Similarities Between Domestic And Wild Cats7 min read
THE MANY SIMILARITIES BETWEEN DOMESTIC AND WILD CATS
Humans have had a relationship with domestic animals for at least 50,000 years. That relationship started with dogs but cat domestication came much later- about 10,000 years ago. For that reason cats really are not as domesticated as dogs. They share many traits with their wild cousins in Africa and elsewhere around the globe. A casual observer might wonder what a little 6 pound cat, living in the lap of luxury, can be compared to a 300 pound wild cat! To understand how domestic cats tick, you have to understand how they think. Cat body language is the ticket. By looking at how cats live their daily lives you will begin to see the similarities between domestic and wild cats.
I should mention a word of caution here. I will be writing about WILD cats not WILD cats that are owned by humans in municipalities that allow them. This is dangerous business. A wild cat that has been purchased as a young kitten can never be completely domesticated. The aggressive genes that have been mutated out of domestic cats have not been mutated in wild cats. They may appear docile and sweet but they are still hard wired as wild cats. An aggressive, domestic cat may bite you but a wild cat can kill you. Wildlife is just that- WILD not domesticated. The true beauty is in observing wild cats at a distance in their natural habitats.
SIMILAR TRAITS IN A MUCH BIGGER PACKAGE
Domestic and wild cats spend a tremendous amount of time grooming themselves. Cats are neat and fastidious by nature. They do not like being soiled. There are many similarities between domestic and wild cats. Large tigers and other cats will groom themselves to stay cool in a hot environment. That moisture evaporates and cools the animal. Grooming themselves also takes away a huge part of their scent. If the wind is blowing in the wrong direction that scent can alert gazelles and other prey to their presence. Domestic cats don’t have to worry about hunting gazelles.
Talk about hunting! Both domestic and wild cats are true hunters. Their prey may be of different sizes but the game is the same. The stalking behavior of a leopard is just about the same as a domestic cat. Take a look at the videos below and you will understand the true similarities between domestic and wild cat.
Domestic and wild cats have scent glands at the base of each whisker. That scent is used by a leopard to mark its territory. A domestic cat uses that scent to mark a chair or even YOU as belonging to THEM. Are you tired of your domestic cat scratching new furniture or other items? What most people do is get a scratching post for the animal or trim the sharp hooks off of each cat claw. Wild cats use trees as scratching posts! I saw this on several episodes of Dual Survival®. There would be long vertical gash marks on a tree. The higher the scratching marks the bigger the cat. Domestic and wild cats stand on their hind legs to scratch. A large wild cat sends an obvious message to a smaller competitor. “My claw marks are higher than yours”! This means stay away from this area!
THEY EVEN DRINK WATER THE SAME!
The similarities between domestic and wild cats don’t just stop there. They both drink water the same way. If you look at the jaguar in the slideshow above you will notice that the tongue is curled inward to hold as much of a lap of water as possible. Your little cat at home does the same thing.
Both domestic and wild cats are carnivores to the hilt! Man has fooled domestic cats into accepting a cereal based diet. Cats are not omnivores! Given a choice most cats would prefer to hide a rib-eye steak under a bed than a few grains of cereal. They may eat cereal grains but like their larger ancestors they have sharp teeth. The slideshow images showing the opened mouth of a tiger and domestic cat make their point. Pun intended. They are identical- 6 upper and lower incisors plus 2 upper and lower canines. The only difference is the physical scale of the teeth. Either way, a mouth like that is used to tear flesh. That is the way of the world with cats. That is one of the reasons why all domestic cat bites lead to an infection.
There are similarities between domestic and wild cats when looking at sleeping patterns. Both types of cats are nocturnal. Domestic cats sleep during the daytime while being more active at night. This is often for the same reasons. Most of the big cats live in sub-Saharan Africa- a hot environment. The big cats will hang out in the shade during the heat of the day and hunt at night. Wild and domestic cats both use their exceptional night vision to stalk their prey. This is one big reason why veterinarians rarely treat cats for heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Cats are curled up sleeping during the hottest parts of the day.
Have you ever happened to be looking at your cat and just noticed it standing their with its mouth partly opened in a grimacing appearance? It makes the cat look goofy but there are reasons for this. Both domestic and wild cats share this behavior. On the upper surfaces of the cats mouth is the vomeronasal or Jacobsen’s organ. By opening its mouth more of a scent is allowed into the mouth and analyzed by the Jacobsen’s organ. Large cats in Africa use this olfactory organ to find mates by analyzing pheromones secreted in the females urine. It also will alert a male to other males in the area by the same modus operandi.
Life is not all work for felines. Young kittens and their bigger cousins play with litter mates not only to get socialized but for learning hunting behavior. They play hide and seek and other games that teach the siblings the basics of hunting prey. Mom then takes over as they get closer to learning how to hunt on their own for the first time. While playing domestic cats will emit chirping sounds or a large purr sound when they are content. Big cats will do the same thing.
There are so many similarities between domestic and wild cats. There is one trait though that is dissimilar….I have yet to hear a domestic cat ROAR!