Similarities & Differences Between Domesticated & Wild Cats

How Wild and Domestic Cats Differ

  • Pupil shape –Unlike the vertical, slit pupils of our domesticated felines, large cats have round pupils. According to a study published in the journal Science Advances, this difference is related to lifestyle.
  • The purr –Domesticated cats purr but don’t roar, whereas, lions roar but don’t purr due the anatomical differences in throat anatomy between the two.
  • Personality Traits - Wild cats are much more aggressive by nature, whereas, house cats are more likely to form memories and learn through reward based stimuli, as well as tolerate and even enjoy human interaction and contact, and living with the family dog.

Similarities Between Wild and Domestic Cats

  • Sleep –Both wild and domestic cats spend between 16 to 20 hours a day sleeping.
  • Smell –Wild and domesticated cats have great senses of smell and both will use their open mouths to smell better.
  • Food –Both wild and domestic cats are obligatory carnivores, which means they rely, primarily, on a meat diet, being much better able to digest meat proteins over plant material.
  • Self-grooming –Wild and domesticated cats both groom themselves a lot, anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of their waking hours.
  • Stalking –All cats, big and small, will stalk their prey and generally confine their hunting to dusk, nighttime, and dawn.
  • Playing –Cats of all shapes and sizes enjoy a good session of laser pointer chase, unraveling a role of string or toilet paper, and even playing in boxes.
  • Territory marking –All types of cats use similar methods to mark their respective territories, including, spraying, face rubbing to distribute their scent via the glands on their faces, to scratching — a tree trunk if you’re a lion, the couch if you’re a cat.
  • Vocalizing –Much like the meowing and chirping you hear from your cat, big cats have their own ways of “talking” to one another that can sound similar.
  • Food Games –Domesticated cats often play with their food or hide it (after catching a mouse).  Wild cats will often hide their kill by moving it somewhere else or burying it, in order to save it for a later meal.
  • Kneading –No one knows for certain why cats knead, perhaps, it’s a carry-over from nursing and a show of contentment, but we do know that wild felines also engage in this endearing behavior.