much thicker in those species that live in cold environments, such as the Snow Leopard. The colour of felids is also highly variable, although brown to golden fur is common in most species, often marked with distinctive spots, stripes, or rosettes. Many species also have a "tear stripe," a black stripe running from the corner of each eye down the side of the nose.  The tongue of felids is covered with horny papillae, which help to rasp meat from their prey. Almost all felids have fully retractable claws (one exception is the cheetah). Cats have five toes on their forefeet and four on their hindfeet, reflecting their reliance on griping and holding down their pray with their claws.  Felids have relatively large eyes, situated to provide binocular vision. Their night vision is especially good, due to the presence of a tapetum lucidum, which reflects light back inside the eyeball, and gives cat eyes their distinctive shine.  The ears of felids are also large, and in the smaller cats especially sensitive to high-frequency sounds. Felids have a highly developed sense of smell, although not as much so as in canids. This is further supplemented by the presence of a vomeronasal organ in the roof of the mouth, allowing the animal to taste the air. The use of this organ is associated with the Flehmen response, in which the upper lip is curled upwards.  Felids possess highly sensitive vibrissa (whiskers) set deep within the skin, and provide the cat with sensory information about the slightest air movement around it. For this reason they are very helpful for a nocturnal hunter. Most felids are able to land on their feet after a fall, an ability which relies on vision and the sense of balance acting together.  The canine teeth are large, reaching exceptional size in the extinct saber-tooth species. The upper third premolar and lower molar are adapted as carnassial teeth, suited to tearing and cutting flesh.  The jaws of felids can only move vertically. This prevents them from being able to chew, but makes it easier for their powerful masseter jaw muscles to hold struggling prey.   Text after Wikipedia, 3rd August 2008.
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Comprehensive Description

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Sunquist and Sunquist (2009) recognized 37 species in the cat family (Felidae), but noted that this number would likely grow somewhat as further taxonomic studies confirm that some currently recognized species actually are composed of distinct populations that warrant recognition as species. Although the number of recognized species has been relatively stable for a century or two, the recognition of genera has been far more dynamic, with the number generally accepted ranging from just two or three to more than a dozen (Sunquist and Sunquist 2009 recognized 14 genera).

There are native felids across all major regions of the Earth except for Australasia and the polar regions (domestic cats have been introduced to many remote oceanic islands and Australia). They may be found from sea level to 6000 meters and in habitats ranging from deserts to savannahs to tropical rainforests, temperate forests, and boreal forests, but around 90% of felid species are associated with forests and woodlands. Some species have relatively narrow geographic and ecological ranges, but a few are extreme generalists. The Puma (Puma concolor) has a range spanning more than 100 degrees of latitude from the Canadian Yukon to the Straits of Magellan and is found from the moist coniferous forests of British Columbia in Canada to the deserts of the southwestern United States, the tropical forests of Central and South America, and south to the cold, dry grasslands of Patagonia. Leopards (Panthera pardus) have a similarly broad distribution in the Old World, ranging from South Africa to the Russian Far East and occurring in habitats from desert to tropical forest. The Colocolo (Leopardus colocolo) and Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) (of South America and Asia, respectively) are also notable habitat generalists, although in the case of the Colocolo what is currently treated as a single species may in fact be several cryptic species.The Leopard Cat has the broadest distribution of all small Asian felids, occurring from southern India to the islands of the Sunda Shelf and north to the Russian Far East and ranging across diverse habitats from sea level to 3000 meters in the Himalayas.

