Their claws, which do not fully retract, grip the ground like cleats. Once they reach their target, they use their front paw to trip the prey. Their smaller stature and small, flat heads also set them apart. They cannot roar, but they can purr and chirp. Unlike most cats, they have terrible night vision, which is why they hunt during the day. They also cannot climb trees.

Female cheetahs give birth to around three cubs at a time. In the first few weeks, she moves the cubs from den to den, hiding them while she goes out hunting. At this point, they are very vulnerable to predators such as large eagles, lions, hyenas, and baboons. Young cubs grow a thick yellow-gray coat on their backs called a mantle. The mantle protects the cub from the sun and rain and helps camouflage it in the shadows. It also makes the cub resemble a honey badger, which is a small feisty carnivore that most predators leave alone.

The mantle starts disappearing when the cub is around three months old and thins to a mane at around two years. The cubs that survive start following their mother at around 6 weeks. They practice hunting though play with each other. After a year and a half, their mother leaves them to breed again. The cubs stay together until the females reach sexual maturity at around two years. At that point, other male cheetahs chase the male cubs off.

But the male offspring often stay together for life, forming a group called a coalition. Coalitions are beneficial because they help male cheetahs gain territory. Today, around 7,500 cheetahs live in the wild, with about 100 living in small isolated populations in Iran. Cheetahs are threatened by habitat loss and conflicts with farmers. Cheetahs inhabit the grasslands of eastern, central and southwestern Africa as well as a small portion of Iran. Poll Results: What is your favorite big cat?

Abi Cushman is a lifelong animal lover and the editor-in-chief of Animal Fact Guide. Last updated on August 24, 2014. What’s your favorite place to see animals? Cats aren’t exactly open books. Let’s try your email address again! They can be allergic to you. Does your cat cough frequently?

You might be to blame. 200 cats—is on the rise thanks to human lifestyle. Since cats are more frequently being kept indoors, they’re more susceptible to inflammation of their airways caused by cigarette smoke, dusty houses, human dandruff, pollen and some kinds of cat litters. They’re not always affected by catnip. If both parents have the sensitivity, however, the chances rise to three in four. Cats can actually live with dogs. Tel Aviv University showed that if the animals are introduced while they’re still young—six months for cats, and a year for dogs—they’ll get along just fine.

Despite what you’ve read, your cats like it when you pet them. But that was a misinterpretation. Only those animals that did not actually like to be stroked, but nevertheless allowed it, were stressed. So go ahead, pet away! Cats have strategies for sharing space. In fact, we know less about some aspects of their behaviour than we do about many wild cats. 50 felines in Shamley Green, Surrey, for a BBC special. They found that the cats appeared to timeshare territory to avoid squabbles with other felines—though the cat-cams the kitties wore did capture a few fights. A cat’s brain is more complex than a dog’s. Sure, their brains are small, accounting for just 0. 9 percent of their body mass. 90 percent similar to ours. The cerebral cortex—the part of the brain that’s responsible for cognitive information processing—is more complex in cats than in dogs, and cats have some 300 million neurons, as compared to 160 million in dogs.