Members of the genus are found worldwide and include the jungle cat (Felis chaus) of southeast Asia, European wildcat (F. This has been criticized as implausible, because the reward for such an effort may have been too little; cats generally do not carry out commands and although they do eat rodents, other species such as ferrets or terriers may be better at controlling these pests.
The alternative idea is that cats were simply tolerated by people and gradually diverged from their wild relatives through natural selection, as they adapted to hunting the vermin found around humans in towns and villages.
Feral cats are associated with human habitation areas and may be fed by people or forage for food, but are typically wary of human interaction.
Cats have seven cervical vertebrae, as do almost all mammals; 13 thoracic vertebrae (humans have 12); seven lumbar vertebrae (humans have five); three sacral vertebrae like most mammals (humans have five); and a variable number of caudal vertebrae in the tail (humans retain three to five caudal vertebrae, fused into an internal coccyx).
Under controlled breeding, they can be bred and shown as registered pedigree pets, a hobby known as cat fancy.
There are more than 70 cat breeds, though different associations proclaim different numbers according to their standards.
Cats are similar in anatomy to the other felids, with a strong flexible body, quick reflexes, sharp retractable claws, and teeth adapted to killing small prey.
Cat senses fit a crepuscular and predatory ecological niche.
Similar forms exist in Lithuanian puižė and Irish puisín or puiscín.
The etymology of this word is unknown, but it may have simply arisen from a sound used to attract a cat.