The extant felids are relatively homogeneous in their morphology, so much so that the skeletons of two species as different as a Lion (Panthera leo) and a Tiger (Panthera tigris) would be difficult for a non-specialist to distinguish. A typical felid has a rounded head, a relatively flat face, facial whiskers, large eyes and ears, and a sleek and streamlined body with muscular legs. That said, the felids as a group are remarkably variable in size, probably more so than any other mammal family, ranging acoss two orders of magnitude in mass from the 2 to 3 kilogram Black-footed Cats (Felis nigripes), Kodkods (Leopardus guigna), and Rusty-spotted Cats (Prionailurus rubiginosus) to 300 kilogram Tigers. In most species, males tend to be around 5 to 10% larger than females. Many felid species with large geographic ranges exhibit size variation consistent with Bergmann's Rule. For example, Pumas from low latitudes (i.e., closer to the equator) have skulls that average as much as 25% shorter than higher latitude Pumas and an even greater effect of latitude is seen on body weight.

Most felids are nocturnal and nearly all felids are solitary as adults (with only Lions being truly social, although Cheetahs [Acinonyx jubatus] are also somewhat social). Both vocalizations and visual signals are used extensively in communication. Felids are believed to have a relatively poor sense of smell relative to other carnivores, but use scent-marking extensively to communicate with conspecifics.

Felids are sometimes referred to as hypercarnivores because of the much higher proportion of protein they require in their diet, much more than most other mammals. The largest felids are predators of very large mammals. The dominant large cats are the Lion in Africa, the Tiger in Asia, and the Jaguar (Panthera onca) in South America. The medium-sized cats such as the Puma, Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia), and Leopard are able to kill prey their own size, but much of their diet consists of smaller prey between 2 and 40 kilograms and their diets tend to include a much larger range of species than do the diets of the big cats, which tend to feed on just a few species in any particular ecosystem. Small felids, such as Ocelots (Leopardus pardalis), Bobcats (Lynx rufus), Black-footed Cats, and Jungle Cats (Felis chaus), also feed on mammals, but their diets frequently include birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects as well, with most prey items less than one kilogram. A few small cats are relatively specialized predators, e.g., the Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), which captures fishes and frogs by wading in shallow water or waiting on the bank, often plunging its head completely underwater to seize a fish. Fishing Cats have reportedly been seen swimming underwater to catch coots or ducks. Servals (Leptailurus serval) are specialized on small mammals and Canadian Lynx (Lynx canadensis) feed heavily on Snowshoe Hares (Lepus americanus).

Coat pattern is highly variable both among and within felid species.An especially striking example of intraspecific variation is the melanism that has been recorded for a number of felid species living in tropical humid and densely vegetated habitats. Best known are the "black panthers", which are melanistic Leopards (in the Old World) or Jaguars (in the New World).

Many species of felids have declined dramatically over the past century or two due to human impacts, with declining ranges and shrinking populations resulting from habitat loss, declining prey populations, and direct persecution for trade, predator control, and sport.Some felid species are believed to be naturally rare (e.g., the extremely poorly known Bay Cat [Catopuma badia] of Borneo and the three smallest felids, the Kodkod of Chile and Argentina, the Rusty-spotted Cat of India and Sri Lanka, and the Black-footed Cat of South Africa), making them more vulnerable to new threats. Sunquist and Sunquist (2009) provided an overview of the conservation threats facing many of the world's felids as of 2009.

(Sunquist and Sunquist 2009 and references therein)

