Discover What Animals are Cats Related to – A Look at Feline Family Trees

Welcome to my article on the fascinating world of feline ancestry. Have you ever wondered what animals are cats related to? Join me on a journey to explore the cat’s evolutionary relationships and uncover the secrets of the feline family tree.

Cats have always been a source of mystery and intrigue. With their unique personalities and behaviors, they have captivated humans for centuries. But where did these beloved domestic creatures come from and who are their ancestors?

In this section, we will examine the feline family tree and look at the surprising animals that cats are related to. From their wild counterparts to their distant relatives, we will uncover the lineage of these graceful and cunning creatures.

  • Cats have a complex and fascinating evolutionary history.
  • The feline family tree includes many surprising animals.
  • Understanding feline ancestry can provide insight into cat behaviors.
  • Wildcats and domestic cats share a common ancestor.
  • Their lineage includes big cats such as lions, tigers, and leopards.

Species Closely Related to Cats

Now that we have explored the feline family tree in detail, it’s time to take a closer look at the specific species that are closely related to cats. Interestingly, cats share a common ancestor with several different animals, including the mongoose, hyena, and even the meerkat. These may seem like unlikely connections, but the evolutionary relationships between these animals and cats are fascinating.

species closely related to cats

The domestic cat’s closest relative is the African wildcat, which still roams parts of Africa and the Middle East today. In fact, the domestic cat is believed to have been domesticated from African wildcats over 10,000 years ago. Other species that are closely related to cats include the lynx, bobcat, and puma.

The connections between these species and cats can be seen in their physical characteristics, such as their retractable claws and keen senses. Additionally, they all belong to the same family of mammals, Felidae, which is made up of about 40 different species of cats.

Understanding the evolutionary connections between cats and their closest relatives helps us better appreciate the unique characteristics and behaviors of these beloved domestic creatures. From their stealthy hunting skills to their playful antics, cats truly are a fascinating species.


After exploring the feline family tree and delving into the evolutionary relationships of cats, it is clear that our beloved domestic felines have a rich ancestral history. From their wildcat predecessors to their surprising connections with hyenas and mongooses, the story of cat ancestors is a fascinating one.

Understanding the domestic cat’s ancestors and their evolutionary connections can provide us with a deeper appreciation for their unique behaviors and traits. Their hunting instincts and solitary nature can be traced back to their wildcat roots, while their affectionate and playful personalities are a result of their domestication.

As cat owners, it is important to recognize the complexities of our feline friends and the history that has shaped them into the beloved companions they are today. Remembering their wild and fascinating ancestry can help us better understand and care for them.

In conclusion, the study of domestic cat ancestors and their evolutionary relationships is a reminder of the intricate and fascinating world of nature. Let us continue to explore and learn about the animals that share our world, both past and present.


Q: What animals are cats related to?

A: Cats are related to several other species, including big cats such as lions, tigers, and leopards. They are also closely related to smaller wildcats, such as the lynx, bobcat, and ocelot.

Q: How can I learn about the feline family tree?

A: To learn about the feline family tree, you can study evolutionary biology and read scientific research papers on the subject. There are also books and documentaries available that delve into the topic of cat evolution and their ancestral connections.

Q: Are there any surprising animals that cats are related to?

A: Yes, there are some surprising animals that cats are related to. One example is the cheetah, which is a cousin of the domestic cat. Another surprising connection is with the mongoose family, which includes animals like meerkats and mongooses.

Q: How do the evolutionary connections of cats impact their behavior?

A: The evolutionary connections of cats play a role in shaping their behavior. For example, the hunting instincts and solitary nature of big cats can be seen in domestic cats to some extent. Understanding their evolutionary heritage can provide insights into their behaviors and needs.

Q: Can I find information on cat evolutionary connections in museums?

A: Museums often have exhibits or displays on evolution and natural history, which may include information on cat evolutionary connections. Check with your local museums or natural history museums to see if they have any relevant exhibits or resources available.

Q: Are there any genetic studies that reveal cat evolutionary relationships?

A: Yes, genetic studies have played a significant role in revealing cat evolutionary relationships. Scientists have analyzed DNA and discovered genetic similarities between different cat species, providing insights into their evolutionary history and relationships.

Q: Do cats have any ancient ancestors?

A: Cats do have ancient ancestors. The oldest known ancestor of the modern domestic cat is called the Proailurus, which lived approximately 30 million years ago. It was a small, tree-dwelling mammal and is considered an early feline ancestor.

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