In general, cats have not undergone major changes during domestication and their form and behaviour remain very similar to that of their wildcat ancestors. They remain perfectly capable of surviving in the wild, and indeed many revert to a feral or wild existence. The latter is probably more likely, at least in the early stages of taming, as other animals such as ferrets and dogs would actually have been much more effective and efficient if human control of vermin had been the purpose. In either scenario, several traits of cats, including their small size, social nature, body language, love of play, high intelligence and perhaps an inborn tendency among all small felids towards tameness, may have facilitated their domestication.
The same cannot be said to be true of cats! Strictly speaking, most cats are not truly domesticated — this is defined as breeding, care and reproduction being totally controlled by humans producing a reproductively isolated population. This can only really be applied to pedigree pet cats, which from a very small proportion of the total pet cat population.
Undoubtedly, one of the major attractions of cat ownership today is that while being tame, cats remain little altered from their wild relatives exhibiting many characteristics and traits that are mimicked in wild cats. Todays domestic cats retain a number of characteristics from their desert-dwelling ancestors, including the ability to survive with a very low water intake through the production of very concentrated urine more so than dogs and the production of relatively dry faeces thus minimising water loss.
They also tolerate extremes of heat, not showing signs of discomfort until skin temperature exceeds 52 degrees C, whereas humans start to feel uncomfortable when skin temperature exceeds There is also a lack of change of body temperature in the domestic cat during a 24 hour period as they tend to be active both during the day and at night. Get Social! Like, Follow and Pin us to stay up to date with our work. The information provided here has been put together by experts in feline health, behaviour and welfare.
However, it is not intended to be used as a substitute for going to the vet.
Skip to main content. Common features All cats have evolved as predatory hunting mammals with particularly keen senses of hearing, sight and smell. Evolution and adaptation of Felis catus Co-existence of cats and humans is evident from fossil records from early human settlements, although these have been assumed to be wild cats.
Living near people The first evidence of human stores of grain come from Israel about 10, years ago, and it is known that the development of grain stores caused an accumulation and rise in the population of the house mouse. Modern cats Genetic analysis has demonstrated that the DNA of modern day domestic cats throughout the world is almost identical to that of Felis sylvestris lybica, clearly showing that it is this species that gave rise to our domestic cats.
Domestication of the cat Felis catus as a species has thus arisen through wildcats living closely with humans. Adding a new cat Where to get your cat Choosing a kitten Choosing an adult cat Preparing for your new cat Helping your cat settle in What about a pedigree?
How to guides Keeping your cat happy The cat friendly home Playing with your cat Indoors or outdoors? J Hered ; 96 5 A biogeographical population genetics perspective of the colonization of cats in Latin America and temporal genetic changes in Brazilian cat populations. Gen Mol Biol ; 31 3 Mom Cien ; 9 1 Orjuela J et al. Genetic analysis of the cat population of north and south of Cali, Colombia.
Acta Biolo Colomb ; 20 1 New data on coat color gene frequencies in catas: 1 the Armavir population. Russ J Genet ; 43 8 : Genetic structure and level of differentiation in Felis catus populations of the European continent. Dokl Biol Sci ; The level of genetic differentiation in cats Felis catus L. Russ J Genet ; 2 1 Kholin SK. New data on coat color mutant gene frequencies in domestic cats of the European part of Russia the city of Kamyshin. Russ J Genet ; 48 7 New data on coat color mutant gene frequencies in domestic cats of Kholmsk Sakhalin Island.
Amurian Zoological Journal ; V 4 Population genetic analysis of cat populations from Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia, and the Dominican Republic: identification of different gene pools in Latin America. J Genet ; 84 2 Committee on Standardized Genetic Nomenclature for Cats. Standardized genetic nomenclature for the domestic cat. J Hered ; Genetics ; Ruiz-Garcia M. Genetic structure of the Marseilles cat population: is there really a strong founder effect?.
Genet Sel Evol ; Chocolate coated cats: TYRP1 mutations for brown color in domestic cats. Mamm Genome ; 16 5 Anim Genet ; 37 2 A homozygous single-base deletion in MLPH causes the dilute coat color phenotype in the domestic cat. Genomics ; 88 6 Four independent mutations in the feline fibroblast growth factor 5 gene determine the long-haired phenotype in domestic cats.
J Hered ; 98 6 J hered ; Suppl 1 :S An autosomal genetic linkage map of the domestic cat, Felis silvestris catus. Genomics ; 93 4 A domestic cat X chromosome linkage map and the sex-linked orange locus: mapping of orange, multiple origins and epistasis over nonagouti. Genetics ; 4 Molecular genetics and evolution of melanism in the cat family. Curr biol ; 13 5 Mol Biol Evol ; Peakall R, Smouse PE. GenALEx 6. Population genetic software for teaching and research-an update.
