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Cat histories

The Cat or in sciencetific name is Felis silvestris catus , also known as the Domestic Cat or House Cat to distinguish it from other felines, is a small carnivorous species of crepuscular mammal that is often valued by humans for its companionship and its ability to hunt vermin. It has been associated with humans for at least 9,500 years.

More than 50 million years ago, a small, "weasel-like" animal called "Miacis" roamed the Earth. Most scientists now believe that this animal was the ancestor of today's domestic cats, as well as the ancestor for other mammals including raccoons, dogs and bears. The extinct genus of species Miacis appeared in the Late Paleocene era (circa 65-42 million years ago) and were mammals of the family Miacidae, superfamily Miacoidea. They are representative of the group of early carnivores that were the ancestors of modern carnivores, ie., of the Order Carnivora. Only the species Miacis cognitus is a true Carnivora. Miacis may be considered the genus of carnivorous mammals that gave rise to all modern Carnivora. Miacis were five-clawed, about the size of a weasel (~30 cm), and lived on the North American and European continents. Some of their unique characteristics included low skulls, long slender bodies, long tails, and short legs. They had 44 teeth, although some reductions in this number were apparently in progress and some of the teeth are reduced in size. Their hind limbs were longer than their forelimbs and their pelvis was very doglike in form and structure. Miacis had retractable claws, agile joints for climbing, and binocular vision. Miacis and related forms had brains that were relatively larger than those of other creatures in the Carnivora order of that time; their increased brain size as compared with body size likely reflects an increase in intelligence. Miacis was well suited for a tree climbing lifestyle with needle sharp claws, and had limbs and joints that resemble those of modern carnivorans. Miacis was probably a very agile forest dweller that preyed upon smaller animals, such as small mammals, reptiles, and birds, and might have also have eaten eggs and fruits. It was about 40 million years ago that actual members of the cat family first appeared on our planet.

A skilled predator, the cat is known to hunt over 1,000 species for food. It is intelligent and can be trained to obey simple commands. Individual cats have also been known to learn on their own to manipulate simple mechanisms. Cats use a variety of vocalizations and types of body language for communication, including meowing, purring, hissing, growling, squeaking, chirping, clicking, and grunting. Cats are popular pets and are also bred and shown as registered pedigree pets.


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