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Felid

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Domestic cat and hybridization[edit]
The domesticated form of the African wildcat, known as F. silvestris catus, has been hybridized with several wild felid species. These are sometimes called feral-domestic hybrids. This is a misnomer because feral refers to a domesticated animal species which has reverted to living in the wild. The correct term is artificial or domestic/wild hybrids.
/wiki/File:Authenticated_Felid_Hybrids_(2013).jpg /wiki/File:Authenticated_Felid_Hybrids_(2013).jpg
/wiki/File:Authenticated_Felid_Hybrids_(2013).jpgAuthenticated Felid Hybrids
Confirmed domestic cat/felid hybrids
Some pairings have given rise to more than one breed developed under different registries and bred to different standards for appearance and different percentages of wild felid genes. They are therefore different breeds, not synonyms.
Bengal: domestic cat/Asian ⦁leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis bengalensis)
⦁Bristol: domestic cat/⦁margay (Leopardus wiedii)
Chausie: domestic cat/⦁jungle cat (Felis chaus)
⦁Stone cougar: domestic cat/jungle cat
⦁Cheetoh: Bengal/ocicat
⦁Jungle-bob: ⦁Pixie-bob/jungle cat
⦁Jungle-curl: Hemingway Curl (polydactyl x American Curl)/jungle cat
Kellas cat: Naturally occurring domestic cat/Scottish wildcat
⦁Machbagral, Viverral and Jambi: domestic cat/⦁fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus)
⦁Pantherette: Pixie-bob/Asian ⦁leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis)
⦁Punjabi: domestic cat /Indian desert-cat (a variety of ⦁Asiatic wildcat - Felis s. ornata)
⦁Safari: domestic cat/⦁Geoffroy's cat (Leopardus geoffroyii)
Savannah: domestic cat (including Bengal)/⦁serval (Leptailurus serval)
Serengeti: Bengal/⦁Oriental Shorthair (solid-coloured Siamese)
Ussuri: domestic cat/Amur Asian leopard cat (Prionailurus b. euptailura)
⦁Domestic cat/⦁caracal (accidental, Moscow Zoo, 1998)
⦁Domestic cat/⦁oncilla (little spotted cat or tiger cat)
⦁Domestic cat / ⦁black-footed cat (F. nigripes)
⦁Domestic cat/⦁rusty-spotted cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus) (wild-occurring hybrids, India)
⦁Domestic cat/⦁ocelot. Two litters of confirmed hybrids between a female ocelot and male Bengal were born in 2007 and 2008.
⦁Domestic cat/⦁Sand cat. Kittens were born to a domestic female, sired by a male Sand Cat, in 2013.
Hybrid breed/wild felid
⦁Afro-Chausie (proposed name): Chausie/African wildcat
⦁Euro-Chausie: Chausie/European wildcat
⦁Scottie-Chausie (proposed name): Chausie/Scottish wildcat (F. s. grampia)
Attempted or unconfirmed hybrids
Mandalan jaguar (proposed name): domestic cat/⦁jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi)
⦁Domestic cat/⦁Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis)
⦁Domestic cat/⦁bobcat (Lynx rufus): There are reports of bobcats breeding with domestic cats, but evidence of offspring remains circumstantial and anecdotal. Their interfertility is yet to be proven scientifically. ⦁[3]
⦁Domestic cat/⦁Pallas's cat (Otocolobus manul)
The Jaguarundi Curl is not a Jaguarundi hybrid. It is a short-legged domestic breed developed from REFR's Highland Lynx breed.

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Felidae

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Felidae is a family of mammals in the order Carnivora, colloquially referred to as cats, and constitutes a clade. A member of this family is also called a felid.[3][4][5][6] The term "cat" refers both to felids in general and specifically to the domestic cat (Felis catus).[7]

Felidae species exhibit the most diverse fur pattern of all terrestrial carnivores.[8] Cats have retractile claws, slender muscular bodies and strong flexible forelimbs. Their teeth and facial muscles allow for a powerful bite. They are all obligate carnivores, and most are solitary predators ambushing or stalking their prey. Wild cats occur in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas. Some wild cat species are adapted to forest habitats, some to arid environments, and a few also to wetlands and mountainous terrain. Their activity patterns range from nocturnal and crepuscular to diurnal, depending on their preferred prey species.[9]

Reginald Innes Pocock divided the extant Felidae into three subfamilies: the Pantherinae, the Felinae and the Acinonychinae, differing from each other by the ossification of the hyoid apparatus and by the cutaneous sheaths which protect their claws.[10] This concept has been revised following developments in molecular biology and techniques for analysis of morphological data. Today, the living Felidae are divided in two subfamilies: the Pantherinae and Felinae, with the Acinonychinae subsumed into the latter. Pantherinae includes five Panthera and two Neofelis species, while Felinae includes the other 34 species in ten genera.[11]

