Big Cats vs. House Cats: How Closely Related Are They?
With a meek roar, your family house cat jumps onto the couch and curls up next to you, eager for a soft pet and a bit of attention. While these house cats are a part of our everyday lives, they have a distant relative in big cats that are dominant predators. These big cats dominate their kingdoms, stalking prey and perfecting the art of the hunt. Reigning from South America to Russia and even the United States, these noble beasts that once ruled their respective territory are now becoming endangered or extinct, a fate your little house cat does not have to face.
What Big Cats are Related to your Cat?
There are several big cats related to your house cat, the most famous of which is likely the Cheetah. Cheetahs are known for their incredible speed, as the world’s fastest land animal they can go from 0 to 62 miles per hour in the short span of three seconds! They are endangered because while their speed benefits the hunt of antelopes, boars and large birds, it can’t defend them when they are faced with larger or more well-equipped predators such as lions or humans.
Jaguars live in South America and find their homes in the jungle. They are excellent swimmers and love to hunt wild fish. The name Jaguar comes from a Native American word, which can be translated to "one who kills in one leap.” This cat, similar to many house cats, is nocturnal and hunts at night.
While they live in Africa, the leopard is often considered the Jaguar’s cousin, as they have many similarities. They are known to move quickly, run up trees, and the males are sometimes 50 percent larger than the female jaguars.
In addition to these interesting and very intriguing big cats, there are the more commonly known and found big cats: the Lion
and the Tiger
. They are seen in zoos and more often endangered and threatened than other big cats.
What Big Cat Characteristics Match Your Furry Friend?
Do you see any similarities in the traits listed above? Is your pet fast and agile – able to climb trees and stays up all night hunting the prey that lurks? Your quiet companion may be more like a big cat than you once thought.