Domestic cat

Regardless of their breed, all 73 recognized kitties’ breeds are of one single species

Domestic cat


Regardless of their breed, all 73 recognized kitties’ breeds are of one single species

Population >400 million
18% annual growth rate

Domestic cats, those familiar and beloved companions that grace many of our homes, have a history and biology as fascinating as any creature in the animal kingdom. Their journey from wild hunters to cherished pets spans thousands of years and continents, with their likely origins tracing back to the European wildcats. It was not until 2017 that domestic cats were reclassified from being considered a subspecies of their wild relatives, underscoring the depth of their unique evolutionary pathway.

The domestication of cats is a tale woven with the threads of human history. Ancient Egyptians are credited with domesticating cats as early as 4,000 years ago, where they were revered not only for their ability to control pests but also for their grace and mystery, qualities that have endeared them to humans ever since. This long-standing relationship has led to the development of numerous breeds that share a remarkably consistent body shape and size, testifying to the shared genetic foundation from which they have all sprung.

The agility and flexibility of domestic cats are marvels of the natural world. Capable of leaping up to five times their height in a single bound, they exhibit an extraordinary level of athleticism for their size. This ability is not just for show; it’s a remnant of their predatory ancestors honed for hunting and survival. The flexibility afforded by their spine, which can rotate a significant portion 180 degrees thanks to an abundance of vertebrae, is another testament to their predatory heritage.

Another curious aspect of a cat’s anatomy is its lack of a true collarbone or clavicle and the medial placement of the scapulae on its body. This anatomical feature enables cats to squeeze through narrow spaces with ease, a skill that anyone who has watched a cat slip through a seemingly impossible gap can attest to.


Population est.
North America
South America

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No