The first cats emerged during the Oligocene about 25 million years ago, with the appearance of Proailurus and Pseudaelurus. The latter species complex was ancestral to two main lines of felids: the cats in the extant subfamilies and a group of extinct cats of the subfamily Machairodontinae, which include the saber-toothed cats such as the Smilodon. The "false sabre-toothed cats", the Barbourofelidae and Nimravidae, are not true cats, but are closely related. Together with the Felidae, Viverridae, hyaenas and mongooses, they constitute the Feliformia.[7]

Characteristics

Domestic cat purring and meowing
Lion roaring

All members of the cat family have the following characteristics in common:

  • They are digitigrade, have five toes on their forefeet and four on their hind feet. Their curved claws are protractile and attached to the terminal bones of the toe with ligaments and tendons. The claws are guarded by cutaneous sheaths, except in the Acinonyx.[12]
  • They actively protract the claws by contracting muscles in the toe,[9] and they passively retract them. The dewclaws are expanded but do not protract.[13]
  • They have 30 teeth with a dental formula of 3.1.3.13.1.2.1. The upper third premolar and lower molar are adapted as carnassial teeth, suited to tearing and cutting flesh.[14] The canine teeth are large, reaching exceptional size in the extinct saber-toothed species. The lower carnassial is smaller than the upper carnassial and has a crown with two compressed blade-like pointed cusps.[9]
  • Their nose projects slightly beyond the lower jaw.[12]
  • They have well developed and highly sensitive whiskers above the eyes, on the cheeks, on the muzzle, but not below the chin.[12] Whiskers help to navigate in the dark and to capture and hold prey.[13]
  • Their skull is foreshortened with a rounded profile and large orbits.[13]
  • Their tongue is covered with horny papillae, which rasp meat from prey and aid in grooming.[13]
  • Their eyes are relatively large, situated to provide binocular vision. Their night vision is especially good due to the presence of a tapetum lucidum, which reflects light back inside the eyeball, and gives felid eyes their distinctive shine. As a result, the eyes of felids are about six times more light sensitive than those of humans, and many species are at least partially nocturnal. The retina of felids also contains a relatively high proportion of rod cells, adapted for distinguishing moving objects in conditions of dim light, which are complemented by the presence of cone cells for sensing colour during the day.[9]
  • Their external ears are large, and especially sensitive to high-frequency sounds in the smaller cat species. This sensitivity allows them to locate small rodent prey.[9]
  • They have lithe and flexible bodies with muscular limbs.[9]
  • The plantar pads of both fore and hind feet form compact three-lobed cushions.[14]
  • The penis is subconical and boneless.[12] Relative to body size, they have shorter bacula than canids.[15]
  • They cannot detect the sweetness of sugar, as they lack the sweet-taste receptor.[16]
  • Felids have a vomeronasal organ in the roof of the mouth, allowing them to "taste" the air.[17] The use of this organ is associated with the Flehmen response.[18]
  • The standard sounds made by all felids include meowing, spitting, hissing, snarling and growling. Meowing is the main contact sound, whereas the others signify an aggressive motivation.[9]
  • They can purr during both phases of respiration, though pantherine cats seem to purr only during oestrus and copulation, and as cubs when suckling. Purring is generally a low pitch sound of less than 2 kHz and mixed with other vocalization types during the expiratory phase.[19]

The colour, length and density of their fur is very diverse. Fur colour covers the gamut from white to black, and fur pattern from distinctive small spots, stripes to small blotches and rosettes. Most cat species are born with a spotted fur, except the jaguarundi (Herpailurus yagouaroundi), Asian golden cat (Catopuma temminckii) and caracal (Caracal caracal). The spotted fur of lion (Panthera leo) and cougar (Puma concolor) cubs change to a uniform fur during their ontogeny.[8] Those living in cold environments have thick fur with long hair, like the snow leopard (Panthera uncia) and the Pallas's cat (Otocolobus manul).[13] Those living in tropical and hot climate zones have short fur. Several species exhibit melanism with all-black individuals.[9]

