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Introduction

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The cat (Felis catus) is a small carnivorous mammal. It is the only domesticated species in the family Felidae and often referred to as the domestic cat to distinguish it from wild members of the family. The cat is either a house cat or farm cat which are pets, or a feral cat, freely ranging and avoiding human contact. A house cat is valued by humans for companionship and for its ability to hunt rodents. About 60 cat breeds are recognized by various cat registries.

Cats are similar in anatomy to the other felid species, with a strong flexible body, quick reflexes, sharp teeth and retractable claws adapted to killing small prey. They are predators who are most active at dawn and dusk (crepuscular). Cats can hear sounds too faint or too high in frequency for human ears, such as those made by mice and other small animals. Compared to humans, they see better in the dark (they see in near total darkness) and have a better sense of smell, but poorer color vision. Cats, despite being solitary hunters, are a social species. Cat communication includes the use of vocalizations including mewing, purring, trilling, hissing, growling and grunting as well as cat-specific body language. Cats also communicate by secreting and perceiving pheromones. Read more...


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Socks (born c. March 1991) was the pet cat of Bill Clinton and the Clinton family. After the Clintons left the White House, Socks was given to Clinton's secretary, Betty Currie. Socks was adopted by the Clintons in 1991 after he jumped into the arms of Chelsea Clinton while she was leaving the house of her piano teacher in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he was playing with his sibling, 'Midnight'. Midnight was later adopted by someone else. After Bill Clinton became President, Socks moved with the family from the governor's mansion to the White House and became the principal pet of the First Family in Clinton's first term, though he was known to share his food and water with a stray tabby, dubbed "Slippers".

He eventually lost the position of principal Clinton pet in 1997 when the Clintons acquired Buddy, a Labrador Retriever. At this point some fans of Socks joked that Socks had been "voted out of office" of White House pet in favor of the more traditional dog.

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A lynx kitten
Credit: Bernard Landgraf

A lynx, like this kitten, is any of four medium-sized wild cats.

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A Bengal cat walking on a railing
The Bengal is a relatively new hybrid breed of cat, which exhibits the "wild" markings (such as large spots, rosettes, and a light/white belly), and body structure reminiscent of the wild Asian Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis).[1] The Bengal cat has a desirable "wild" appearance with a gentle domestic cat temperament, provided it is separated by at least three generations from the original crossing between a domestic feline and an Asian Leopard Cat

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Odd-eyed cat

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