Is My Cat More Of A Lion Or A Tiger?
You’ve noticed by now that your cat sometimes acts just like her big cat cousins in the wild. We all know that cats - big and small, came from the same ancestor, but does your ferocious feline resemble more a tiger or a lion? The answer to this question is a little bit of both! The evolution path of domestic cats and big cats split some 11 million years ago. However, domestic cats share 95.6% of the DNA of tigers and exhibit a lot of common big cat behaviors. Our fur babies are actually more closely related to pumas, with whom they shared a common ancestor some 3 million years ago. Here are a few signature behaviors that your kitty cat shares with her big cat cousins:
1. They Like Catnip
You may have noticed that your kitty cat goes crazy for catnip! Licks, bats, rolls and jumps abound whenever you offer her a catnip toy. About 40% of domestic cats are not affected by catnip, but some of their big cat cousins love that stuff! Jaguars and lions have a strong reaction to the plant and get just as excited as your domestic cat!
2. They Like Naps
Cats, big and small, spend the majority of their time napping! Some 12-16 hours a day, in fact! And just like your kitty needs her beauty rest, so do the big cats in the wild! Lions and tigers can snooze up to 20 hours a day, saving their energy for high-intensity hunts.
3. They Have a "Stink Face"
Have you noticed that sometimes your cat opens her mouth while sniffing things? This expression is known as the Flehmen response (or "stink face") and it also appears in big cats. The reason behind this funny face is the Jacobson's organ, located in the base of a feline's naval cavity. This organ allows cats to sniff-taste things and get an even better idea of what they are dealing with!
4. They Use Head Bumps to Mark Their Territory
Cats, big and small, rub against things to mark their territory. Whether a lion is rubbing against a tree or your cat is rubbing against your foot, they both release pheromones to claim their realm!
5. They Purr
Although lions and tigers roar instead of purr, cheetahs, bobcats and cougars can purr just like your house cat! Purring ability, rather than size, is actually one of the two main distinctions between the two cat families - Panthera (lion, tiger, jaguar, leopard) and Felis (wildcat, domestic cat, mountain cat).
6. They Are Obligate Carnivores
All felines are obligate carnivores - meaning strict meat eaters. This is a result of their evolutionary path - because of years and years of meat-only diet, cats don't have the ability to produce themselves certain amino acids and vitamins, so they need their prey to provide these necessary nutrients. Despite filling up on Friskies instead of a fatty antelope, your kitty cat shares the big cats' need for a meat diet.
7. They Love Boxes
The love of cardboard boxes crosses species boundaries when it comes to felines! Just watch this funny video below from Big Cat Rescue and you'll see that there's something about boxes that makes them irresistible to all cats!