Cats

A cheetah at Erindi Private Game Reserve in Namibia

Cheetahs Arrive in India After 70 Years of Local Extinction

As part of an ambitious reintroduction plan, conservationists flew in eight of the big cats from Namibia

Contrary to researchers' expectations, cats with higher levels of the hormone oxytocin displayed fewer bonding behaviors than those with lower levels. 

New Study Links Cat Hormones and Gut Microbiomes to Their Social Behavior

Felines with lower cortisol, oxytocin and testosterone levels are more tolerant of other cats

Cheetahs are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, with approximately 6,517 mature individuals left worldwide. 

Cheetahs Will Soon Be Reintroduced to India

The felines were declared extinct in the country in 1952

A cat chews up and rolls around in the leaves of the silver vine plant.

When Cats Chew Catnip, It Works as a Bug Spray

Plant leaves that repel mosquitoes release a more effective repellant after being crushed up by felines

Zeolite, a clay material found in kitty litter, may be the next tool to help reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. 

Innovation for Good

Minerals Used in Kitty Litter Could Help Fight Climate Change

A MIT study shows how, when treated with copper, a clay called zeolite can convert methane to carbon dioxide, a less powerful greenhouse gas

After analyzing the DNA of 50 domestic cats, researchers identified regions along the two genes that code for Fel d 1 that the team could cut and edit with CRISPR.

Researchers Are Closer to Creating Hypoallergenic Cats Using CRISPR Technology

The allergen-causing protein Fel d 1 was removed from feline cells using the gene-editing tool

A feral fox in Australia.

Cats and Foxes Kill 2.6 Billion Animals Per Year in Australia

A new study is the first to quantify the impact the two non-native predators have on local wildlife in the country

Top row (L to R): Bill Clinton's cat Socks (pictured twice), Amy Carter's cat Misty Malarky Ying Yang and George W. Bush's cat India. Bottom row (L to R): India, Calvin Coolidge's cats Blackie and Tiger, and the Bidens' cat Willow

History of Now

A Colorful History of Cats in the White House

Willow Biden isn’t the first feline to grace the presidential residence's halls

Dusty, the author's cat, lies on a catnip patch on a supervised visit outside. She has a smaller brain than her ancestors.

Your Pet Cat Has a Smaller Brain Than Its Wild Ancestors

The researchers replicated experiments done in the '60s and '70s with updated knowledge of feline lineage

Five cats pile onto a Starlink satellite dish in a snowy yard.

Outdoor Cats Are Using $500 Starlink Satellite Dishes as Self-Heating Beds

The devices—developed by Elon Musk's SpaceX—have a warming feature to prevent snow built up from disrupting the signal

One reader wonders what graffiti was like before spray paint.

Ask Smithsonian

What Did Graffiti Look Like Before Spray Paint and More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts.

A Louis Wain illustration of cats singing carols

See Louis Wain's Exuberant Cat Art at the Hospital Where He Spent His Later Years

The Victorian artist's famous feline portraits are on view at England's Bethlem Museum of the Mind

Cat owners can keep themselves, their pets, and wildlife safe by keeping their feline indoors.

Outdoor Pet Cats Are Spreading a Brain Parasite to Wildlife

It is one of the most common parasites in the world and has infected approximately one-third of people globally, including some 40 million Americans

A new study from Japanese researchers found that a stationary cat can track its owner's location by their voice. 

Your Cat May Know Where You Are Even When They Can't See You

New research suggests domesticated cats keep a 'mental map' of their owner's location, an ability previously unknown in felines

Archaeologists excavated the foundations of a carcer, or holding cell, where gladiators, doomed prisoners and wild animals waited before being brought into the Richborough Roman amphitheater in Kent.

Cool Finds

Holding Cell for Gladiators, Doomed Prisoners Found at Roman Amphitheater in England

Researchers initially thought the structure was a passageway to the ancient arena

A new article suggests that cats have been underutilized in studies of genetic disease and that studying their genomes, which are structured similarly to humans', could yield new treatments.

New Research

Human Genomes Are Surprisingly Cat-Like

Cat genomes are more similar to ours than those of mice and dogs, yet researchers say felines are underutilized in genetic studies of disease

A Chinese mountain cat photographed in a field of grass.

New Research

Elusive Chinese Mountain Cats Aren't Domestic Cats' Ancestors

Past genetic studies on feline domestication hadn't included this wildcat native to the Tibetan Plateau

Illustration of Smilodon fatalis cubs playing
together.

The Softer Side of Sabercats

The iconic fanged predators may have raised their young for years—dragging baby mastodon bones home for them and slowly teaching them how to hunt

Several male jaguars have been spotted in Arizona and New Mexico over the last twenty years, but no evidence of breeding pairs establishing territories beyond Mexico has been seen or reported.

It's Time to Reintroduce Jaguars in the U.S. Southwest, Scientists and Conservation Groups Say

Hunting decimated the big cat’s population in the United States by the mid-20th century

One of the cats from the experiment sits in a Kanisza square, which is four Pac-Man-like circles positioned to create four corners of a square.

Why Cats Love to Sit in Boxes—Even Fake Ones, According to Science

Scientists tested what the Internet has long known to be true: Our feline friends have an "if I fits, I sits" approach to picking the coziest spot

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