Cats come in many different shapes and sizes, ranging from the cute orange cat next door to the ferocious lions of the African Savannah! Keep reading for some interesting facts about the world’s most notorious felines.
Did you know that cats were domesticated over 4,000 years ago? They are some of the most popular pets in the world, but unlike dogs, we didn’t seek their companionship until relatively recently. In fact, previously cats were popular for their rat-catching abilities, not their cuddles! They have sharp hunting instincts.
Lions have been thought of as the ‘King of Beasts’ for centuries due to their formidable size, hunting prowess, and roar (which travels up to 8 km!) But, did you know that male lions sleep for 20 hours a day and that it is actually the female lionesses that do all the hunting? It seems that we should refer to them as the ‘Queen of beasts’ instead!
Tigers are a highly endangered species. They have lost 93% of their habitat over the past 100 years and now only live in certain parts of the world, such as temperate Siberian and tropical Indian forests. They are the largest species of cat and can weigh up to 300 kg! Despite their size; they can jump up to 5 m and can even reach speeds of up to 40 mph!
Famed for their spotted coat, leopards are among the most beautiful of the cat species. Their spots, called rosettes, vary depending on where they live and what the temperature is! Leopards from dry areas have paler fur compared to those that live in lush forests, and in the cold, a leopard’s fur is grey-tinged. Despite the shared characteristics of a leopard’s coat, each individual has a completely unique pattern!
Cheetahs are the fastest land animals on the planet, running at speeds of up to 70 mph! Like famous sprinter Usain Bolt, they only run that fast over distances of 100 m. This video shows how their bodies make them such remarkable sprinters, with flexible spines and shoulder blades that allow for large strides, and long tails for balance. Another feature that sets them apart from other big cats is their paws – while other cats have fully retractable claws, cheetahs use their claws to grip the earth as they run.
Blog post by OneKind writer, Ami McNamara