Neofelis is a genus comprising two extant cat species from Southeast Asia: the clouded leopard of mainland Asia, the Sunda clouded leopard of Sumatra and Borneo. The scientific name Neofelis is a composite of the Greek word neo- meaning "new", the Latin word feles meaning "cat" meaning "new cat"; the generic name Neofelis was first proposed by John Edward Gray in 1867 as comprising two species. Reginald Innes Pocock recognized the taxonomic classification of Neofelis in 1917, but admitted only the single species Neofelis nebulosa with several subspecies and macrocelis as the type specimen. For 90 years, the classification of Neofelis as a monotypic genus was accepted. In 2006, Neofelis diardi was found to be distinct from its continental relative Neofelis nebulosa and classified as a separate species. Gray described the genus Neofelis as having an elongate skull, a broad and rather produced face on the same plane as the forehead, a large and elongate nasal, a moderate orbit, a truncated lower jaw and long conical upper and lower canine teeth with a sharp cutting hinder edge.
This skull has resemblances to that of the fossil Smilodon, with much elongated upper canines. Pocock described the skull of Neofelis as recalling in general features that of Panthera pardus in the shortness and wide separation of the frontal and malar postorbital processes, relative proportion of mandibular teeth; the Sunda clouded leopard has a narrower palate between them. Neofelis species range from Nepal and Sikkim eastward to south China and Hainan, southeastward to Burma, the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo, they are most associated with primary evergreen tropical rainforest, but make use of other types of habitat. Sightings have been made in secondary and logged forest, as well as grassland and scrub. In the Himalayan foothills they have been recorded up to 1,450 m. Between 1821 and 1862, several felids have been described from Southeast Asia that are subordinated under Neofelis today: Felis nebulosa was first described in 1821 by Edward Griffith based on a specimen brought from Canton in southern China.
Populations range from the Himalayan foothills in Nepal through mainland Southeast Asia into China. Felis diardi was first described in 1823 by Georges Cuvier based on a skin and a drawing received from Java; the Sunda clouded leopard is restricted to the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. In Java only clouded leopard fossils were found. Leopardus brachyurus was first described in 1862 by Robert Swinhoe based on two to three skins from Taiwan. Today the Formosan clouded leopard is considered a subspecies of Neofelis nebulosa under the trinomial Neofelis nebulosa brachyurus, it is now believed to be extinct. Deforestation is the foremost threat for both Neofelis species, they are threatened by commercial poaching for the wildlife trade. Skins and teeth are offered for decoration and clothing and meat as substitute for tiger in traditional Asian medicines and tonics, live animals for the pet trade. Few poaching incidents have been documented, but all range states are believed to have some degree of commercial poaching.
In recent years, substantial domestic markets existed in Indonesia and Vietnam. Both Neofelis species are protected over most of their range. Hunting is banned in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Taiwan and Vietnam. Hunting regulations apply in Laos
Feliformia is a suborder within the order Carnivora consisting of "cat-like" carnivorans, including cats, mongooses and related taxa. Feliformia stands in contrast to the other suborder of Caniformia; the separation of the Carnivora into the broad groups of feliforms and caniforms is accepted, as is the definition of Feliformia and Caniformia as suborders. The classification of feliforms as part of the Feliformia suborder or under separate groupings continues to evolve. Systematic classifications dealing with only extant taxa include all feliforms into the Feliformia suborder, though variations exist in the definition and grouping of families and genera. Indeed, molecular phylogenies suggest; the extant families as reflected in the taxa chart at right and the discussions in this article reflect the most contemporary and well-supported views. Systematic classifications dealing with both extant and extinct taxa vary more widely; some separate the feliforms as: Feliformia. Others include all feliforms into the Feliformia suborder.
