Felidae - The Family of Cats


The family of cats is divided up into three sub-families: Cheetahs (Achinonychinae), smaller cats (Felinae), including the puma (cougar) and large cats (Pantherinae). Our FAQs at this time will include only the certain members of the sub-family Felinae which contains 13 genera and 28 species of small cats, lynxes and the cougar. At a later date, we hope to add FAQs pages containing our experiences and research with other members of the cat family.

All cats have a supple, muscular body, that is very suited to their predatory lifestyle. They have four claws on each rear food and five on the front feet which are all retractable in this sub-family, Felinae. The 'thumb' claw is higher than the others on the inside of the leg also called the dew claw. Their tongue is rough and suitable for grooming their coats and their young. Most cats in this sub-family have pupils in their eyes that contract to vertical slits. Most of the cats in this sub-family stalk or ambush their prey, which consists of small mammals, birds, reptiles, insects and fish. Exceptions will be noted under each species.

The ranges of the small cats are diverse with some species living in cold climates where there are long winters and others that live in arid desert areas.

The entire family of cats is at least a minimum of CITIES II except the domestic cat. Many are listed as CITES I and are some are also on USFW Threatened and Endangered list.


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