In the great majority of cat species, the tail is between a third and a half of the body length, although with some exceptions, like the Lynx species and margay.[9] Cat species vary greatly in body and skull sizes, and weights:

  • The largest cat species is the tiger (Panthera tigris), with a head-to-body length of up to 390 cm (150 in), a weight range of at least 65 to 325 kg (143 to 717 lb), and a skull length ranging from 316 to 413 mm (12.4 to 16.3 in).[9][20] Although the maximum skull length of a lion is slightly greater at 419 mm (16.5 in), it is generally smaller in head-to-body length than the former.[21]
  • The smallest cat species are the rusty-spotted cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus) and the black-footed cat (Felis nigripes). The former is 35–48 cm (14–19 in) in length and weighs 0.9–1.6 kg (2.0–3.5 lb).[9] The latter has a head-to-body length of 36.7–43.3 cm (14.4–17.0 in) and a maximum recorded weight of 2.45 kg (5.4 lb).[22][23]

Most cat species have a haploid number of 18 or 19. Central and South American cats have a haploid number of 18, possibly due to the combination of two smaller chromosomes into a larger one.[24]

Evolution

"
Feliform evolutionary timeline
"
Megantereon model at Natural History Museum of Basel
"
Model of Smilodon fatalis
"
Graphical reconstruction of an American lion (Panthera atrox)

The family Felidae is part of the Feliformia, a suborder that diverged probably between 50.6 and 35 million years ago into several families.[25] The Felidae and the Asiatic linsangs are considered a sister group, which split between 35.2 and 31.9 million years ago.[26]

The earliest cats probably appeared between 35 and 28.5 million years ago. Proailurus is the oldest known cat that occurred after the Eocene–Oligocene extinction event about 33.9 million years ago; fossil remains were excavated in France and Mongolia's Hsanda Gol Formation.[7] Fossil occurrences indicate that the Felidae arrived in North America earliest 25 million years ago. This is about 20 million years later than the Ursidae and the Nimravidae, and about 10 million years later than the Canidae.[27]

In the Early Miocene between 20 and 16.6 million years ago, Pseudaelurus lived in Africa. Its fossil jaws were also excavated in geological formations of Europe's Vallesian, Asia's Middle Miocene and North America's late Hemingfordian to late Barstovian epochs.[28]

In the Early or Middle Miocene, the sabre-toothed Machairodontinae evolved in Africa and migrated northwards in the Late Miocene.[29] With their large upper canines, they were adapted to prey on large-bodied megaherbivores.[30][31] Miomachairodus is the oldest known member of this subfamily. Metailurus lived in Africa and Eurasia between 8 and 6 million years ago. Several Paramachaerodus skeletons were found in Spain. Homotherium appeared in Africa, Eurasia and North America around 3.5 million years ago, and Megantereon about 3 million years ago. Smilodon lived in North and South America from about 2.5 million years ago. This subfamily became extinct in the Late Pleistocene.[29]

Results of mitochondrial analysis indicate that the living Felidae species descended from a common ancestor, which originated in Asia in the Late Miocene epoch. They migrated to Africa, Europe and the Americas in the course of at least 10 migration waves during the past ~11 million years. Low sea levels, interglacial and glacial periods facilitated these migrations.[32] Panthera blytheae is the oldest known pantherine cat dated to the late Messinian to early Zanclean ages about 4.1–5.95 million years ago. A fossil skull was excavated in 2010 in Zanda County on the Tibetan Plateau.[33] Panthera palaeosinensis from North China probably dates to the Late Miocene or Early Pliocene. The skull of the holotype is similar to that of a lion or leopard.[34] Panthera zdanskyi dates to the Gelasian about 2.55–2.16 million years ago. Several fossil skulls and jawbones were excavated in northwestern China.[35] Panthera gombaszoegensis is the earliest known pantherine cat that lived in Europe between 1.95 and 1.77 million years ago.[36]

