Anybody visiting this blog will have noticed that there are more than a few pictures of cats. They are intriguing creatures in that they all look very cute and cuddly when small, growing to be the most regal of animals in later life. All cats, regardless of size, have very similar structure and behaviour, are carnivorous, and have amazing control over movement and senses. The only determining factor in where a cat can or can't go is it's size.
Of the 'big' cats, only four can roar. The Tiger, largest of all cats, prefers forested areas and is an adept swimmer. The Jaguar lives in dense tropical rain forest, is also an adept swimmer, and can run as fast through forest as a Lion can manage on the open plain. The Leopard is an extraordinarily adept climber, and has to be to avoid being picked off by Lions. The Lion differs from the other three in that it lives and hunts in social 'prides' and it requires open spaces with some cover in which to hunt.
Cheetahs, like Lions, need wide open spaces with some cover, and are the fastest of all land animals. The Cougar lives in mountainous country, ranging from Canada way down into South America, having the largest range of any big cat. It can climb, jump, swim very well, and is known to be able to jump well enough to catch birds in flight! Medium sized cats include the Lynx and Bobcat, living in forested areas and both good snow hunters. The Ocelot, Caracal and Serval make up the medium numbers, living in forested areas mainly, and are most closely related to the original 'cat'
Now we come to the real stars, the Domestic cats. Long and short haired, some with no hair at all, they come in all shapes, sizes and coloring. They have every attribute of their larger cousins, yet remain cute throughout their lives. They are aloof, next to untrainable, and can more or less go where they please. They see humans as servants, and everything else as entertainment.
Cats can operate as well in the dark as in daylight. It is not true that cats can see in total darkness, but they have enough other acute senses to make up for lack of vision. It is even said that they can pick up vibrations with their eyes, They are all essentially wild, making the decision at an individual level as to how well they will co-exist with humans.
Cats have very little fear of anything particular, which can make for a very amusing house pet, and a very dangerous and unpredictable predator. Even so, people directly involved in the study of cats in the wild have had incredible bonding with some of the larger types. Large or small, the cat is a silent, stealthy and very graceful hunter. It embodies grace and power like no other land animal, and continues to entrance all with whom it contacts.