Showing posts with label caracal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label caracal. Show all posts

Thursday 9 November 2023

Pumba the pet caracal is anxious almost all the time living with humans

Pumba is anxious at best living in the human environment. Screen grab from video below.

I have written about this so-called 'pet caracal' called Pumba before (not a pet at all actually). You might like to read my latest article (see link below). I am somewhat fascinated with this cat not because I am interested in exotic cats as pets but because I'm concerned for the welfare of this cat who is overweight because he's bored and wants to escape. He lives in Latvia and was adopted as a kitten.

But, having watched some of the videos on the owner's (Deniss Jegorovs) TikTok account, every one that I've seen shows Pumba hissing indicating extreme anxiety. He hisses when his owner approaches him. He hissed when his owner approached him to video him and he hissed when his owner fed him and also videoed him as you can see in the video on this page.

This is entirely not what should be the case for a so-called domesticated wild cat. This cat is not domesticated at all. The cat is tame to a certain extent but in my opinion this cat is terrified at worst and probably permanently anxious at best.

And the reason for that is this cat is not socialised to people. He is behaving like a feral domestic cat. He is living in a hostile environment permanently. He has one friend, a domestic cat who also lives with this man.

And of course, the hiss is quite strong as this is a medium-sized wild cat. It's a very intimidating hiss. I don't know how the owner can put up with this because this is a precursor to being attacked. The ears go back and the hiss is a message to the owner to back off and go away otherwise you will be attacked. That is the message which indicates a dysfunctional relationship between caracal and human.

This is entirely unsurprising because, as mentioned, this is a somewhat tame caracal but not a domesticated cat and this cat is unsocialised despite being adopted as a kitten.

This caracal will never be a good cat companion and never be domesticated and never be fully socialised to humans. He will only be relaxed and happy when around other cats he knows but humans to him are large and potentially dangerous. Although Pumba might easily attack a domestic cat if he escaped and met a neighbour's cat.

All of this, for me, points to the fact that one should never purchase a caracal as an exotic pet unless you fully understand what you are getting into but even then, it's wrong because you are doing something which has a negative impact on caracal conservation and wild cat conservation in general.

The videos of Pumba sends the incorrect message that small and medium wild cat species can be pets when the message should be that they should be left in their natural environment, in the wild, and people should leave them alone to live their lives as they should live them. Then they can be happy but not like this.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Tuesday 27 December 2022

African Lynx

What's the African lynx? It is an early name for the well-known, small-to-medium sized wild cat species the caracal (Caracal caracal and formerly Felis caracal). It was the given name in the early days of the taxonomy of the wild cat species as it was and is the only lynx-like animal in Africa. I think this is a reference to the ear tufts.  It has also been called the desert lynx and Persian lynx.

As the caracal's distribution includes the Middle East and western Asia (or did) the term African lynx was abandoned in favour of 'caracal'.

Caracal formerly the 'African lynx'
Caracal formerly the 'African lynx'. Image: MikeB based on one in the public domain.

Saturday 13 February 2021

How can cats jump so high?

The answer to the question is all about mechanics and muscles. The domestic cat and indeed the wild cats have lots of fast-twitch fatiguing muscle cells. These cells are designed to propel the animal quickly; to allow the animal to accelerate quickly, but they're not very good at prolonged effort because they tire. The cat is a sprinter rather than a long-distance runner such as the African wild dog, mule or horse.

The puma is perhaps the best jumper of the large wild cat species
The puma is perhaps the best jumper of the large wild cat species. Image: PoC.

The second reason is all about the mechanics, the leg bones, particularly the hind leg bones of the domestic cat which are long. The muscles working to move these long levers allow the cat to jump so high. The concept of long levers applying a stronger force than short levers can be seen in bolt cutters. They have long handles. And if you want to unscrew a nut which is rusted in or very stiff, if you use a long spanner you will be more successful than if you use a short one.

And of course the hindquarters of a domestic cat and the other cats such as the mountain lion are very powerful. When these muscles contract quickly combined with long levers the cat is propelled forward either to attack an animal or leap upwards. 

There is also the matter of power-to-weight ratio. The heavier cats will be less good at jumping than the lighter species. The lion, for instance, is not a great jumper relative to the leopard which is considerably lighter.