Living felids fall into eight evolutionary lineages or species clades.[37][38] Genotyping of nuclear DNA of all 41 felid species revealed that hybridization between species occurred in the course of evolution within the majority of the eight lineages.[39]

Modelling of felid coat pattern transformations revealed that nearly all patterns evolved from small spots.[40]

Classification

Traditionally, five subfamilies have been distinguished within the Felidae based on phenotypical features: the Pantherinae, the Felinae, the Acinonychinae,[10] and the extinct Machairodontinae and Proailurinae.[2]

Living species

The following table shows the living genera within the Felidae, grouped according to the traditional phenotypical classification.[11] Estimated genetic divergence times of the corresponding eight genotypical evolutionary lineages are indicated in million years ago (Mya), based on analysis of autosomal, xDNA, yDNA and mtDNA gene segments;[32] and estimates based on analysis of biparental nuclear genomes.[39]

Phylogeny

The phylogenetic relationships of living felids are shown in the following cladogram:[32]

Felidae Panthera lineage Pantherinae Panthera      

Leopard (P. pardus)

   

Lion (P. leo)

     

Jaguar (P. onca)

       

Snow leopard (P. uncia)

   

Tiger (P. tigris)

      Neofelis

Clouded leopard (N. nebulosa)

   

Sunda clouded leopard (N. diardi)

      Felinae Bay cat lineage   Catopuma

Bay cat (C. badia)

   

Asian golden cat (C. temminckii)

    Pardofelis

Marbled cat (P. marmorata)

      Caracal lineage   Caracal

Caracal (C. caracal)

   

African golden cat (C. aurata)

    Leptailurus

Serval (L. serval)

      Ocelot lineage Leopardus        

Geoffroy's cat (L. geoffroyi)

   

Kodkod (L. guigna)

     

Oncilla (L. tigrina)

       

Andean mountain cat (L. jacobita)

   

Pampas cat (L. colocola)

         

Ocelot (L. pardalis)

   

Margay (L. wiedii)

        Lynx lineage Lynx      

Eurasian lynx (L. lynx)

   

Iberian lynx (L. pardinus)

     

Canada lynx (L. canadensis)

     

Bobcat (L. rufus)

      Puma lineage     Puma

Cougar (P. concolor)

Herpailurus

Jaguarundi (H. yagouaroundi)

    Acinonyx

Cheetah (A. jubatus)

      Leopard cat lineage   Prionailurus      

Leopard cat (P. bengalensis)

   

Fishing cat (P. viverrinus)

     

Flat-headed cat (P. planiceps)

     

Rusty-spotted cat (P. rubiginosus)

    Otocolobus

Pallas's cat (O. manul)

    Felis

Jungle cat (F. chaus)

     

Black-footed cat (F. nigripes)

     

Sand cat (F. margarita)

wildcats    

Chinese mountain cat (F. bieti)

   

African wildcat (F. lybica)

       

European wildcat (F. silvestris)

   

Domestic cat (F. catus)

           

Domestic cat lineage

             

