All About Cats

Contributor: Stefani Allegretti. Lesson ID: 13384

Curious about cats? Learn about their unique characteristics, history, and more! Then, choose how to showcase your love of cats to the world!

categories

Life Science, World

subject
Science
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Beaver
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio:

Cats, cats, cats! Cats have been a part of human life for thousands of years. Most of that time, they have been welcomed, human companions.

Charles Dickens quote

Let's learn more about these adorable and majestic little felines!

There are millions of domestic cats in the world today.

  • How did these little cats we have come to know and love become domesticated (meaning tame and kept as pets) in the first place?

Watch Where Do Domestic Cats Come From? by SciShow to find out:

The video discussed several theories on how cats came to be domesticated and ideas on where they were first kept as pets to keep away rodents.

While most people associate cats with Ancient Egypt, it seems likely that cats were domesticated before then in both the Middle East and China.

Other experts believe that cats domesticated themselves. This could be possible. After all, cats are super-smart animals!

Cats have many unique characteristics and features. Let's break them down!

First, cats are four-legged mammals. That means they are warm-blooded and have vertebrates or backbones.

Cats are classified in the kingdom Animalia. They are part of the Carnivora order which means they are meat-eaters. They are also a part of the family Felidae, which is why we call them felines.

Cats are excellent hunters and like hunting just about anything that moves, especially mice and rats. Their superior hunting skills can help to keep mice and rat populations under control, especially on farms and in cities.

Watch Cute baby kittens develop their hunting instinct- BBC wildlife, from BBC Studios, to learn more about the hunting instincts of domestic cats:

One characteristic that makes cats excellent hunters is their ability to hunt with little or no light. This is possible because cats have very special eyes.

Cats' eyes have something called tapetum lucidum (Merriam-Webster), which helps them to see in the dark. This reflective layer of tissue is why it looks like cats' eyes glow in the dark.

cat with glowing eyes

Cats are also very agile and flexible. They can jump from high places and almost always land on their feet. They also have excellent balance, which is partly because of their tails.

agile cat jumping

For more fun cat trivia, check out Fun Cat Facts for Kids from Science Kids.

  • Have you ever wondered what domestic cats have or don't have in common with another big member of the cat family, the tiger?

First, according to an article by Tia Ghose for The Christian Science Monitor, House cats and tigers share 95.6 percent of DNA, study reveals. Wow!

Domestic cats and tigers are both a part of the Felidae family. They also share similar physical features such as paws, four legs, fur, two eyes, a tail, ears, and more.

Compare the parts of a domestic cat and a tiger below. They are pretty much the same, aren't they?

However, there is something that tigers and domestic cats definitely don't have in common: their size!

Domestic cats are much, much smaller than tigers. For example, tigers can grow to be 4 feet tall while domestic cats are usually less than 1 foot or 12 inches tall.

Additionally, domestic cats weigh much less than tigers. Domestic cats, on average, weigh around 9 pounds while tigers, on average, weigh more than 400 pounds!

Domestic cats are also generally friendly and tame, while tigers are wild and dangerous.

Wow! Hopefully, you learned a lot about cats.

Now, let's move on to the Got It? section to test your domestic cat knowledge!

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