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Felidae is a taxonomic Family within the carnivore Order of mammals. They a more commonly referred to as felines and the taxa known as the cat Family. It includes both the domestic cat, the large predatory cats, such as tigers, lions, jaguars, leopards, and pumas. There are at least 37 species of cats found all around the world except in Antarctica and Australia. Biologists consider them to be one of the most highly developed carnivores that have ever lived.
Cats have short faces, and small, broad skulls. The ears are pointy and are always in an alert position to pick up sound or signal intention. The jaws of especially big cat families contain three pairs of incisors, one pair of canines, and two or three premolars in the upper and lower jaws. The tongue is covered with sharp projections that allow them to clean the flesh from the bones of animal prey. The paws are well padded for protection, and the claws are long, sharp, and retractile, meaning they can be drawn in and used without scratching and ripping unless intended. Their coat varies, but is usually short but thick enough to protect them against harsh environments. Their eyesight is superb enough to hunt at night.
The cat family Felidae's reproduction is seasonal, usually during warm months. When a female cat has reached 80% of her adult size, she is ready to begin her breeding career. Proestrus is the time in the cycle when the female begins attracting males and estrogen builds up when preparing for ovulation. During estrus, her behavior continues to a more severe degree. There is also the interestrous period, which is the period between times of behavioral estrus. Diestrus is a period of sexual inactivity; she ovulates, and her ovaries prepare for possible pregnancy. She will stay off heat for at least 35 days until pregnant. Litters of kittens range from four up to eight.
Members of the Felidae family are known for their independence and their need for territorial space. These areas can be quite large depending on whether the cat is domestic or wild. They adjust well to their surroundings, whether they are domestic or wild. Larger cat families have excellent hunting skills and can blend into many environments through camouflage. Large cats are found in environments ranging from hot to cold, from damp to dry. They are superb carnivores that can survive harsh conditions, and most dominate their own area of land.