Prehistoric taxa

  • Proailurinae
  • Pseudailurus grade
    • Pseudaelurus (Gervais, 1850)[131][7]
      • P. quadridentatus (Blainville, 1882)
      • P. guangheesis (Cao et al, 1990)
      • P. cuspidatus (Wang et al, 1998)
    • Sivaelurus (Pilgrim, 1910)
      • S. chinjiensis (Pilgrim, 1910)
    • Hyperailurictis (Kretzoi, 1929)
      • H. intrepidus (Leidy, 1858)
      • H. marshi (Thorpe, 1922)
      • H. stouti (Schultz & Martin, 1972)
      • H. validus (Rothwell, 2001)
      • H. skinneri (Rothwell, 2003)
    • Styriofelis (Kretzoi, 1929)
      • S. turnauensis (Deperet, 1892)
      • S. romieviensis (Roman & Viret, 1934)
    • Miopanthera (Kretzoi, 1938)
      • M. lorteti (Gaillard, 1899)
      • M. pamiri (Ozansoy, 1965)
  • Pantherinae
  • Felinae
    • Felis
    • Lynx
    • Puma
    • Acinonyx
      • A. pardinensis (Croizet & Jobert, 1828)
      • A. intermedius (Thenius, 1954)[7]
      • A. aicha (Geraads, 1997)
    • Sivapanthera (Kretzoi, 1929)
      • S. arvernensis (Croizet & Jobert, 1828)
      • S. brachygnathus (Lydekker, 1884)
      • S. pleistocaenicus (Zdansky, 1925)
      • S. potens (Pilgrim, 1932)
      • S. linxiaensis (Qiu et al., 2004)
      • S. padhriensis (Ghaffar & Akhtar, 2004)
    • Pratifelis (Hibbard, 1934)
    • Miracinonyx (Adams, 1979)[137]
      • M. inexpectatus (Cope, 1895)
      • M. trumani (Orr, 1969)
    • Diamantofelis (Morales, Pickford, Soria & Fraile, 1998)[138]
      • D. ferox (Morales, Pickford, Soria & Fraile, 1998)
    • Namafelis (Morales, Pickford, Fraile, Salesa & Soria, 2003)[139]
      • N. minor (Morales, Pickford, Fraile, Salesa & Soria, 2003)
    • Asilifelis (Werdelin, 2011)[140]
      • A. coteae Werdelin, 2011
    • Leptofelis (Salesa et al., 2012)
      • L. vallesiensis (Salesa et al., 2012)
    • Pristifelis (Salesa et al., 2012)
    • Katifelis (Adrian, Werdelin & Grossman, 2018)[141]
      • K. nightingalei (Adrian, Werdelin & Grossman, 2018)
  • Machairodontinae
    • Tchadailurus (Salesa et al., 2012)
      • T. adei (Bonis et al., 2018)
    • Tribe Metailurini:
      • Metailurus (Zdansky, 1924)[142]
        • M. major (Zdansky, 1924)
        • M. mongoliensis (Colbert, 1939)
        • M. ultimus (Li, 2014)
        • M. boodon
      • Adelphailurus (Hibbard, 1934)
        • A. kansensis (Hibbard, 1934)
      • Stenailurus
        • S. teilhardi
      • Dinofelis (Zdansky, 1924)[29][143]
        • D. aronoki
        • D. barlowi
        • D. cristata
        • D. darti
        • D. diastemata
        • D. paleoonca
        • D. petteri
        • D. piveteaui
      • Yoshi (Spassov and Geraads, 2014)[144]
        • Y. minor (Zdansky, 1924)
        • Y. garevskii (Spassov and Geraads, 2014)
    • Tribe Smilodontini:
      • Megantereon (Croizet & Jobert, 1828)
        • M. cultridens (Cuvier, 1824)
        • M. nihowanensis (Teilhard de Chardin & Piveteau, 1930)
        • M. hesperus (Gazin, 1933)
        • M. whitei (Broom, 1937)
        • M. inexpectatus (Tielhard de Chardin, 1939)
        • M. vakshensis (Sarapov, 1986)
        • M. ekidoit (Werdelin & Lewis, 2000)
        • M. microta (Zhu et al., 2015)
      • Smilodon (Lund, 1842)
        • S. populator (Lund, 1842)
        • S. fatalis (Leidy, 1869)
        • S. gracilis (Cope, 1880)
      • Paramachairodus (Pilgrim, 1913)
        • P. maximiliani
        • P. orientalis
        • P. transasiaticus
      • Promegantereon (Kretzoi, 1938)[142]
        • P. ogygia (Kretzoi, 1938)
      • Rhizosmilodon (Wallace & Hulbert, 2013)
        • R. fiteae (Wallace & Hulbert, 2013)
    • Tribe Homotherini:
      • Homotherium (Fabrini, 1890)
        • H. latidens (Owen, 1846)
        • H. serum (Cope, 1893)
        • H. ischyrus (Merriam, 1905)
        • H. venezuelensis (Rincón et al., 2011)
      • Amphimachairodus (Kretzoi, 1929)[142]
        • A. giganteus (Kretzoi, 1929)
        • A. kurteni (Sotnikova, 1992)
        • A. coloradensis (Anton et al., 2013)
        • A. alvarezi (Ruiz-Ramoni et al., 2019)
      • Nimravides (Kitts, 1958)[142]
        • N. catacopsis (Cope, 1887)
        • N. pedionomus (MacDonald, 1948)
        • N. thinobates (MacDonald, 1948)
        • N. hibbardi (Dalquest, 1969)
        • N. galiani (Baskin, 1981)
      • Xenosmilus (Martin et al., 2000)
        • X. hodsonae (Martin et al., 2000)
      • Lokotunjailurus (Werdelin, 2003)
        • L. emageritus (Werdelin, 2003)
        • L. fanonei (Bonis, Peigné, Mackaye, Likius, Vignaud & Brunet, 2010)
    • Tribe Machairodontini:
      • Machairodus (Kaup, 1833)[142]
        • M. aphanistus (Kaup, 1832)
        • M. horribilis (Schlosser, 1903)
        • M. robinsoni (Kurtén, 1975)
        • M. pseudaeluroides (Schmidt-Kittler 1976)
        • M. alberdiae (Ginsburg et al., 1981)
        • M. laskerevi (Sotnikova, 1992)
        • M. kabir (Peigné et al., 2005)
      • Hemimachairodus (Koenigswald, 1974)
        • H. zwierzyckii (Koenigswald, 1974)
      • Miomachairodus (Schmidt-Kittler 1976)
        • M. pseudaeluroides (Schmidt-Kittler 1976)

