Understanding the natural roots of cat behavior

I’d bet you’d never think to compare your cat to an African lion, or a tiger. But the truth is that our beloved cats have a closer relation to those animals than it may seem at first glance. Today I am going to tell you about the family trees of cats which you can use to help understand why your cat acts the way she does!

The Cat Family:

We’ve all been to the zoo, we all know the thrill and excitement that comes with seeing the “big cats” – I’m talking about lions, tigers, leopards and bobcats. When you are a child, there is nothing that quite compares to seeing a pride of lions!

Some pretty strong comparisons can be made between the wild cats mentioned above, and your cat lounging on the couch. The first comparison is in how they live. Just about all species of wild cats lead solitary lives (the exception to this is the African lion who lives in a group called a pride), the same thing can be said of your pet cat at home. She is content to be by herself, doesn’t require a lot of entertainment or affection, and would rather be left alone.

Another comparison between wild cats and your pet cat is the fact that they both have incredibly keen hearing, sight and smell. All cats mark their territory in the same ways – by rubbing against things – leaving their scent behind. Ever wonder why cats constantly lick themselves? Not only is it to keep their fur clean, it is also a way for them to get their scent on their fur so they can rub it onto an object.

Cats also share an interesting sense – commonly referred to as the “smell/taste” sense. When it looks as if a cat is yawning or almost growling – lifting her lips back and breathing in, she is actually smelling and tasting the air at the exact same time!

Both wild cats and domestic cats have whiskers – but what good are they? Cats hunt mostly at night and although their vision is better than average, it is still hard to see when it is pitch black! Cats whiskers have extra-sensitive nerve endings they use to “feel” their way around in the dark. This enables them to find their way home or to prey even if they can’t see more than 5 feet in front of them!

When talking about wild animals, it is always important to remember what you are dealing with. No one should ever purchase a wild “exotic” animal such as a lion or tiger to raise as their own. The cats we keep as pets have been domesticated over many thousands of years – wild animals will still have those wild instincts and you just never know what they will do!

A crackdown on people who own and raise wild animals such as lions, tigers, and even cheetahs has been going on for the past 10 years. I am sure you can remember hearing at least one story that did not have a happy ending for the people who owned these types of animals. People need to understand that putting a collar on a wild animal, naming it, giving it a loving home, and raising it from birth does not make it domesticated and it does not make it lose it’s natural instincts!

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