Wednesday 19 October 2011

Are domestic cats related to lions?

The domestic cat is a domesticated African and/or Eurasian wildcat. Domestication first took place from 5,000 to 9,500 years ago. There are differing views on that. The latter figure is probably correct. The wild cats are not directly related to the lion.

The scientific classification of the domestic cat is Felis silvestris catus. The classification of the lion is Panthera leo. Family: Felidae, Genus: Panthera, Species: P. leo. The classification of the domestic cat is: Family: Felidae, Genus: Felis, Species: F. catus. You can see the difference. The two are both of the same Order: Carnivora.

The domestic cat is not therefore directly related to lions. But if we go back in time sufficiently all cats are connected and therefore related.

All carnivores evolved from an extinct order of mammals called creodonts. It is believed that creodonts evolved into the order of carnivora.

Therefore the domestic cat is a distant relation of the lion. All cats behave in a similar manner including the lion and domestic cat. And all cats are carnivores - obligate carnivores.

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