Some studies suggest. The extinct families as reflected in the taxa chart are the least problematic in terms of their relationship with extant feliforms. All extant feliforms share a common attribute: their auditory bullae; this is a key diagnostic in classifying species as feliform versus caniform. In feliforms, the auditory bullae are double-chambered. Caniforms have single-chambered or divided auditory bullae, composed of a single bone; this feature, however, is problematic for the classification of the extinct Nimravidae as feliforms. Nimravid fossils show no trace at all of the entire bulla, it is assumed. The specific characteristics of extant feliform bullae suggest a common ancestor, though one has not been identified in the fossil records. There are other characteristics that differentiate feliforms from caniforms and existed in their stem taxa. But, due to speciation, these do not apply unambiguously to all extant species. Feliforms tend to have shorter rostrums than caniforms, fewer teeth, more specialized carnassials.
Feliforms tend to be more carnivorous and are ambush hunters. Caniforms tend more toward opportunity-based feeders. Many feliforms have retractile or semi-retractile claws and many are arboreal or semi-arboreal. Feliforms tend to be more digitigrade. In contrast, most caniforms have non-retractile claws and tend to be plantigrade. There are seven extant families, twelve subfamilies, 56 genera and 114 species in the Feliformia suborder, they range natively across all continents except Antarctica. Most species are arboreal or semi-arboreal ambush hunters. Target prey varies based on available food sources. An overview of each family is provided here. For detailed taxa and descriptions of the species in each family, follow the links to other articles and external references. Family Eupleridae includes fossa, Malagasy civet and Malagasy mongooses, all of which are restricted to the island of Madagascar; the eight species in the family exhibit significant variations in form. These differences led to the species in this family sharing common names with, being placed in the different families of more similar species on the mainland.
However, phylogenetic analysis of DNA provides strong evidence that all Malagasy carnivorans evolved from a single common ancestor, a herpestid. Phylogenetic analysis supports this view and places all of the Malagasy carnivorans in the family Eupleridae; the differences in form make it difficult to concisely summarise the species in this family. The range in size is as diverse as the range in form, with smaller species at less than 500 g and the largest species at up to 12 kg; some have retractile or semi-retractile claws and others do not. They all tend to have pointed rostra. Diet varies with size and form of the species and, like their mainland counterparts, ranges from small mammals and invertebrates through to crustaceans and molluscs. Family Felidae are the most widespread of the "cat-like" carnivorans. There are 41 extant species, all but a few have retractile claws; this family is represented on all continents except the Antarctic. The species vary in size from the tiny black-footed cat at only 2 kg to the tiger at 300 kg.
Diet ranges from large to small mammals and insects Family Hyaenidae has four extant species and two subspecies. All show features of convergent evolution with canids, including non-retractile claws, long muzzles, adaptations to running for long distances, they are extant in the Middle East and Africa. Hyenas are large, powerful animals, up to 80 kg and represent
Felidae is a family of mammals in the order Carnivora, colloquially referred to as cats. A member of this family is called a felid; the term "cat" refers both to felids in general and to the domestic cat. The Felidae species exhibit the most diverse fur pattern of all terrestrial carnivores. Cats have slender muscular bodies and strong flexible forelimbs, their teeth and facial muscles allow for a powerful bite. They are all obligate carnivores, most are solitary predators ambushing or stalking their prey. Wild cats occur in Africa, Europe and the Americas; some wild cat species are adapted to forest habitats, some to arid environments, a few to wetlands and mountainous terrain. Their activity patterns range from nocturnal and crepuscular to diurnal, depending on their preferred prey species. Reginald Innes Pocock divided the extant Felidae into three subfamilies: the Pantherinae, the Felinae and the Acinonychinae, differing from each other by the ossification of the hyoid apparatus and by the cutaneous sheaths which protect their claws.
This concept has been revised following developments in molecular biology and techniques for analysis of morphological data. Today, the living Felidae are divided in two subfamilies, with the Pantherinae including seven Panthera and two Neofelis species; the Felinae include all the non-pantherine cats with 34 species. The first cats emerged during the Oligocene about 25 million years ago, with the appearance of Proailurus and Pseudaelurus; the latter species complex was ancestral to two main lines of felids: the cats in the extant subfamilies and a group of extinct cats of the subfamily Machairodontinae, which include the saber-toothed cats such as the Smilodon. The "false sabre toothed cats", the Barbourofelidae and Nimravidae, are not true cats, but are related. Together with the Felidae, Viverridae and mongooses, they constitute the Feliformia. All members of the cat family have the following characteristics in common: They are digitigrade, have five toes on their forefeet and four on their hind feet.
