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Cougar closeup.jpg
The family Felidae (the felids) includes the lion, the tiger, the domestic cat, and other felines as its members. All of the fifteen families in the order Carnivora are recognized as obligate carnivores lacking the necessary enzymes required for the digestion and metabolism of plant matter. The first felids emerged during the Eocene, about 40 million years ago. The most familiar feline is the domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus), which first became associated with humans about 10,000 years ago. Its wild relative, the wildcat, still lives in Europe, Africa and western Asia, although habitat destruction has restricted their range.

The domestic cat (or simply "cat", although the term can refer to all felids) is a small carnivorous mammal descended from the African wildcat. The cat is a skilled predator and intelligent animal, known to hunt over 1,000 species for food, and intelligent enough that it can be trained (and can learn by itself) to obey simple commands and manipulate simple mechanisms. It has lived in close association with humans for at least 9,500 years, figuring prominently in the mythology and legends of many cultures.

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A feral cat in Serifos, Greece.
Feral cats are the descendants of domesticated cats that were abandoned by their owners or that strayed into wild areas from their homes. When the domesticated cats mated, their offspring were never handled by or associated with humans, thus making their kittens feral.

Adult feral cats, that were never socialized with humans, can rarely be socialized. Feral kittens can sometimes be socialized to live with humans. The ideal time for capture is between six and eight weeks old. Taming at this age may only take a couple of days.

Feral cats may live alone but are usually found in large groups called feral colonies with communal nurseries, depending on resource availability. The average life span of a feral cat that survives beyond kittenhood is usually cited as being less than two years, while a domestic housecat lives an average of 12 to 16 years.

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Black panther
Credit: Mizunoryu

The black panther is the common name for a black (melanistic) color variant of any of several species of cat.

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Maine Coon
The Maine Coon is a breed of domestic cat well known for its distinctive physical appearance. It is one of the oldest natural breeds in North America, specifically native to the state of Maine, where it is the official State Cat.

Although the Maine Coon's exact origins and date of introduction to the United States are unknown, many theories have been proposed. The breed was popular in cat shows in the late 1800s, but its existence became threatened when long-haired breeds from overseas were introduced in the early 20th century. The Maine Coon has since made a comeback and is now the second most popular cat breed.

The Maine Coon is generally noted for its large bone structure, its rectangular body shape, and a long, flowing coat. The breed can be seen in a variety of colors and are known for their intelligence and gentle personalities.

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Opposable 'thumb' on male polydactyl cat.

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