Thursday 15 December 2011

Taxonomy of Domestic Cats

The domestic cat is classified as Felis silvestris catus by the authors of Wild Cats of the World, Mel and Fiona Sunquist. You might see different version of its taxonomic classification because taxonomy of the wildcats has been a bit fraught with argument and difficulty. In fact the current position is that there are five subspecies of wildcat and the domestic cat is not one of them. The five are the African wildcat, Southern African wildcat, European wildcat, Asiatic wildcat and Chinese desert cat. The domestic cat is a domesticated African wildcat (also called a Near Eastern wildcat). But it happened 9,500 years ago it is thought. The behavior and appearance of the domestic cat is now different to the wildcat although there are great similarities.

The full classification is:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Felis
Species: Felis silvestris
Subspecies: Felis silvestris catus

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