Their curved claws are protractile and attached to the terminal bones of the toe with ligaments and tendons. The claws are guarded except in the Acinonyx, they protract the claws by contracting muscles in the toe, they passively retract them. The dewclaws do not protract, they have 30 teeth with a dental formula of 126.96.36.199.1.2.1. The upper third premolar and lower molar are adapted as carnassial teeth, suited to tearing and cutting flesh; the canine teeth are large. The lower carnassial is smaller than the upper carnassial and has a crown with two compressed blade-like pointed cusps, their nose projects beyond the lower jaw. They have well developed and sensitive whiskers above the eyes, on the cheeks, on the muzzle, but not below the chin. Whiskers help to capture and hold prey, their skull is foreshortened with large orbits. Their tongue is covered with horny papillae, which rasp meat from aid in grooming, their eyes are large, situated to provide binocular vision. Their night vision is good due to the presence of a tapetum lucidum, which reflects light back inside the eyeball, gives felid eyes their distinctive shine.
As a result, the eyes of felids are about six times more light sensitive than those of humans, many species are at least nocturnal. The retina of felids contains a high proportion of rod cells, adapted for distinguishing moving objects in conditions of dim light, which are complemented by the presence of cone cells for sensing colour during the day, their external ears are large, sensitive to high-frequency sounds in the smaller cat species. This sensitivity allows them to locate small rodent prey, they have flexible bodies with muscular limbs. The plantar pads of both fore and hind feet form compact three-lobed cushions; the penis is boneless. Relative to body size, they have shorter bacula than canids, they can not detect the sweetness of sugar. Felids have a vomeronasal organ in the roof of the mouth; the use of this organ is associated with the Flehmen response. The standard sounds made by all felids include meowing, hissing and growling. Meowing is the main contact sound, they can purr during both phases of respiration, though pantherine cats seem to purr only during oestrus and copulation, as cubs when suckling.
Purring is a low pitch sound of less than 2 kHz and mixed with other vocalization types during the expiratory phase. Most felids are able to land on their feet after a fall due to the cat righting reflex; the colour and density of their fur is diverse. Fur colour varies from light brown to golden and reddish brown, fur pattern from distinctive small spots, stripes to small blotches and rosettes. Most cat species are born except the jaguarundi, Asian golden cat and caracal; the spotted fur of lion and cougar cubs change to a uniform fur during their ontogeny. Those living in cold environments have thick fur with long hair, like the snow leopard and the Pallas's cat; those living in tropical and hot climate zones have short fur. Several species exhibit melanism with all-black individuals. In the great majority of cat species, the tail is between a third and a half of the body length, although with some exceptions, like the Ly
The Jurassic period was a geologic period and system that spanned 56 million years from the end of the Triassic Period 201.3 million years ago to the beginning of the Cretaceous Period 145 Mya. The Jurassic constitutes the middle period of the Mesozoic Era known as the Age of Reptiles; the start of the period was marked by the major Triassic–Jurassic extinction event. Two other extinction events occurred during the period: the Pliensbachian-Toarcian extinction in the Early Jurassic, the Tithonian event at the end; the Jurassic period is divided into three epochs: Early and Late. In stratigraphy, the Jurassic is divided into the Lower Jurassic, Middle Jurassic, Upper Jurassic series of rock formations; the Jurassic is named after the Jura Mountains within the European Alps, where limestone strata from the period were first identified. By the beginning of the Jurassic, the supercontinent Pangaea had begun rifting into two landmasses: Laurasia to the north, Gondwana to the south; this created more coastlines and shifted the continental climate from dry to humid, many of the arid deserts of the Triassic were replaced by lush rainforests.
