Spot a rat, and your first instinct is to chase them off (if you are a man) or run (if you are a woman). A few screams almost always follow the latter, and sometimes contagious screeches, spreading throughout the neighborhood, maybe with a few tears as a bonus.
And yet, some believe that this creature belongs to the same category as the cute feline everyone loves to have. Rats belong to the class of rodents.
Are cats rodents? Read on to see why you shouldn’t be asking that.
Are Cats Rodents?
No, a cat is not a rodent. The cat belongs to the Felidae family and goes by the scientific name Felis Catus. They also come under the category of Carnivora, which can be classified as the most significant order of mammals, having a total of 280 species in it.
This is the fifth largest order of animals.
Rodents belong to the order known as Rodentia, which is, surprisingly, the most significant order of animals. Surprised? You shall understand more about this as you read, but first, let us know a bit about cats.
What Are Cats?
These are carnivorous mammals that are found all over the world but can be domesticated and kept at home.
This family includes lions, tigers, and cheetahs, and we are sure you can add the rest. The largest among these species is the tiger which weighs about 600 pounds.
Having started evolving 25 million years ago, they started being domesticated only 10,000 years ago. From 10,000 years till now, these fuzzy creatures have worked their way to becoming the creatures we see.
They are intelligent and have many sensory talents, making them easy to adapt.
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What Are Rodents?
This word originated from the Latin word Rodere which means to gnaw. All rodents have some similar characteristics. For one, they are all covered with hair, with tails.
The rodent belongs to the most significant order of families (hard to believe that, isn’t it) found in all major landmasses. They can adapt to almost any terrestrial habitat; the largest can be as heavy as 150 pounds.
They comprise about half of the mammal species and belong to the most significant order of families. The family includes squirrels, porcupines, hamsters, guinea pigs, and beavers, neither as harmful as the mouse nor the rat.
Then there are also the known chipmunks, woodchucks, marmots, and muskrats.
Don’t be surprised to know that the world has over 2000 different species of rodents, making up about 45 percent of all mammals worldwide.
The largest rodent in the world is the capybara, which can weigh 150 points. So, you see, the rodent is not a creature you can reduce to a tiny mouse or rat.
Cats And Rodents: Quick Comparison!
|Classification||Mammal (Felidae family)||Mammal (Rodentia order)|
|Average Size||9.1 – 9.8 inches (23 – 25 cm) tall||2 – 4 inches (5 – 10 cm) long|
|Average Weight||5 – 20 lbs (2.3 – 9 kg)||0.5 – 2 lbs (0.2 – 0.9 kg)|
|Lifespan||12 – 15 years||2 – 4 years|
|Habitat||Domesticated, wild, and feral cats||Forests, grasslands, and urban areas|
|Social Behavior||Solitary, but can be social||Social, live in groups|
|Common Species||Domestic cats, lion, tigers, leopards||Mice, rats, squirrels, beavers|
So, you see, while both are mammals that are very active at night, the cat and the rodent share significant differences, the most obvious being the size, apart from their diet and social life.
Cats Vs. Rodents: Similarities & Differences
The table above shows some apparent differences between the rodent and the cat. Here is a little more on that.
Cats and rodents have very few similarities. Only the fact that they are both very furry makes them look the same. Here are the similarities.
- Whiskers: Almost all rodents have whiskers, which though very small and insignificant, is one physical feature that makes us put them in the same category as the cat.
- Hunting: Here is another similarity. The cat and the rodent are great hunters, never mind that they hunt for meat or veggies. Both love hunting.
- Social behaviors: Both cats and rodents can display complex social behaviors. For example, cats form social hierarchies and can even engage in cooperative hunting behaviors, while rodents can form strong social bonds with their peers and express grief when separated.
Okay, now again, the differences may not be many, but they are significant enough to see the cat as entirely different from the rodent. Here it is. Have a read.
- Teeth: Rodents, named for their gnawing teeth, have two pairs of continuously growing incisors. Cats, as carnivores, possess four fang-like canines for meat consumption and rely on claws for defense.
- Light Sensitivity: Rodents will need a lot of light to hunt. And this is why you find them scampering about in the day. Cats, on the other hand, with their light eyes, are satisfied with just a little light to see the mouse, their prey.
- Claws: Cats have retractable claws which they use for catching prey and climbing. Rodents have non-retractable claws that are adapted for digging and burrowing.
- Communication: Meowing, purring, and body language are the main ways cats communicate. In comparison, rodents use ultrasonic vocalizations that are outside the range of human hearing, as well as pheromones, for communication.
Can A Cat Breed With A Rodent?
No. Always remember that creatures from two different families can in no way breed and create offspring together, which makes it quite obvious now that the cat and the rodent cannot mate with one another.
In other words, it is impossible to develop a rodent-cat hybrid. Perhaps you are confused because of the concept of the cabbit (cat and rabbit).
Well, for one, rabbits are not rodents, and then, more importantly, the cabbit does not exist but is merely a fictional character. Therefore, interbreeding between such distant relatives as cats and rodents is not biologically possible.
Cats and Rodents: Natural Enemies?
Almost. While cats also prey on mammals and birds, a familiar favorite of all of them is rodents like mice and rats.
This only makes it fair that the rodent, the cat’s great source of nutrition, is gifted with more intelligence than the cat.
They know their predators and traps, always looking over their shoulders with all their escape roots ready to flee from the cat’s claws.
While they can’t see and hear as well as the cat, they have a unique sense of hearing and smell which is enough to detect the arrival of a cat. And then, their sharp teeth are also the last resort when attacked by the cat.
So, what are they if we cannot consider them enemies of the cat?
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Are Cats Good At Rodent Control?
Yes, because to them, it is not just the feasting part but the hunting that comes along with it that they enjoy.
Cats are natural hunters, and there is nothing they enjoy more (perhaps apart from playing with you)
This is a skill they like to learn and show off with you. And to assist them with that are the superior senses that a cat comes with, like their fantastic sense of smell that immediately lets them know when a rat is around.
Are Cats Considered An Invasive Species?
Sadly yes. These non-native species are sometimes known for causing harm to the environment and human health, putting them in the category of invasive species worldwide today.
In other words, these mammals can negatively influence biodiversity and threaten wildlife, killing birds and other mammals that are already a threat.
While this may not be an answer cat lovers welcome, studies have proved that cats are an invasive threat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now you know all about cats and rodents like cats, but before you go, let’s look at a few FAQs on the rodent and the cat.
Q1. Are cats related to rabbits?
Ans: Nope, while both are non-walking pets, they share huge differences, like the rabbit being a herbivore and from a different family altogether (Leporidae). So the two are unrelated no matter how similar they are as pets.
Q2. Are cats close to rodents?
Ans: No, don’t mistake them for being anywhere close. The two belong to different orders of mammals and two distinct families of animals. And then, there is the fact that the two are enemies, so cats are not close to rodents.
Q3. What is a cat classified as?
Ans: A cat generally comes under the category of Carnivora and belongs to the Felidae family. This family includes other cat-like animals like lions, tigers, and you name it.
The Verdict: Are Cats Rodents?
Cats are not rodents, even if they look like rodents, with whiskers, teeth, etc. Hamsters and squirrels, though cute, come under rodents, adding something pleasant to other otherwise dreadful families of rodents.
A cat is an animal that eats the rodent that we know as the cat. So, can they not be a part of the same family?