The cat (Felis catus) is domestic species of a small carnivorous, mammal called the Felis catus. It is by far the only domesticated feline in the genus Felis and is recognized as the domestic cat (felis) or the common cat (domestica) to differentiate it from its wild cousin of the wolf (Lyngrophus) also known as Manfred. Domestic cats were first bred at the beginning of the twentieth century. Many cats are kept as pets, but they are usually kept as companion animals or merely for show. Cats are usually indoor pets and most prefer to be indoors most of the time.
Cats have a long, exceptional history. They can be traced as far back as nineteen hundreds, and there is evidence that cats bred as early as the second millennium BC. Evidence for cats preying upon birds is particularly uncertain, but it is most likely that such an animal was once the prey of hawks and other large flying birds. Cats probably were the first animal to utilize fire as a tool. Evidence of domestic cat care is seen in cat enclosures with tubs of water, which probably were formed to keep cats in the water in winter.
Cats have evolved into very different creatures in many parts of the world. In Africa, their body forms the bulk of the scrub jutting out in various directions. In India, cats are large, muscular felines with short bodies and sleek, poupy coats. In Australia, cats are medium sized and stocky bodied; in Spain, cats are slender, muscular felines with flat bodies. In China, the cat is recognized as a separate breed and is one of the numerous breeds recognized by the Chinese Academy of Sciences along with the Siamese and Persian breeds.
In North America, although all cats are domestic in appearance, they differ in behavior and origin due to differences in climate and diet. In colder climates, a cat will maintain its body temperature more than a warm-blooded mammal. If a cat has developed a warm-blooded trait, it will retain this temperature longer than other felines; conversely, cats bred for cold climates will retain body temperatures much more rapidly. This is why the more widely distributed felines such as Maine Coon and Tabby have relatively warm blooded traits.
It was nearly two centuries ago when the first cat was bred to be able to trap small animals. By fifteen years of age, the cat was hunting rodents and birds for food rather than humans. This is how the domestication of the cat began. In Australia, where cats have had almost entire control of the economy for the last fifty years or so, researchers estimate that over four hundred million cats are alive in the wild. Virtually all of these cats are at least moderately sized and are predominantly nocturnal hunters.
Cats are not only capable of preying on other cats, they can also take down larger prey including birds and even bears if need be. When it comes to hunting, the cat has passed the limits of mere predator-prey relationships. Nowadays, domestic cats hunt small mammals and birds for food, but they also hunt and kill larger animals like horses, cattle and other livestock animals. It is very rare that a domestic cat kills a large animal. Although many cat owners would like their pets to be involved in hunting, the cats usually prefer to out-do the hunters.