On land, the fauna transitioned from the Triassic fauna, dominated by both dinosauromorph and crocodylomorph archosaurs, to one dominated by dinosaurs alone. The first birds appeared during the Jurassic, having evolved from a branch of theropod dinosaurs. Other major events include the appearance of the earliest lizards, the evolution of therian mammals, including primitive placentals. Crocodilians made the transition from a terrestrial to an aquatic mode of life; the oceans were inhabited by marine reptiles such as ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs, while pterosaurs were the dominant flying vertebrates. The chronostratigraphic term "Jurassic" is directly linked to the Jura Mountains, a mountain range following the course of the France–Switzerland border. During a tour of the region in 1795, Alexander von Humboldt recognized the limestone dominated mountain range of the Jura Mountains as a separate formation that had not been included in the established stratigraphic system defined by Abraham Gottlob Werner, he named it "Jura-Kalkstein" in 1799.
The name "Jura" is derived from the Celtic root *jor via Gaulish *iuris "wooded mountain", borrowed into Latin as a place name, evolved into Juria and Jura. The Jurassic period is divided into three epochs: Early and Late. In stratigraphy, the Jurassic is divided into the Lower Jurassic, Middle Jurassic, Upper Jurassic series of rock formations known as Lias and Malm in Europe; the separation of the term Jurassic into three sections originated with Leopold von Buch. The faunal stages from youngest to oldest are: During the early Jurassic period, the supercontinent Pangaea broke up into the northern supercontinent Laurasia and the southern supercontinent Gondwana; the Jurassic North Atlantic Ocean was narrow, while the South Atlantic did not open until the following Cretaceous period, when Gondwana itself rifted apart. The Tethys Sea closed, the Neotethys basin appeared. Climates were warm, with no evidence of a glacier having appeared; as in the Triassic, there was no land over either pole, no extensive ice caps existed.
The Jurassic geological record is good in western Europe, where extensive marine sequences indicate a time when much of that future landmass was submerged under shallow tropical seas. In contrast, the North American Jurassic record is the poorest of the Mesozoic, with few outcrops at the surface. Though the epicontinental Sundance Sea left marine deposits in parts of the northern plains of the United States and Canada during the late Jurassic, most exposed sediments from this period are continental, such as the alluvial deposits of the Morrison Formation; the Jurassic was a time of calcite sea geochemistry in which low-magnesium calcite was the primary inorganic marine precipitate of calcium carbonate. Carbonate hardgrounds were thus common, along with calcitic ooids, calcitic cements, invertebrate faunas with dominantly calcitic skeletons; the first of several massive batholiths were emplaced in the northern American cordillera beginning in the mid-Jurassic, marking the Nevadan orogeny. Important Jurassic exposures are found in Russia, South America, Japan and the United Kingdom.
In Africa, Early Jurassic strata are distributed in a similar fashion to Late Triassic beds, with more common outcrops in the south and less common fossil beds which are predominated by tracks to the north. As the Jurassic proceeded and more iconic groups of dinosaurs like sauropods and ornithopods proliferated in Africa. Middle Jurassic strata are neither well studied in Africa. Late Jurassic strata are poorly represented apart from the spectacular Tendaguru fauna in Tanzania; the Late Jurassic life of Tendaguru is similar to that found in western North America's Morrison Formation. During the Jurassic period, the primary vertebrates living in the sea were marine reptiles; the latter include ichthyosaurs, which were at the peak of their diversity, plesiosaurs and marine crocodiles of the families Teleosauridae and Metriorhynchidae. Numerous turtles could be found in rivers. In the invertebrate world, several new groups appeared, including rudists (a reef-formi
William John Burchell
William John Burchell was an English explorer, traveller and author. His thousands of plant specimens, as well as field journals from his South American expedition, are held by Kew Gardens, his insect collection by the Oxford University Museum. William John Burchell was born in Fulham, the son of Matthew Burchell and owner of Fulham Nursery, his wife, his father owned nine and a half acres of land adjacent to the gardens of Fulham Palace. Burchell served a botanical apprenticeship at Kew and was elected F. L. S. in 1803. At about this time, he became enamoured of Lucia Green of Fulham, but faced strong disapproval from his parents when he broached the idea of an engagement. On 7 August 1805 Burchell at the age of 24 sailed for St. Helena aboard the East Indiaman Northumberland intending to set up there as a merchant with a partner from London, William Balcombe. After a year of trading, Burchell did not want to dissolved the partnership. Three months he accepted a position as schoolmaster on the island and as official botanist.