The lion is built to grab hold of large prey and subdue them. This is why their arms (forelegs) are immensely strong much like the tiger's. This power-to-weight ratio is best seen in the caracal which is a medium-sized wild cat species. This is the cat that jumps the highest. They have an ideal power-to-weight ratio. The picture below is of a caracal catching or trying to catch a bird (or an object thrown by someone to simulate a bird) in flight:

Caracal leaping to catch a bird in flight
Caracal leaping to catch a bird in flight. Picture in public domain.

All the medium-sized cats are probably more adept at jumping vertically than the big cats. There is too much inertia to overcome in a big cat and the power-to-weight ratio is not as good as for the smaller species.

And one of the factor which may play a role as to why cats can jump so high is the floating shoulder. The forelimbs are connected to the rest of the body by muscle. The cats clavicle floats and is anchored by muscle. This allows cats to lengthen their stride and it enhances the range of motions that cats have. This indirectly helps a cat to jump well.

The cat's foot is elongated and it looks like a leg bone but it isn't. At the end are the toes and cats walk on their toes because they are digitigrades. I would argue that this also adds to the leverage that a domestic cat has which once again supports the ability to jump high and horizontally over long distances.

The video on this page is of a female F1 Savannah cat whose name is Magic. I don't know whether she is alive still but at the time she was the tallest domestic cat to the shoulder in the world. Savannah cats of this type i.e. first filials have a serval father and the serval has the longest legs to body size of all the wild cats. That's why the F1 Savannah cat is such a fantastic upwards jumper. Once again it's about leverage using long levers.

Sunday 13 September 2020

African Lynx

 "African lynx" is an earlier name for the caracal (Caracal caracal). It was given to this medium-sized cat because it is the only lynx-like animal in Africa. The name was misleading because the caracal is also found in the Middle East and western Asia. The term African lynx was abandoned in favour of caracal.

Tamed caracal being watered by Sarah and friend. Photo in public domain in my view.

I have written a lot about the caracal and therefore won't go over those topics again here. If you want to read more about this highly athletic medium-sized wild cat which has the highest jump of any cat on the planet from a standing start then please click on this link. You'll be taken to a whole range of articles on the subject.

Wednesday 28 February 2018

Caracal Kitten Makes Strange Sound

This super cute, handsome caracal kitten is making a very interesting sound in this video. The kitten is captive. You can tell that by the carrier on which he or she stands. This must be a caracal version of a meow. Apparently she was hungry and is demanding food. She is very insistent; typical of the domestic cat. It got me thinking about caracal vocalizations.

The experts say that this medium-sized wild cat species has the 'basic felid vocal repertoire' by which it is meant that the sounds made are typical of cats and include meowing, gurgling, hissing, growling, spitting and purring. These are all sounds barring gurgling that the domestic cat makes. They also make a sound called the wah-wah call. Other wild cats have this call namely, lynxes, pumas, jaguarundi, servals and the Asiatic and African golden cats (you can read about all these cats on PoC).

One expert, has reported hearing caracals making a harsh, hissing bark when a strange animal was introduced into an enclosure.

You'll also notice the beautiful ear tufts. The caracal has the longest ear tufts on any cat, domestic or wild, on the planet and it is thought that they assist in communication but the function remains unknown. They may accentuate facial expressions. They may facilitate the location of sounds. One expert, Kingdon, believes that they are a 'decorative signalling structure'. I have a post on this: click here to read it.

Sources: Wild Cats of the World by Mel and Fiona Sunquist and my thanks to the video maker.

Monday 7 November 2011

Caracal Pictures

Eight fine caracal pictures by very good amateur photographers who have kindly licensed their work for publication. The caracal is one of the larger medium sized wildcats.

This species is famous for its fabulous leap from the ground, its very long ear tufts - the longest and most pronounced of all cats, wild and domestic - and its ferocity!

It has been tamed in the past as has the cheetah; tamed for use in sport hunting. Hunting with cheetahs.

Caracal in Germany - Photo by Tambako the Jaguar

Caracal in the Serengeti - Photo by nickandmel2006

Caracal in the Serengeti - Photo by nickandmel2006

Cedar Grove Feline Conservatory, Kansas. Caracals use ears for communication - Photo by KCZooFan

Caracal at Cat Survival Trust, England - Photo by andrewhalliday

Caracals at Cat Survival Trust, England - Photo by andrewhalliday

Photo by KRO-Media

Copenhagen - Photo by thy

Where allowed under the creative commons license the image quality of some of these images has been refined and the image cropped. People are free to use these images in a commercial environment but please click on the link under the caracal picture to find out which license has been granted. You must comply with the license.

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