How are our pet cats similar to the lions. Many people don’t know that lions and cats have a lot in common. They’re both cuddly, they love to eat meat, they purr when you pet them, and they are pretty good at hunting. They are just like your house cats. If you’ve ever seen your cat stalk the yard, you might think that they are trying to hunt prey. But it turns out that their hunting instincts come from ancient ancestors who were lions!

Here’s an interesting fact: they also have similar vocal cords! Felines and large mammals like big cats use what is known as “pant hoots” for communicating with one another. These sounds are made by exhaling air through their vocal cords, which produce various pitches that help them identify each other as members of the same group or family. 

Check out these fascinating facts about cats and their relationship with big cats!

The Differences Between The Big Cat And Domestic Cats, Let’s Look At How They Differ

According to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2016, many of the differences between wild and domestic cats are in the genes that influence their psychological traits, such as aggressiveness. On the other hand, pet cats are more likely to establish memories and learn through reward-based cues, accept and even like human connection and contact, and live with the family dogs. 

Another difference is Purring, in fact, one of the biggies. Big cats have a specific bone in their throat that allows them to roar but prevents them from purring like domestic cats.

Little Cat, Big Cat Aside from their stature, lions and cats are physically distinct in other aspects. For one thing, lions roar but cannot purr, whereas cats purr but cannot roar. This is due to differences in the architecture of their necks. Despite its familiarity, purring was once a scientific enigma.

Big cats are appealing to humans because they are comparable to domestic cats. In reality, lions are more similar to domestic cats than other wild felines in many aspects, but there are some noteworthy distinctions as well.

The reason lions can afford to be gregarious is that they can kill really huge creatures that will feed multiple lions for a day or two. Another reason that differs between Domestic cats and lions is how they hunt. The various hunting tactics are related to the varied types of prey that domestic cats and lions consume.

Domestic cats are unlikely to have evolved cooperative hunting due to their tiny size – even in groups, they couldn’t compete with larger predators. Thus they were forced to hunt small prey alone. While domestic cats hunt alone, lions frequently hunt in groups.

Why Do Cats Purr But Lions Do Not Purr

A new study published in Scientific Reports on July 11, 2017, took a look at the sound that cats make. The domesticated cats purr when they are happy or content and when they are terrified, fighting off an attack and giving birth. Cats produce this rumbling noise with their voice box or larynx.

The researchers wanted to know how these frequencies were produced – was there something unique about the way the cats' vocal cords moved? The scientists used ultra-high-speed videos of ten felines producing these sounds to answer this question.

The results revealed some interesting facts about how the felines purr: Purring requires vibration of both the vocal folds and a unique set of bones called the hyoid apparatus is suspended from the skull and supports the larynx and tongue. The purr is considered a biological good and isn’t used for any specific reason. It’s produced by not just domestic cats but also bobcats, cheetahs, and tigers.

This is very different from what we know about big cats such as lions. Although big cats such as lions roar with their larynxes, they don’t purr as domestic cats do. That said, biologists aren’t exactly sure why this is the case!

Similarities Between Pet Cat And Wild Cats

Domesticated cats still retain many of their wildcat ancestor’s physical and behavioral characteristics despite these genetic differences. For example, domestic and wild cats are ambush predators who use their acute sense of sight and hearing to hunt prey by stealth. And like housecats, most wildcats are solitary animals that only come together to mate.

The African golden cat is an exception—this species lives in groups consisting of a dominant male, several females, and young.

How Cats Became Domesticated

Cats were probably first domesticated by humans about 12,000 years ago due to selective breeding for tameness. Wildcats who were less fearful and aggressive towards people would have been more likely to be taken into homes and become the ancestors of modern house cats.

The African wildcat is the ancestor of all domestic breeds, including the Siamese and Abyssinian cats. This species lives in deserts on Africa’s northern coast, where it hunts rodents for food at night.

What Does Your Cat Have In Common With Big Cats?

Cats are mini-lions! Did you know they have similar vocal cords? They also both purr when you pet them; their hunting instincts come from ancient ancestors who were lions, and felines use “pant hoots” for communicating with one another.

The differences between big cats and domesticated cats vary by genes which influence psychological traits like aggressiveness. At the same time, household pets are more likely to establish memories through reward-based cues and accept human contact.

They Both Have Similar Body Shapes

They both have the same physical type. While the Felidae family has significant variances in size, with tigers weighing up to 300kg and our largest domestic cat species, the Main Coon, measuring up to 8kg, there are common patterns to their body structure. These characteristics include solid and supple bodies, a long tail for balance, fine heads with sharp teeth, and retractable claws that are well equipped for pursuing their prey.

Cats Smell With An Open Mouth

Cats have a superb sense of smell due to the millions of sensors that line their tiny nostrils (unlike humans, who only have 5 million olfactory receptors). They are also among the animals with an organ capable of detecting many scents.

This is a nasal organ that belongs to a group of organs known as Jacobson’s organs. It may be found near the bottom of the nasal cavity in cats, dogs, pigs, cattle, snakes, and lizards. This organ may be utilized by the cat when its mouth is open to detect scents.

They Spend Most Of Their Time Sleeping

Both wild and domestic cats sleep a lot. Cats sleep 20 hours a day for good reason Cats spend about ¾ of their time sleeping, during which they go through several short (15-minute) naps every day and some long stretches at night where they aren’t active. This adds up to around 16 – 18 hours each day! It turns out that sleep serves an important function: allowing them to rest and recover from their strenuous activity levels while conserving energy.

Interestingly, cats sleep so much because they are crepuscular animals—meaning that they’re naturally most active at dawn and dusk when it’s harder for prey to see them coming. This is why you’ll often see your cat sleeping in a sunny spot during the day!

Cats Love Catnip

Did you know that reactions to catnip are genetic in all cat species? Catnip (Nepeta cataria), a member of the mint family, contains chemicals called nepetalactone which trigger a pleasurable response in about 70% of cats when inhaled. Cats will show intense excitement and pleasure by rolling on the ground or jumping in the air when they smell catnip.

Tiger cubs and lions respond to it, but domesticated cats are more tolerant because of a genetic variation that causes them to be hypersensitive to nepetalactone. This makes sense—domestication has caused many changes in their behavior by making them less fearful of people. So the next time your cat is going crazy over a pinch of catnip, you’ll know why!

Rubbing Their Bodies Against Surfaces

When a cat rubs its body against you or any other surface, it leaves behind scent glands on its cheeks and chins that release oils. These scents communicate information about the cat, such as sex, age, health, and mood.

Domestic cats and lions also rub their bodies against objects to mark their territory with these scents to warn other cats. This is why you’ll often see your cat rubbing its body against furniture, walls, or even you!


Cats are some of the most popular pets in America due to their exciting behaviors and biology. Cats have a unique sense of smell, love catnip, and enjoy rubbing their bodies against objects to mark their territory. So the next time you’re around your kitty, be sure to appreciate all of the fascinating things that make it unique!

As we learn more about their biology and behavior, we continue to be fascinated by them. So the next time you’re petting your kitty or watching it sleep, know that you’re sharing a special bond with one of nature’s most unique creatures.