In 1810 he sailed to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa on the recommendation of Gen. J. W. Janssens to add to his botanical collection. Burchell's intended wife had jilted him for the captain of the boat taking her to St. Helena to join him. Landing at Table Bay on 26 November 1810, after stormy weather had prevented a landing for 13 days, Burchell set about planning an expedition into the interior, he left Cape Town in June 1811. Burchell travelled in South Africa through 1815, collecting over 50,000 specimens, covering more than 7000 km, much over unexplored terrain, he described his journey in Travels in the Interior of Southern Africa, a two-volume work appearing in 1822 and 1824. He is believed to have planned a third volume, since the second ends long before he completed his journey. On 25 August 1815 he sailed from Cape Town with 48 crates of specimens aboard the vessel Kate, calling at St. Helena and reaching Fulham on 11 November 1815. Given his experience and knowledge of South Africa, in 1819 Burchell was questioned by a select committee of the British House of Commons about the suitability of the area for emigration.
The 1820 Settlers went out from England a year later. He spent time cataloguing and processing his specimens, raising funds for his next expedition. Burchell travelled in Brazil between 1825 and 1830, again collecting a large number of specimens, including more than 20,000 insects; the journals covering his Brazil expedition are missing, as are his diaries relating to his travels. His field note books, detailing his plant collections, are held in the collection of Kew Gardens. Historians have used them to reconstruct the latter part of his trip. Burchell's extensive African collections included plants, animal skins, insects, seeds and fish. After his death, his plant specimens and manuscripts, both South African and Brazilian, were presented by his sister, Anna Burchell, to Kew Gardens and the insects to Oxford University Museum, he is known for the copious and accurate notes he made to accompany every collected specimen, detailing habit and habitat, as well as the numerous drawings and paintings of landscapes, costumes, people and plants.
Burchell died in Fulham in 1863, ending his own life by hanging himself in a small outhouse in his garden, after a non-fatal suicide attempt by shooting. He is buried near his home at All Saints Fulham, he is commemorated in the monotypic plant genus Burchellia R. Br. Numerous animal species were named for him: Burchell's zebra, Burchell's coucal, Burchell's sandgrouse, Burchell's courser, the Eciton burchellii army ant. A species of African lizard, Pedioplanis burchelli, is named in his honor. Burchell is denoted by the author abbreviation Burch; when citing a botanical name. William Burchell, Travels in the Interior of Southern Africa, full text scanned, online at Internet Archive Botanical Exploration of Southern Africa Mary Gunn and LE Codd ISBN 0-86961-129-1 The South African Drawings of William Burchell vols 1 & 2 - Witwatersrand University Press, 1938 & 1952 Biodiversity Heritage Library William Burchell’s medical challenges: A 19th-century natural philosopher in the field Trekking Burchell’s Wagon Route Burchell’s Travels by Bike.
The jungle cat called reed cat and swamp cat, is a medium-sized cat native to the Middle East and Southeast Asia and southern China. It inhabits foremost wetlands like swamps and riparian areas with dense vegetation, it is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, is threatened by destruction of wetlands and poisoning. The jungle cat has a uniformly reddish-brown or grey fur without spots, it is solitary except during the mating season and mother-kitten families. Adults maintain territories by urine scent marking, its preferred prey is small birds. It hunts by stalking its prey, followed by a leap. Both sexes become sexually mature by the time. Mating behaviour is similar to that in the domestic cat: the male pursues the female in oestrus, seizes her by the nape of her neck and mounts her. Gestation lasts nearly two months. Births take place between June, though this might vary geographically. Kittens begin to catch their own prey at around six months and leave the mother after eight or nine months.
