Have you ever wondered about who are the relatives of your pet cat? Among the cat family, domestic cats are descendants of big cats and cats that have lived in the wild for thousands of years.
In fact, it’s estimated that the first cats appeared about 25 million years ago.
You may be familiar with Lions, Tigers and Leopards, but there are actually many more members of the cat family.
In this article we’ll talk about all the different animals that belong to the cat family.
First of all, what features make an animal a cat?
Cats are the colloquially named animals that belong to the family of Felidae. Members of this family are called felid or feline.
The Felidae can be further categorized into Pantherine, which include the majority of big cats such as Tigers, Lions, Jaguar and so on.
The second category are the Felinae, which includes the majority of domestic cat species that you’re familiar with.
What are their characteristics?
All cats, both domestic and wild, share similar body characteristics.
These include, flexible bodies with muscular limbs and tongues that are covered with spiky papillae to help with their grooming and to rasp meat from their prey.
All cats have sensitive whiskers on their cheeks, above the eyes and on their muzzle, and they all have excellent vision.
Their eyes are equipped with a membrane that reflects light back inside their eyeballs giving their iconic shine at night.
So what are some notable members of the cat family?
You’re probably familiar with Tigers, Lions and Leopards, but the extended cat family also includes other notable animals such as the Eurasian Lynx, Cougar, Cheetah, Ocelot and the Margay.
Also interesting to note is that the term “Black Panther” is an umbrella term used for the black variant of any big cat, not to be confused for its own species.
In Asia and Africa, Black Panthers are called Black Leopards, whereas those on the American continent are referred to as the Black Jaguar.
Bali Safari Park homes some of the extended cat family for guests to visit such as the Lions, Leopards and both Orange and White Tigers.
You can even dine with them at the Tsavo Lion Restaurant. Learn more about the big cats at Bali Safari Park!