See also

References

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Felidae: Brief Summary

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Felidae is a family of mammals in the order Carnivora, colloquially referred to as cats, and constitutes a clade. A member of this family is also called a felid. The term "cat" refers both to felids in general and specifically to the domestic cat (Felis catus).

Felidae species exhibit the most diverse fur pattern of all terrestrial carnivores. Cats have retractile claws, slender muscular bodies and strong flexible forelimbs. Their teeth and facial muscles allow for a powerful bite. They are all obligate carnivores, and most are solitary predators ambushing or stalking their prey. Wild cats occur in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas. Some wild cat species are adapted to forest habitats, some to arid environments, and a few also to wetlands and mountainous terrain. Their activity patterns range from nocturnal and crepuscular to diurnal, depending on their preferred prey species.

Reginald Innes Pocock divided the extant Felidae into three subfamilies: the Pantherinae, the Felinae and the Acinonychinae, differing from each other by the ossification of the hyoid apparatus and by the cutaneous sheaths which protect their claws. This concept has been revised following developments in molecular biology and techniques for analysis of morphological data. Today, the living Felidae are divided in two subfamilies: the Pantherinae and Felinae, with the Acinonychinae subsumed into the latter. Pantherinae includes five Panthera and two Neofelis species, while Felinae includes the other 34 species in ten genera.

The first cats emerged during the Oligocene about 25 million years ago, with the appearance of Proailurus and Pseudaelurus. The latter species complex was ancestral to two main lines of felids: the cats in the extant subfamilies and a group of extinct cats of the subfamily Machairodontinae, which include the saber-toothed cats such as the Smilodon. The "false sabre-toothed cats", the Barbourofelidae and Nimravidae, are not true cats, but are closely related. Together with the Felidae, Viverridae, hyaenas and mongooses, they constitute the Feliformia.

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