The species was first described by Johann Anton Güldenstädt in 1776 based on a specimen caught in a Caucasian wetland. Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber gave the jungle cat its present binomial name and is therefore considered as binomial authority. Three subspecies are recognised at present. In 2006, the phylogenetic relationship of the jungle cat was described as follows: The jungle cat is a member of the genus Felis within the Felidae family. Results of an mtDNA analysis of 55 jungle cats from various biogeographic zones in India indicate a high genetic variation and a low differentiation between populations, it appears that the central Indian F. c. kutas population separates the Thar F. c. prateri populations from the rest and the south Indian F. c. kelaarti populations from the north Indian F. c. affinis ones. The central Indian populations are genetically closer to the southern than to the northern populations; the Baltic-German naturalist Johann Anton Güldenstädt was the first scientist who caught a jungle cat near the Terek River at the southern frontier of the Russian empire, a region that he explored in 1768–1775 on behalf of Catherine II of Russia.
He described this specimen in 1776 under the name "Chaus". In 1778, Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber used chaus as the species name and is therefore considered the binomial authority. Paul Matschie in 1912 and Joel Asaph Allen in 1920 challenged the validity of Güldenstädt's nomenclature, arguing that the name Felis auriculis apice nigro barbatis was not a binomen and therefore improper, that "chaus" was used as a common name rather than as part of the scientific name. In the 1820s, Eduard Rüppell collected a female jungle cat near Lake Manzala in the Nile Delta. Thomas Hardwicke’s collection of illustrations of Indian wildlife comprises the first drawing of an Indian jungle cat, named the "allied cat" by John Edward Gray in 1830. Two years Johann Friedrich von Brandt proposed a new species under the name Felis rüppelii, recognising the distinctness of the Egyptian jungle cat; the same year, a stuffed cat was presented at a meeting of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, caught in the jungles of Midnapore in West Bengal, India.
J. T. Pearson, who donated the specimen, proposed the name Felis kutas, noting that it differed in colouration from Felis chaus. Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire described a jungle cat from the area of Dehra Dun in northern India in 1844 under the name Felis jacquemontii in memory of Victor Jacquemont. In 1836, Brian Houghton Hodgson proclaimed the red-eared cat found in Nepal to be a lynx and therefore named it Lynchus erythrotus. William Thomas Blanford pointed out the lynx-like appearance of cat skins and skulls from the plains around Yarkant County and Kashgar when he described Felis shawiana in 1876. Nikolai Severtzov proposed the generic name Catolynx in 1858, followed by Leopold Fitzinger's suggestion to call it Chaus catolynx in 1869. In 1898, William Edward de Winton proposed to subordinate the specimens from the Caucasus and Turkestan to Felis chaus typica, regrouped the lighter built specimens from the Indian subcontinent to F. c. affinis. He renamed the Egyptian jungle cat as F. c. nilotica because Felis rüppelii was applied to a different cat.
A skin collected near Jericho in 1864 led him to describe a new subspecies, F. c. furax, as this skin was smaller than other Egyptian jungle cat skins. A few years Alfred Nehring described a jungle cat skin collected in Palestine, which he named Lynx chrysomelanotis. Reginald Innes Pocock reviewed the nomenclature of felids in 1917 and classified the jungle cat group as part of the genus Felis. In the 1930s, Pocock reviewed the jungle cat skins and skulls from British India and adjacent countries. Based on differences in fur length and colour he subordinated the zoological specimens from Turkestan to Balochistan to F. c. chaus, the Himalayan ones to F. c. affinis, the ones from Cutch to Bengal under F. c. kutas, the tawnier ones from Burma under F. c. fulvidina. He newly described six larger skins from Sind as F. c. prateri, skins with shorter coats from Sri Lanka and southern India as F. c. kelaarti. In 2005, the authors of Mammal Species of the World recognized 10 subspecies as valid taxa.
Since 2017, the Cat Specialist Group considers only three subspecies as valid. Geographical variation of the jungle cat is not
The cat is a small carnivorous mammal. It is the only domesticated species in the family Felidae and referred to as the domestic cat to distinguish it from wild members of the family; the cat is either a house cat, kept as a pet, or a feral cat ranging and avoiding human contact. A house cat is valued for its ability to hunt rodents. About 60 cat breeds are recognized by various cat registries. Cats are similar in anatomy to the other felid species, with a strong flexible body, quick reflexes, sharp teeth and retractable claws adapted to killing small prey, they are predators who are most active at dusk. Cats can hear sounds too faint or too high in frequency for human ears, such as those made by mice and other small animals. Compared to humans, they see better in the dark and have a better sense of smell, but poorer color vision. Cats, despite being solitary hunters, are a social species. Cat communication includes the use of vocalizations including mewing, trilling, hissing and grunting as well as cat-specific body language.
