Did you know that most wild cat species are small and that lions, tigers, and other large cats are the exception? That adult bobcats, clouded leopards, and other small wild cats are completely asocial? And that they fight only as a last resort? This entertaining and informative book reveals these and hundreds of other facts about the behavior, biology, and conservation of the more than 30 small wild cat species.
From bobcats to servals, small cats are spread across the globe. They range in size from the rusty-spotted cat and African black-footed cat, each of which weighs around 5 pounds when fully grown, to the Eurasian lynx, which can reach an adult weight of 60 pounds. These felids are elusive, some are nocturnal, others are arboreal, and all are rare and secretive, making them especially difficult to study. James G. Sanderson, the world's leading field expert on small wild cats, and naturalist and wildlife artist Patrick Watson provide informative and entertaining answers to common and unexpected questions about these animals. The authors explain why some small cats live on the ground while others inhabit trees, discuss the form and function of their coat types and colors, offer scientifically sound information on human-small wild cat interactions, and even review the role that small wild cats have played in literature, religion, and mythology.
The world of cats is as fascinating as it is diverse. Small Wild Cats: The Animal Answer Guide shows just how important and interesting the littlest of the nondomesticated feline family are.
James G. Sanderson is a Fellow of the Wildlife Conservation Network and the founder of the Small Cat Conservation Alliance. He is coauthor of Wildlife Issues in a Changing World and coeditor of Landscape Ecology: A Top-down Approach. Patrick Watson is a freelance wildlife artist, naturalist, and lifelong cat lover.
AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. Introducing Small CatsWhat are small cats?What is the difference between small cats and big cats?How many kinds of small cats are there?Why are small cats important?Where do small cats live?Why are there only domestic small cats on Madagascar, Australia, New Guinea, and New Zealand?How are small cats classified?What characterizes the major groups of small cats?When did small cats evolve?What is the oldest small cat fossil?2. Form and Function of Small CatsWhat are the largest and smallest small cats?How fast does a small cat's heart beat?Can small cats see color?Are small cats capable of retracting their claws?Can small cats swim?How far can small cats jump?Are small cats capable of climbing?Are small cats' tails the same?Do small cats have whiskers?How sensitive is a small cat's sense of smell?What is special about a cat's sense of taste?Can you determine whether a fossil small cat was terrestrial or arboreal?3. Small Cat ColorsCan small cats be black?What causes the different coat colors of small cats?Why does the length and thickness of small cat's coat vary?How are hair colors determined genetically?Is there a reason for the patterns on the coat?Are there age-related differences in coat color?Are there seasonal changes in coat color?Is there much geographic variation in small cat species?4. Small Cat BehaviorAre small cats social?Do small cats fight?How smart are small cats?Do small cats play?Do small cats talk?How do small cats avoid predators?5. Small Cat EcologyWhere do small cats sleep?Do small cats migrate?How many small cat species can coexist?Are small cats equally distributed throughout the world?How do small cats survive in the desert?How do small cats survive the winter?Do small cats hibernate?Do small cats have enemies?Do small cats commit infanticide?Do small cats get sick?How do small cats influence vegetation?6. Reproduction and Development of Small CatsHow do small cats reproduce?How long are female small cats pregnant?Where do mother small cats give birth?How many babies do small cats have?Are all littermates equally related?How long do female small cats nurse their young?How fast do small cats grow?How long do small cats live?7. Food and Feeding of Small CatsWhat do small cats eat?How do small cats hunt?Do small cats hide or bury food?How often do small cats eat and drink?Do small cats scavenge?8. Small Cats and HumansDo small cats make good pets?Should people feed small cats?Do small cats feel pain?What do I do if a find an injured or orphaned small cat?How can I become a better observer of small cats?How do I know whether I have small cats in my backyard?Why are small cats important?9. Small Cat Problems (from a human viewpoint)Are small cats pests?How are small cats kept away from people, livestock, and poultry?Are small cats vectors of human disease?10. Human Problems (from a small cat's viewpoint)Are small cats endangered?Will small cats be affected by global warming?Are small cats ever invasive species?Do people hunt and eat small cats?Why are some small cat skins so valuable?Why do small cats get hit by cars?11. Small Cats in Stories and LiteratureWhat roles do small cats play in religion and mythology?Are some small cats considered bad luck?What roles do small cats play in popular culture?Are there popular sayings about small cats?How are small cats incorporated into poetry?How are small cats incorporated into literature?12. "Small Catology"Which species are best known?Which species are least known?How do scientists recognize individual small cats?Appendix: Small Cats of the WorldBibliographyIndex