Bioinformatics ; Christensen A. Cats as an Aid to Teaching Genetics. Genetics ; 3 Henao JM, Arrubla G. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.
Services on Demand Article. English pdf Article in xml format Article references How to cite this article Automatic translation Send this article by e-mail.
Materials and methods. Conclusions: These findings can be explained on the basis of the processes of human displacement for this region, due to the fact that the establishment of feline populations in these municipalities originated during the same historical period. Received: April ; Accepted: February To investigate how degree of urbanisation affects cat ranging behaviour, we used Global Positioning System trackers to follow 38 cats in 3 urban, suburban and peri-urban residential areas in the large town of Reading, UK.
A decreased proportion of constructed surfaces a proxy for urbanisation was associated with an increase in cat range size. As urban areas grow, many areas containing species of conservation importance are encroached upon by residential zones on urban fringes. These management options may help mitigate the ecological consequences of cat predation. As opportunistic, generalist predators Barratt a ; Thomas et al.
It is thought that cats introduced to islands have caused the extinction of 63 animal species including 40 birds Doherty et al. In many urbanised countries, domestic cats are commonly kept as companion animals, where they are fed and cared for. For example, the UK is home to more than 10 million pet cats Murray et al.
In the USA and Canada, it is estimated that there are 84 million and 8. Predation studies suggest that more than million prey individuals 55 million birds, million mammals are killed annually by domestic cats in the UK Thomas et al. In addition, cats need not actively hunt to have a negative effect on wild birds, as their presence alone may further depress wild bird populations Beckerman et al. Despite such losses, whether such direct and indirect effects have population-level consequences for their prey is a topic of considerable debate Baker et al.
As the world becomes increasingly urbanised UN , biodiverse areas are increasingly encroached upon by development McKinney , Typically, suburban areas grow in the peripheral zones of urban areas, potentially resulting in increased numbers of domestic cats accessing areas of conservation concern Morgan et al. Town planners and conservation biologists have suggested that one possible mechanism to reduce potential cat predation is to introduce buffer zones around areas of greater conservation value, where either housing development would be prevented or through prohibiting the ownership of domestic cats for people choosing to live within a set distance of the protected area Lilith et al.
Such buffer zones around protected areas have been proposed to keep cats away Metsers et al. Such cat exclusion zones could be incorporated into the planning of developments near protected areas but must also be scaled appropriately to the landscape for effective management Hall et al. Night-time curfews are also a potentially useful cat management technique as cats have sometimes been found to range further at night than during the day Metsers et al. Some prey types, such as small mammals, are more active then Woods et al.
Monitoring the ranging behaviour of domestic cats using conventional telemetry radio tracking approaches has proved challenging to conduct in some habitats such as urban areas Schmutz and White and combined Global Positioning System GPS and radio setups can be relatively heavy and expensive Coughlin and van Heezik While such cheaper GPS trackers may sacrifice some accuracy and precision compared with specialised GPS trackers from wildlife telemetry suppliers, they make large-scale simultaneous tracking studies feasible Adams et al.
The landscapes and countries in which tracking studies have taken place have varied, resulting in a wide range of domestic cat home ranges being calculated Hall et al. Morgan et al. Generally, rural cats Wierzbowska et al.
In the UK, the only previous published study considered only suburban domestic cats Thomas et al. In particular, while domestic cats living on the edge of farmland, parkland or nature reserves in the urban environment may have the opportunity to extend their ranges into these areas to hunt, it is unclear if such areas are preferred by domestic cats van Heezik et al. If we are to develop appropriate management and planning recommendations then understanding how urbanisation level affects cat roaming behaviour is critical. Here, we address this using GPS tracking of free-ranging domestic cats in a large UK town, asking if the range size of cats was affected by level of urbanisation, habitat availability, cat sex and wearing a collar.
In addition, we also explored if there were any differences between day and night ranging, and if the ranging behaviour of cats living in the same household differed since many domestic cats live in multi-cat households, and this may have implications for approaches to management. The study took place in and around Greater Reading Fig. The three study sites within the general Greater Reading area, UK; the non-built up area consists primarily of mixed agricultural land and small scattered woodlands. Recruitment was carried out primarily through leaflets posted through letter boxes, and door-knocking was carried out when necessary.
