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Wild Cats of the World

Did you know that European royalty once used cheetahs to hunt deer, or that caracals can capture birds by leaping six and a half feet straight up into the air from a standing start? Have you ever wondered whether domestic cats really do land on their feet when they fall, or how Canada lynx can stalk their prey in the winter without falling through the deep snow?

Wild Cats of the World is a treasure trove of answers to questions like these, and many others, for anyone who’s interested in learning more about the world’s felids, including the ones with whom we share our homes. Mel and Fiona Sunquist have spent more than a decade gathering information about cats from every available source, many of them quite difficult to find, including scientific papers, descriptions of hunts, archeological findings, observations by naturalists and travelers, reports from government agencies, and newsletters from a wide variety of organizations. Weaving information from these sources together with their own experiences observing wild cats around the world, the Sunquists have created the most comprehensive reference on felids available. Each of their accounts of the 36 species of cat contains a description of the cat, including human interactions with it, as well as detailed data on its distribution, ecology and behavior, status in the wild, and efforts to conserve it. Numerous photographs, including more than 40 in full color, illustrate these accounts.

Ranging from the two-pound black-footed cat to the five-hundred-pound tiger, and from the African serval with its satellite-dish ears to the web-footed fishing cat of Asia, Wild Cats of the World will fascinate and educate felid fans of any stripe (or spot).

Read an excerpt on the domestic cat.

462 pages | 43 color plates, 38 halftones, 48 line drawings, 36 tables | 8 x 10 | © 2002

Biological Sciences: Biology--Systematics, Conservation


“An essential guide for felinophiles and a valuable handbook for conservation professionals.”

New Scientist

“Magnificent. . . . The book contains a lifetime of knowledge that has been carefully and logically documented to make the book user-friendly to a wide cross-section of readers. . . . A fascinating learning experience. . . . Put this one on the top of your list.”

Cat Fancy

Table of Contents

What Is a Cat?
The Essence of Cats
Taxonomy of the Cat Family
Species Accounts
Bay cat
Asiatic golden cat
Chinese desert cat
Jungle cat
Sand cat
Black-footed cat
Wildcat: European wildcat, African-Asian wildcat, Domestic cat
Lynx: Canada lynx, Eurasian lynx, Iberian lynx, Bobcat
Pampas cat
Geoffroy’s cat
Andean mountain cat
Leopard cat
Flat-headed cat
Rusty-spotted cat
Fishing cat
African golden cat
Clouded leopard
Marbled cat
Snow leopard
Study and Conservation
Field Research Techniques: Recent Advances
Relocating Cats: History and Guidelines for the Future
Conserving Felids in the Twenty-First Century
Appendix 1: CITES Listings Governing Trade in Wild Cats
Appendix 2: IUCN Red List: Conservation Status of Wild Cats
Appendix 3: Olfactory Communication in Felids
Appendix 4: Vocal Communication in Felids
Appendix 5: Reproduction in Felids
Appendix 6: List of Scientific and Common Names Mentioned in the Text

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