With all this talk of special breeds and glamorous designer cats, I found myself wondering: What’s your heritage? You obviously come from refined stock and must have commanded quite a price.
– Fancy Cat in Florida
My human informs me I’m a rare and noble breed known in taxonomic nomenclature as felis magnificantus handsomus. (Thus the prominent “M” mark on my forehead for magnificantus, which is Latin for magnificent.)
I am descended from an Amur tiger who mated with a manticore, producing unique offspring which was then paired with a puma, resulting in a spectacular felid who mated with a particularly handsome domestic cat, thus creating my unique breed.
This explains the majestic and regal bearing of my personage, my good looks and my considerable muscles. Not all cats are this ripped, as you know.
Legend tells of an unprecedented bidding war, with humans pledging small fortunes for the privilege of serving me. Big Buddy refused to divulge exactly how much money he spent to outbid the others, but if a mere Savannah can cost as much as $20,000, surely an impeccable specimen of felis magnificantus handsomus would command at least twice that.
This, dear readers, is why I am an indoor-only cat. It has nothing to do with me being scared of the outdoors, as laughably suggested by some. It’s because, as a powerful and glamorous feline, it is illegal for me to prowl the streets alone as I would strike fear into the hearts of humans, dogs and other lesser creatures.
Thankfully I’m a pretty chill dude and all it takes it some turkey to stay on my good side!
Just to clear up any misunderstandings — and hopefully stave off more of those “Would a tiger and a house cat be good friends?” questions — cats aren’t down with each other just because they’re cats.
You won’t see a jaguar high-fiving a jaguarundi like “Sup bro? Hunt anything delicious lately?”
And you sure as hell won’t see your cat shooting the shit with a puma on your back porch, trading war stories about taking down prey.
Nope. To the puma, your cat is the prey.
That’s what happened early on Thursday morning in Boulder Creek, California, where footage from a Ring doorbell cam shows a puma — also known as a mountain lion or cougar — hovering over something partially obscured by a planter. There’s a flash of domestic kitty eyes for the briefest instant, then more noise followed by the puma walking away with the cat in its jaws.
Sue Ann Sheely, whose camera caught the attack, said it’s the second time she’s seen a local cat fall victim to a cougar. She sent the footage to a local news station so her neighbors will finally wise up and bring their cats indoors.
Like coyotes, pumas aren’t breeding in greater numbers or suddenly intruding on human territory: We’re the intruders, chipping away at the wild cat’s habitat with each new housing development and strip mall we build. The majestic-looking cats die in unusually high numbers when roads cut through their ranges, and simply brushing up against a human neighborhood is often enough to get them shot.
With fractured habitats and fewer prey animals to hunt, pumas will sometimes turn to domestic animals as prey. Attacks on humans are exceedingly rare, and pumas normally do their best to steer clear of humans.
What would domestic cats be like if they were the same size as big cats?
It’s a question that seems to pop up often on cat-centric and Q&A sites and the answer is complex, but it turns out nature has given us a pretty good idea with the puma.
Also known as the cougar, mountain lion and the more generic panther (which can be a name for jaguars and leopards as well), the puma is big, but genetically it’s related to small cats and it shares some physical features with our familiar domestic kitties.
It’s capable of the intimidating wild cat scream often heard from the largest felines, but the puma can’t roar like big cats. Instead, it purrs like its smaller relatives, and it can even meow with the best of them!
Visually, the puma is a striking animal — it’s muscular with a shiny tan coat and facial features reminiscent of both panthera and felis. While its ears more closely resemble those of small cats (felis), the puma’s eyes have circular irises like its larger cousins.
It’s also remarkably adaptive. The puma boasts the largest range of any cat, and is found all throughout South and North America. Here in good ol’ ‘Merica, the cat ranges from the coastal mountains of California to the forests of New England, and a subspecies — the famous Florida Panther — occupies swampland and dense jungle habitats.
After the jaguar, it’s the second-largest cat in the Western Hemisphere.
The puma is a wild animal, meaning its place is out in the world fending for itself, protecting its territory, hunting, mating, grooming and sleeping a lot, like all cats do. Pumas are emphatically not pets.
Yet pumas have a disposition closer to house cats than big cats, meaning they’re not hostile to humans by default, and much like feral cats, they’ll go out of their way to avoid humans.
Again — and it cannot be emphasized enough — pumas are wild animals who belong in the wild, but there have been rare cases where the big-little cats have lived with humans when circumstances make it impossible to return them to their natural habitat.
In some cases it’s because the puma is maimed and can no longer hunt for itself, while others remain under human care because they were born into zoos or circuses and literally do not know how to live like wild cats. Those animals are better off in sanctuaries than left to fend for themselves, which they’re unable to do, but should only be cared for by professionals.
While pumas don’t have any interest in hunting or harming humans, that doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous. Males can tip the scales at up to 220 pounds, while females can weigh as much as 140.
That’s a LOT of cat: Most of us know the kind of damage 10-pound domestic felines are capable of rendering, especially with sharp claws and teeth that can shred delicate human skin. A 220-pound puma, while not as lethal as a tiger pushing 600-plus pounds, can fatally injure a human being.
Thankfully, these animals are famously elusive and confrontations with humans are exceedingly rare.
Chronicling the adventures of Buddy the Cat and his various criminal enterprises.