Cat Care

Adaptations of the Cat

Cat Care > Adaptations of the Cat

Cat Adaptation

All members of the cat family are true carnivores which have to hunt and kill prey animals in order to survive. They are capable of running at great speed in short bursts of intense activity while in pursuit of prey. Most cats are good climbers, using trees or rocks as lookout posts for stalking prey or to retreat to, and hide in, when threatened.

Nature is in the process of change all the time. Adaptation refers to these changes. Adaptation is when there are adjustments made according to the environmental conditions. The modifications that an organism and parts of its body makes, to fit its existence under the varying environmental conditions is known as adaptation. Adaptations help animals to survive in changing environment.

Some important adaptations of the cat are as follows :

Retractable claws: Cats extend their claws only when it is needed for capturing the prey, for climbing, running or for traction. When the claws are not needed, the cats keep them hidden and sharp. However, they keep them ready to use. Cheetahs cannot retract their claws. It is believed that this is an adaptation to fast running.

Vision: Vision of a cat is the best-developed sense. Sharp eyesight is a characteristic of Felids. They have eyes positioned on the front of the head. This is to facilitate them to face forward to have an optimal ability to focus and have an acute depth perception.

Flexible spines: Cats have flexible spines; this enables them to use more muscles when they run. It also enables them to run faster than other mammals. When they run they use more muscles, they burn more energy. Thus, they cannot maintain the same speed for long periods without getting fatigued.

Lynx also belongs to the cat family. Some of their adaptations are as follows :

Fur coats: Lynx have multi colored fur coats to insulate them from extreme climatic conditions. The multicolor camouflages them to hide from the predators and sneak on their prey. Lynx live in snowy environments.

Big feet: They live in coniferous forests. The snow gets deep in winter in these regions. The paws of Lynx work as snowshoes. They keep them from sinking in the snow. They support their weight on snow.

Big eyes: Lynx have forward facing big eyes. As they are predators, they need to judge the distance of the prey. With forward big eyes, they are able to tell distances better and the size of the objects too. This is referred to as binocular vision. 'Rods' and “Cones” are part of the eyes that capture light. Cones help to see color and rods help to detect light. Cat eyes have more rods than humans do. They see better in the dark as compared to humans.

Whiskers: Whiskers are not just hairs; they are like antennae around the face of the cat. They feel and sense objects. With the help of whiskers, cats avoid obstacles, even when it is very dark. The whiskers are moved by using the muscles on the face. This allows the cats to feel the objects all around their face.

Adaptations of the cat help the cats to adapt to the environmental changes.