Cats communicate by secreting and perceiving pheromones. Female domestic cats can have kittens from spring to late autumn, with litter sizes ranging from two to five kittens. Domestic cats can be shown as registered pedigreed cats, a hobby known as cat fancy. Failure to control the breeding of pet cats by spaying and neutering, as well as abandonment of pets, has resulted in large numbers of feral cats worldwide, contributing to the extinction of entire bird species, evoking population control, it was long thought that cat domestication was initiated in Egypt, because cats in ancient Egypt were venerated since around 3100 BC. However, the earliest indication for the taming of an African wildcat was found in Cyprus, where a cat skeleton was excavated close by a human Neolithic grave dating to around 7500 BC. African wildcats were first domesticated in the Near East; the leopard cat was tamed independently in China around 5500 BC, though this line of domesticated cats leaves no trace in the domestic cat populations of today.
As of 2017, the domestic cat was the second-most popular pet in the U. S. by number of pets owned, with 95 million cats owned. As of 2017, it was ranked the third-most popular pet in the UK, after fish and dogs, with around 8 million being owned; the number of cats in the UK has nearly doubled since 1965. The origin of the English word cat and its counterparts in other Germanic languages, descended from Proto-Germanic *kattōn-, is controversial, it has traditionally thought to be a borrowing from Late Latin cattus,'domestic cat', from catta, compare Byzantine Greek κάττα, Portuguese and Spanish gato, French chat, Maltese qattus, Lithuanian katė, Old Church Slavonic kotъ, among others. The Late Latin word is thought to originate from an Afro-Asiatic language, but every proposed source word has presented problems. Many references refer to "Berber" kaddîska,'wildcat', Nubian kadīs as possible sources or cognates, but M. Lionel Bender suggests the Nubian term is a loan from Arabic قِطَّة qiṭṭa. Jean-Paul Savignac suggests the Latin word is from an Ancient Egyptian precursor of Coptic ϣⲁⲩ šau,'tomcat', or its feminine form suffixed with -t, but John Huehnergard says "the source was not Egyptian itself, where no analogous form is attested."
Huehnergard opines it is "equally that the forms might derive from an ancient Germanic word, imported into Latin and thence to Greek and to Syriac and Arabic". Guus Kroonen considers the word to be native to Germanic and Northern Europe, suggests that it might be borrowed from Uralic, cf. Northern Sami gáđfi,'female stoat', Hungarian hölgy,'stoat'. In any case, cat is a classic example of a word that has spread as a loanword among numerous languages and cultures: a Wanderwort. An alternative word is English puss. Attested only from the 16th century, it may have been introduced from Dutch poes or from Low German puuskatte, related to Swedish kattepus, or Norwegian pus, pusekatt. Similar forms exist in Irish puisín or puiscín; the etymology of this word is unknown, but it may have arisen from a sound used to attract a cat. A group of cats can be referred to a glaring. A male cat is called a tom or tomcat An unspayed female is called a queen in a cat-breeding context. A juvenile cat is referred to as a kitten.
In Early Modern English, the word kitten was interchangeable with the now-obsolete word catling. The male progenitor of a cat a pedigreed cat, is its sire and its mother is its dam. A pedigreed cat is one. A purebred cat is one. Many pedigreed and purebred cats are exhibited as show cats. Cats of unrecorded, mixed ancestry are referred to as domestic short-haired or domestic long-haired cats, or as random-bred, moggies, or mongrels or mutt-cats; the semi-feral cat, a outdoor cat, is not owned by any one individual, but is friendly to people and may be fed by several households. Feral cats are associated with human habitation areas, foraging for food and sometimes intermittently fed by people, but are wary of human interaction. Domesti