- The Animal Encyclopedia for Kids


Cat Facts

Size Up to 17.7 inch (45 cm) (shoulder height); up to 48.4 inch (123 cm) (length)
Speed Up to 30 mph (48 km/h)
Weight 5.5-17.6 lb (2.5-8 kg)
Lifespan 12-15 years
Food Mice, rats, birds
Predators -
Habitat Everywhere in the world
Order Carnivore
Family Cats
Scientific name Felis silvestris catus
Characteristics Cats have been kept as pets since 9,500 years

Main Characteristics

The domestic cat originates from the wildcat. About 40 cat breeds have developed from this species. You can find the most beautiful cat breeds in our pet section.

Anatomy and Appearance

Why Do Cats Have Whiskers?

Cats use their whiskers to measure distances. This helps them to find out if they can slip through a hole or if they are too big or too heavy. Older cats are no longer that agile and thus grow longer whiskers.

Senses and Abilities

Cats Produce Many Sounds

Cats don't just meow. They can utter hundreds of sounds, dogs only about ten.

Cats Have an "Electric" Sense

Cats can detect vibrations in electric mains.

Cats Can Heal Themselves

If domestic cats, cougars, cheetahs and ocelots purr, they are producing sound waves that are transmitted through the air and can heal bone tissue. Sound waves in the range between 20 to 50 Hertz (measurement unit for frequency) also stimulate bone growth and improve the bone density of human beings.


Cats Clean Themselves to Calm Down

If a cat has had a fight or faced a dangerous situation, it uses its paw to clean itself to calm down.

Cat Cat - Photo: Silke/


The Heaviest Cat

The heaviest domestic cat was the Australian tomcat Himmy with 46.9 lb (21.3 kg). Guiness World Records decided to stop recording this category to prevent owners from overfeeding their cats.

The Largest Cat

Currently, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, Maine Coon are the largest species of domestic cats with a length of 48.4 inch (123 cm) (including the tail).


Cats Don't Recognize Themselves in the Mirror

If a cat looks in a mirror, it can see a cat there. But this "other" cat is ignored because it doesn't "smell" like a cat.

Cat Breeds

Cat Breeds Without Tail

There are cat species without any tail, such as the Manx cat. Apart from this the only cats without a tail are those that lost it in a fight or by accident.

Cat Cat - Photo: Anna Hoychuk/Shutterstock

Fun Facts

Cats Can Scare Away Black Bears

A domestic cat is able to frighten a black bear, so that it even climbs a tree to escape. Luckily, it does not need the help of a fire brigade in order to get back on the ground again.

Do Cats Get Sunburned?

Yes, cats can get sunburned. Learn more about that in our article.

Mail Cats on Duty

At the beginning of the 19th century, cats helped to deliver letters. In 1897, 37 cats served as “postmen” in Belgian villages. Finally this concept was abandoned – not because of the dogs, but because the cats were rather unreliable ...

Cat Coffee

Viverrids produce the world’s most expensive coffee. They eat the coffee beans, which then pass through their bowels and get “refined”. Although this sounds rather disgusting, 2.2 lb (1 kg) of this coffee is sold at about 774 dollar (700 euro). Only about 507 lb (230 kg) are produced per year.

The Cat Is Related To:

  • European Wildcat

Animals in the Same Biome:

Cat Cat - Photo: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek/Shutterstock

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