Domestic cat

Felis catus

Common name:

Domestic cat

Scientific name:

Felis catus

Alternative common names:

House cat, cat.

The domestic cat is a small, usually furry, domesticated and carnivorous mammal. The cat can suffer from a wide range of health problems, including infectious diseases, parasites, injuries and chronic disease. It is a common carrier of parasites such as worms and fleas.

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    North America.

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    NEMBA Category 1a for offshore islands.

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    Found across South Africa.

    How does it spread?

    Cats are a cosmopolitan species and are found across much of the world.

    Why is it a problem?

    They hunt and kill small mammals, and also birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish and invertebrates.

    What does it look like?

    Description: Domestic cats are similar in size to the other members of the genus Felis, weighing 4-5kg. The skull is unusual among mammals in having very large eye sockets and a powerful and specialised jaw. Within the jaw cats have teeth adapted for killing prey and tearing meat. The domestic cat has approximately 244 bones in its body, of which about 30 are vertebrate. They have 26 teeth, which develop within the first year. Habitant: Domestic cats live in forests, grasslands, coastal areas, agricultural land, scrublands, urban areas and wetlands. They can also live in the highest mountains and in the hottest deserts. Breeding: Domestic cats can breed in any season. They have up to two litters of about four kittens each year, but few of the young survive.