Cats (Family Felidae)
Felidae is the biological family of the cats; a member of this family is
called a felid or feline. Felids are the strictest carnivores of the sixteen
mammal families in Order Carnivora. The most familiar felid is the
domestic cat, which first became associated with humans about 10,000
years ago, but the family includes all other wild cats including the big cats.
Extant felids belong to one of two subfamilies: Pantherinae (which
includes the tiger, the lion, the jaguar, and the leopard), and Felinae
(which includes the cougar, the cheetah, the serval, the lynxes and
caracal, along with the ocelot and domestic cat).
Felids are purely carnivorous animals, subsisting almost entirely on
other vertebrates. Aside from the lion, wild felids are solitary; feral
domestic cats do, however, form feral cat colonies. They are generally
secretive animals, are often nocturnal, and live in relatively inaccessible
habitats. Around three-quarters of cat species live in forested terrain,
and they are generally agile climbers. However, felids may be found in
almost any environment, with some species being native to mountainous
terrain or deserts.
Wild felids are native to every continent except Australia and Antarctica.
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