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For the biological cat family, see Felidae.
512px-Collage of Six Cats-01.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom Information
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Information
Phylum Chordata
Sub-phylum Vertebrata
Class Information
Class Mammalia
Order Information
Order Carnivora
Family Information
Family Felidae
Genus Information
Genus Felis
Species Information
Species F. silvestris
Subspecies F. s. catus (Domesticated cat)
Population statistics

Cats are a group of carnivorous mammals with sharp teeth and retractable claws (except in the case of the cheetah) on their paws, originally distributed worldwide apart from Australasia, Madagascar and Antarctica. Several of the larger kinds of cat can be dangerous to humans.[1]

In culture, cats are the topic of one of the longest-running Broadway musicals, Cats, which was based on T.S. Eliot's collection of poems entitled Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939).

The domestic cat, believed to derive from the African wildcat, has been used to control vermin or kept as a pet for thousands of years, and worshiped as a god by the ancient Egyptians, amongst others. Today, the domestic cat, sometimes affectionately known as a kitten when it is young, remains extremely popular as a pet; there are an estimated 76 million pet cats in the United States.[2]

Cats have long been revered animals in many cultures including those of Western Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, East Asia, North Africa, the Balkans, and some Eastern European countries, due to their ability to catch rodents, among other factors.

Species of cats include the lion, tiger, leopard, cheetah, jaguar, puma, cougar, ocelot, lynx, caracal, serval and many smaller types.

Common lineage

There is some disagreement about whether cats form one common baramin or if they come in two distinct kinds. While there are a good deal of characteristics in common, all small cats share a second set of vocal cords which allow them to purr, and the only large cat with this characteristic is the cougar.

Feral cats

A feral cat is a direct descendant of a domestic cat but is untamed and generally frightened of any human contact. A feral cat is usually one that has returned to the wild, foraging for food and living in areas with open space. This is usually as a result of someone abandoning a cat (or cats), some of which are able to survive in the wild and breed, which leads to the establishment of a colony of feral cats. Such colonies usually exist for social and mutual protection purposes, but individual cats within each colony are expected to find their own food.

The life of a feral cat is usually difficult, and many do not survive for very long, due to various factors such as having to catch their own food, inadequate shelter from the elements, encounters with other animals (skunks, raccoons, etc.) or dogs or other feral cats, dangers from vehicles on roadways, and not receiving medical treatment for illnesses or injuries. Cats as domesticated animals (pets) on average are afforded better care and thus have a better quality of life and longer life spans.

A stray cat is a cat that is unowned, but generally accepts human touch, may take food directly from a human, etc. The terms are often interchangeable, especially in popular usage.

Cats in Literature and Anthropomorphism

Cats were revered by the ancient Egyptians, possible the earliest significant appearance of cats in writing being in Egyptian texts. Cats are absent from the Bible, save for in the apocryphal book the Baruch.[3] In medieval times, cats were associated with witchcraft and evil, particularly black cats. In more recent years, cats are still imagined as lazy, apathetic, or mean.

Communist China/Vietnam and cat meat eating

See also: Communist China and cat meat eating Cat slaughtering practices in China and Atheists and dog meat eating and Atheism and animal abuse

In 2009, The Star reported: "China's Chengdu Business Daily estimated recently that as many as 10,000 cats are consumed throughout Guangdong everyday."[4]

In 2009, The Star reported: "China's Chengdu Business Daily estimated recently that as many as 10,000 cats are consumed throughout Guangdong everyday."[5]

In 2009, The Telegraph reported:

In Nanjing's north-western suburb of Pukuo, a hut stands in a field of rubbish.

The only clue to what goes on there is the pile of empty wooden crates at the back and the steel bars over the windows. Inside, there are crates full of cats, waiting to be shipped to the southern province of Guangdong, where they will feed a growing curiosity about the taste of cat meat.

At the back of the shack, a man sitting on a makeshift bed was warming himself next to a charcoal brazier.

"We collect 40 to 50 cats a day here," he said. "We ship them out when we have 100."

"We make around eight mao (8p) on each cat, after our costs. We buy them for 10 renminbi (£1) and sell them for not much more."

Each night, a train loaded with thousands of cats in crates heads south from a freight depot in Nanjing.

Chen Shi, 20, a mechanic working in a neighbouring shop, said the depot had been in operation for three or four years. "The cats scream all night," he said. "Residents called the police but there's nothing illegal about it, so they couldn't do anything."

The fondness for eating dogs in northern China is well known, but cats are also prized in the country's south. One of the most famous Cantonese dishes is "Tiger and Dragon locked in Battle", in which the flavours of cat and snake vie for attention.

The Cantonese appetite has already made cats scarce and expensive in Guangdong itself, forcing restaurants to look elsewhere for a steady supply. Nanjing, with its excellent transport links and central position in China, has emerged as the hub of cat trading.[6]

On December 20, 2019, in its article on cat eating, Wikipedia (an online encyclopedia founded by an atheist an agnostic) declares: "In Guangdong, cat meat is a main ingredient in the traditional dish "dragon, tiger, phoenix" (snake, cat, chicken), which is said to fortify the body."[7]

Cat slaughtering practices in China

See also: Cat slaughtering practices in China

In 2009, The Star reported: "China's Chengdu Business Daily estimated recently that as many as 10,000 cats are consumed throughout Guangdong everyday."[8]

China has a cat meat trade (see: Communist China and cat meat eating).

According to Human Society International:

Dr Peter Li, China policy specialist at Humane Society International, says: “The way cats are killed for China’s meat trade is notoriously brutal. They are grabbed around the throat with large iron tongs and then beaten over the head with a metal or wooden stick whilst their terrified cage mates look on. Some may still be conscious when they are thrown into a pot of boiling water to remove their hair. After that they are disembowelled, beheaded and de-footed to disguise the species, before being shipped to buyers. This is the fate of an estimated 4 million cats a year in China, a mixture of stolen pets and urban strays. I have rescued cats from these slaughterhouses myself, and they are utterly grotesque places, often with piles of fur and pet collars thrown in the corner.”...

CAPP reports that the cats at the slaughterhouse were in terrible condition, many emaciated and sick, crying out from being crushed together in the cages. There were piles of cat hair outside, the remains of countless thousands of cats slaughtered at the site in the past.

Mr Huang, a leading member of CAPP and one of the first to arrive at the illegal slaughterhouse, said: “The first three cages of the cats we saw were heart breaking. They were cages of misery. The hungry and sick cats cried louder when we approached them as if asking us to help them.”[9]

Cat meat trade in Vietnam

See: Cat meat trade in Vietnam

Cat quotes

"Cats look down on us. Dogs look up at us. Pigs treat us as equals." - Winston Churchill


  1. "Cat." Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
  2. Taxonomy and Biology. Pearson Press.
  3. Book of Baruch.
  4. Trying to get cat off the menu in China, The Star, 2009
  5. Trying to get cat off the menu in China, The Star, 2009
  6. Cat-nappers feed Cantonese taste for pet delicacy By Malcolm Moore, Jan 1 2009, The Telegraph
  7. Cat eating, Wikipedia
  8. Trying to get cat off the menu in China, The Star, 2009
  9. 375 cats saved from Chinese slaughterhouse after tip-off from heartbroken cat lover, Humane Society International website

External links