Cougars

Puma concolor

The cougar, also known as the mountain lion, puma, panther, painter, mountain cat, or catamount, is a large cat of the family Felidae native to the Americas. Its range, from the Canadian Yukon to the southern Andes of South America, is the greatest of any large wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere. An adaptable, generalist species, the cougar is found in most American habitat types.

It is the second heaviest cat in the New World, after the jaguar. Secretive and largely solitary by nature, the cougar is properly considered both nocturnal and crepuscular, although sightings during daylight hours do occur. The cougar is more closely related to smaller felines, including the domestic cat, than to any subspecies of lion.

An excellent stalk-and-ambush predator, the cougar pursues a wide variety of prey. This cat prefers habitats with dense underbrush and rocky areas for stalking, but can also live in open areas. The cougar is territorial and survives at low population densities. While large, it is not always the apex predator in its range, yielding to the jaguar, gray wolf, American black bear, and grizzly bear. It is reclusive and mostly avoids people.

Cheetahs

Acinonyx jubatus

The cheetah is a large feline inhabiting most of Africa and parts of Iran. It is the only extant member of the genus Acinonyx. The cheetah can run faster than any other land animal— as fast as 112 to 120 km/h (70 to 75 mph) in short bursts covering distances up to 500 m (1,600 ft), and has the ability to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in three seconds.

The cheetah is a unique felid, with its closest living relatives being the puma and jaguarundi of the Americas. This cat is notable for modifications in the species' paws, being one of the few felids with only semi-retractable claws.

Its main hunting strategy is to run down swift prey such as various antelope species and hares. Almost every facet of the cheetah's anatomy has evolved to maximise its success in the chase, the result of an evolutionary arms race with its prey. Due to this specialisation, however, the cheetah is poorly equipped to defend itself against other large predators, with speed being its main means of defence.

In the wild, the cheetah is a prolific breeder, with up to nine cubs in a litter. The majority of cubs do not survive to adulthood, mainly as a result of depredation from other predators.

Lynxes

Lynx

A lynx is any of the four species within the Lynx genus of medium-sized wild cats. The name "lynx" originated in Middle English via Latin from the Greek word "λύγξ", derived from the Indo-European root "leuk-", meaning "light, brightness", in reference to the luminescence of its reflective eyes.

Neither the caracal, sometimes called the Persian lynx or African lynx, nor the jungle cat, called the swamp lynx, is a member of the Lynx genus.

Lynx have a short tail and characteristic tufts of black hair on the tips of their ears; large, padded paws for walking on snow; and long whiskers on the face. Under their neck, they have a ruff which has black bars, is not very visible, and resembles a bow tie.

Body color varies from medium brown to goldish to beige-white, and is occasionally marked with dark brown spots, especially on the limbs. All species of lynx have white fur on their chests, bellies and on the insides of their legs, fur which is an extension of the chest and belly fur. Also, the lynx's colouring, fur length and paw size vary by its climate range, and in colder climates, its paws may become larger than a human hand or foot.

The smallest species are the bobcat and the Canada lynx, while the largest is the Eurasian lynx, with considerable variations within species.

Ocelots

Leopardus paradalis

The ocelot, also known as the dwarf leopard, is a wild cat distributed extensively over South America including the islands of Trinidad and Margarita, Central America, and Mexico. It has been reported as far north as Texas. North of Mexico, it is found regularly only in the extreme southern part of Texas, although there are rare sightings in southern Arizona.

The ocelot is similar in appearance to a domestic cat. Its fur resembles that of a clouded leopard or jaguar and was once regarded as particularly valuable. As a result, hundreds of thousands of ocelots were once killed for their fur. The feline was classified a "vulnerable" endangered species from 1972 until 1996, and is now rated "least concern" by the 2008 IUCN Red List.

Domestic Cats

Felis catus

The domestic cat is a small, usually furry, domesticated, and carnivorous mammal. It is often called the housecat when kept as an indoor pet, or simply the cat when there is no need to distinguish it from other felids and felines.

Cats are similar in anatomy to the other felids, with strong, flexible bodies, quick reflexes, sharp retractable claws, and teeth adapted to killing small prey. Cat senses fit a crepuscular and predatory ecological niche. Cats can hear sounds too faint or too high in frequency for human ears, such as those made by mice and other small animals. They can see in near darkness. Like most other mammals, cats have poorer color vision and a better sense of smell than humans.

Despite being solitary hunters, cats are a social species, and cat communication includes the use of a variety of vocalizations (mewing, purring, trilling, hissing, growling, and grunting), as well as cat pheromones, and types of cat-specific body language.

Since cats were cult animals in ancient Egypt, they were commonly believed to have been domesticated there, but there may have been instances of domestication as early as the Neolithic from around 9500 years ago (7500 BC). A genetic study in 2007 concluded that domestic cats are descended from African wildcats (Felis silvestris lybica), having diverged around 8000 BC in West Asia. Cats are the most popular pet in the world, and are now found in almost every place where humans live.