Volunteers were asked to encourage friends and neighbours to take part. The study was approved by the School of Biological Sciences ethical review panel. However, cats are independent animals and those residing in homes with two or more other cats live in a socially complex society where access to resources and behaviour vary Crowell-Davis et al. All cats were at least 1-year-old fully grown and in good health.
The following information was recorded for each cat: age to the nearest year with estimates for several former rescue cats , neutered status, sex, weight on last veterinary visit if not more recently and whether they had previously worn a collar on a regular basis prior to the study. Owners were asked to monitor the health of their cats throughout the study and record any prey items brought home during the tracking period.
All cats generally had unrestricted access to the outdoors and were fed daily by their owners.
Volunteers were provided with standard quick release collars weighing 7. For standardisation provided collars were not fitted with bells. GPS fixes from the first hour of tracking were removed to allow time for the cats to get used to the trackers. The collars with the GPS units were not counter-weighted for simplicity and to increase recruitment and reduce rejection by cats. This is likely to have increased the number of erroneous and missing GPS fixes Coughlin and van Heezik The number of filtered apparently erroneous fixes was used as a measure of logging errors in the analysis.
Trackers lost in the first half of the study period were replaced on the first loss instance within eight hours of it being reported by the owners. Several lost trackers were found and returned by members of the public allowing the data to be retrieved. The GPS tracks from these returned trackers were either added to the tracks taken by replacements if lost in the first half of the study period or treated as a full track if retrieved with more than fixes spanning more than three full days of tracking after filtering.
Accuracy and precision of GPS fixes can be influenced by the habitat the cat is in. Signal strength is reduced under dense foliage D'Eon and within buildings so cat use of these areas is likely to be under-estimated Coughlin and van Heezik The proximity to buildings can also influence GPS satellite signal acquisition and location precision is affected by the position and number of satellites available van Heezik et al. Past studies using these same devices utilised in this study have found positional errors in the order of Such errors are likely to be increased in more highly urbanised areas or within thick vegetation due to interference with the GPS signal and therefore should be treated as a minimum possible error Coughlin and van Heezik In addition, each fix was classified as being during the day or night, calculated using local daily sunrise and sunset times.
Each projected kernel polygon was cut from the Mastermap layer, and the resulting areas for each habitat category extracted for each range. Of these, constructed surfaces was included in further analyses as a measure of the level of urbanisation as it was present in all cat ranges, unlike natural surfaces which were not present in some urban areas.
As the data were not normally distributed, Kruskal—Wallis tests were used to compare across all three sites together, while unpaired Wilcoxon tests were used to compare between individual sites for logging errors in the form of number of apparently erroneous fixes filtered from the data as detailed above , ranges home and core and maximum distance from home.
To allow for potential Type II error from multiple comparisons P was adjusted for the false discovery rate where appropriate Benjamini and Hochberg Day and night effects on home and core range area were analysed using separate paired sample Wilcoxon tests to first test for differences in the recorded ranges directly and then compare the proportional difference in range size when accounting for day length.
Some research on the origins of Felis Catus in the New World - Kindle edition by Tony Batchelor, Carlee Marrer-Tising, Noa Bornstein. Download it once and. The domestic cat (Felis catus) is one of the most recently evolved species within cats throughout the world is almost identical to that of Felis sylvestris lybica, clearly used, recent studies suggest that the domestic cat should really be regarded as a Choosing a kitten · Choosing an adult cat · Preparing for your new cat.
Sex effects were analysed using unpaired Wilcoxon tests. The size and proportion of overlap in ranges for cats within the same household were compared using paired sample T -test or Wilcoxon tests as appropriate to their distribution. To normalise data for linear mixed-effects model analysis, kernel home and core range estimates along with maximum distance from home were log transformed prior to analysis, with individual cat identity as a random factor to account for individual variation.
Factors considered in the range size models were: proportion of constructed surfaces as a measure of the level of urbanisation within the appropriate kernel estimate, cat age rounded to the nearest year , cat sex and whether the cat usually wore a collar prior to the study. Cat age, sex and whether they usually wore a collar has been found to be associated with cat ranging behaviour in past studies and hence were included here Coughlin and van Heezik ; Hall et al. The same factors were used in models investigating effectors of the maximum distance reached from home.
For these average models, the relative importance of each term including interactions was automatically calculated as a sum of the Akaike weights over all of the models in which the term appears Barton Study site was not included in any of these models due to its high correlation with the proportion of constructed surfaces used as a measure of urbanisation. Of the 49 cats originally recruited for the study, 2 were withdrawn due to unrelated health concerns and 4 were too uncooperative to fit with collars.