The domestic cat (Felis catus or Felis silvestris catus, previously Felis domesticus) is a small, usually furry, domesticated, carnivorous mammal. It is often called the housecat when kept as an indoor pet, or simply the cat when there is no need to distinguish it from other felids and felines. Cats are valued by humans for companionship and ability to hunt vermin and household pests. They are primarily nocturnal.

Cats are similar in anatomy to the other felids, with strong, flexible bodies, quick reflexes, sharp retractable claws, and teeth adapted to killing small prey. As crepuscular predators, cats use their acute hearing and ability to see in near darkness to locate prey. Not only can cats hear sounds too faint for human ears, they can also hear sounds higher in frequency than humans can perceive. The usual prey of cats (particularly rodents such as mice) make high frequency noises, so being able to pinpoint these faint high-pitched sounds gave cats' ancestors an evolutionary advantage. Cats also have a much better sense of smell than humans.

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