What Makes Small Cats Different From Big Cats?

Image credits – Pixabay

Have you ever wondered how similar your kitty is to the lions of the Serengeti or the Bengal tiger? Although it may seem ridiculous to compare these large cats to the tiny house cat, you will be amazed at how similar they are. However, there are certain characteristics that make small cats suitable as pets and differentiate them from their wild counterparts.

Differences between small, domestic cats and big cats

  • Throat anatomy: The throat contains a bone called the hyoid bone. It connects the roof of the mouth and the tongue. In big cats, this bone is soft and flexible, which enables them to make a roaring sound, something that small cats are incapable of. In small cats, the hyoid bone is hard and rigid, which helps them purr instead of roar.
  • Controlled aggression: Cats have learned to control their aggression from when they started living around humans, which eventually got embedded in their genetic makeup. Cats with these altered genes bred with other cats to pass on these genes, creating a large number of small cats that are low on aggression and extreme aggressive behavior, making them suitable as pets.
  • Ability to learn and remember: Small, domestic cats seem to have a better ability to learn and remember behavior based on reward and punishment as opposed to big cats. This ability helps small house cats learn and remember what their human companions like and do not like and make it easier for the cats to adapt themselves to live with humans.
  • Shape of pupils: Big cats have round pupils, while most small cats, including domestic house cats, have elongated slits for pupils. This difference is attributed mainly to the kind of surroundings the different cats live in and their specific requirements for absorbing light.
  • Size of the brain: As a comparative ratio to their bodies, big cats have relatively larger brains than their small, domestic cousins. This could be because of how differently the brain is used by these cats and some areas of the brain being redundant to domestic cats.

Surprising similarities between your house cat and their large wild cousins

  • Kneading: This endearing habit is shared by all cat species. It is seen as a sign of contentment and happiness and could be a remnant from their suckling kitten days.
  • Sleep patterns: Both big and small cat species can sleep up to 20 hours a day, a habit you may have often observe in your kitty.
  • Food requirements: Big large and small cats are obligate carnivores and need meat on a regular basis to survive and be healthy. They cannot digest plant nutrients as well as they can digest and absorb nutrition from meat.

Cats domesticated themselves many centuries ago and decided to live alongside humans. Even today, cats are considered to be only semi-domesticated and retain a lot of instincts of wild cats.

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