If you own a cat, you already know your furry feline friend has plenty of quirks. But did you know that most domestic cats have lots of similarities to wild cats?
Although much smaller in stature than most “big cats,” domestic cats have a lot in common with their bigger, stronger, and wilder cousins.
Read on for five fascinating facts about the many similarities between these different types of felines.
When kitty rubs against you or the furniture, you may think he’s showing you affection. Cats have pheromones that they excrete through sebaceous glands in their faces.
When your kitty rubs his face on objects and people, he’s marking his territory and claiming ownership. The same goes for wild cats. These large cats do the same thing to let other animals know it’s their kingdom.
Scent marking is a common trait among all cat species to mark their territory. It’s their special way of saying, “back off, this one is mine.”
When cats rub their head against you, it’s a process called bunting. Head rubs are a sign of trust and you commonly see this behavior among lions who rub heads with members of their pride.
You might think your cat sleeps a lot longer than most normal cats, but it’s quite common for cats to snooze anywhere from 12 to 16 hours every day. Don’t blame fluffy for being lazy, though.
Even in the wild, big cats sleep for long periods of time in order to conserve energy. This gives them the strength and stamina they need to hunt for prey.
Wild cats actually sleep longer than domestic cats on average at a whopping 20 hours per day in some cases. So, when your little ball of fur is snoozing, he’s likely saving energy for playtime later.
Aside from sleeping, cats love to perch so they can see what’s going on around them. It’s also why you’ll see a lot of wild cats hang out and sleep in trees. You can give your cat his very own perch, like the ones reviewed on this site, so they can observe the world from up high.
3. Wild Cats and Scratching
Most cat owners know that their feline friends love to scratch everything from the leather couch to the carpet. So, do big cats do the same thing? All felines have retractable claws except for the cheetah, who has semi-retractable claws.
These massive, long, and sharp claws are needed for hunting. They’re also important to allow wild cats to climb trees and maintain their balance.
When you see your cat scratching, he’s just doing what he is instinctually inclined to do. The same applies to larger cats who love to scratch trees to keep their claws conditioned.
For some species, scratching trees and other objects is another way they mark their territory as well. It lets other animals know they’ve been there and that they have claimed the boundaries as their own.
If your cat is scratching a bit too much, you can clip his claws. De-clawing is never recommended since it’s the equivalent of performing an amputation that cuts the cat’s last bone in their toe.
4. Catnip Crazy
It can be quite entertaining to watch your cat go nuts over a pinch of catnip. This plant creates a hormonal response in cats that causes them to roll around, lick, and generally act a bit “high.”
There is an active compound in catnip that triggers a response in about 30 to 40 percent of all domestic cats. So, what about wild cats? Do they love the nip, too?
Studies have shown that lions and jaguars love catnip. Some big cat rescue facilities have also documented their cats falling in love with this feline-friendly plant.
Scientists think that the response to catnip is genetic, which is why it may vary from cat to cat. Catnip is considered a stimulant that causes cats to roll on their backs, run around, meow, and exhibit a happy, blissful demeanor.
5. Stalking and Pouncing
Your cat loves to stalk and he’s probably even stalked you at one time or another. This slinky, sneaky behavior is completely normal and definitely part of a wild cat’s routine.
The process if stalking allows cats to sneak up on their prey unexpectedly. And of course, once the prey is in their sights, they complete the process with a pounce.
For cat owners, this behavior is just part of normal play and interaction. For big cats, it’s essential to their survival.
When a cat stalks, they can get incredibly close to their prey without it even noticing. For a domestic cat, they may stalk you, another cat, or even a toy. For wild cats, they’re likely stalking their next meal.
The behavior of stalking and pouncing is almost identical between most domestic and wild cats. It’s a genetic and instinctual behavior that has been passed down through generations in order for cats to survive.
Fascinating Feline Similarities
Whether it’s rolling in catnip, rubbing, or scratching, there are plenty of similarities between wild cats and domestic cats. Even though our favorite pets are a lot smaller, they’re clearly closely related to their larger cousins.
Take a look at your cat’s behavior and see how many similarities you can find between their behavior and larger species. It truly is amazing just how much the two relate.
For more information about cat behavior, Fisher Cats, and more, be sure to explore our website.