Categories: Cat Anatomysize

Why Are Domestic Cats So Small?

People search using Google and other search engines to find an answer to the question, “Why are domestic cats so small?”. This article provides an answer.

Domestic cats are not small in the grand scheme of things, by which I mean that when you compare their size to all other animals and not solely in relation to human beings, the domestic cat cannot be considered to be small.

It is hard to find an answer to the question, “What is the average size of all land animals?”. Wikipedia says that the average size of land animals is the size of a sheep. However, if you take insects and other terrestrial invertebrates into account the average land animal is the size of a house fly! I think that puts the size of the domestic cat into the context.

People who believe that the domestic cat is so small are basing their belief on a comparison of the domestic cat to the size of the human. That, however, is unfair and inaccurate as the question is posed in such a way that it indicates that the domestic cat is small in comparison to all other animals.

If the question was, “Why is the domestic cat so small compared to humans?”, it would be a meaningless question because some animals are smaller than others due to evolution.

The size of the domestic cat is based upon the size of the North African wildcat which is its wild ancestor. The North African wildcat is at the smaller end of the spectrum of sizes of the 36 wild cat species but there are smaller wild cat species. In fact, the smallest cat in the world, either domestic or wild, is the Rusty-spotted cat which weighs between 1.8 and 3.5 pounds (0.8-1.6 kg).

I hope this answers the question satisfactorily. See a page on the size of the domestic cat breeds.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • Domestic cats are the size they need to be for their ecological niche of exploiting rodents as a food source. Any bigger or smaller would put them in competition with other predator species.

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