Curtin, Charles B. Department of Biology, Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska.
Last reviewed:June 2019
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- Domestic cats
- Wild forms
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The common name used to describe any member of the carnivoran mammalian family Felidae. Members of the family Felidae (order Carnivora, class Mammalia) are known as cats. Typically, in common usage, the term is restricted to the domestic cat and those felid members that resemble it in size, shape, and habits. Felids that are larger in size than domestic cats are referred to as the big cats (Fig. 1). All members of the cat family have a round head, are digitigrade (walk on their toes), have retractile claws (with the exception of the cheetah), and usually have 30 teeth (dental formula: I 3/3, C 1/1, Pm 3/2, M 1/1 × 2). All species are carnivorous. In addition, many of the wild species of cats are listed as endangered. See also: Carnivora; Dentition; Endangered species; Mammalia; Predatory feline genes
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