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Many pedigreed and especially purebred cats are exhibited as show cats.

Cats of unrecorded, mixed ancestry are referred to as domestic short-haired or domestic long-haired cats, by coat type, or commonly as random-bred, moggies (chiefly British), or (using terms borrowed from dog breeding) mongrels or mutt-cats.

Cats are thought to be primarily responsible for the extinction of 33 species of birds, and the presence of feral and free-ranging cats makes some otherwise suitable locations unsuitable for attempted species reintroduction. In comparison to dogs, cats have not undergone major changes during the domestication process, as the form and behavior of the domestic cat is not radically different from those of wildcats and domestic cats are perfectly capable of surviving in the wild.

A 2016 study found that leopard cats were undergoing domestication independently in China around 5,500 BC, though this line of partially domesticated cats leaves no trace in the domesticated populations of today. Cats have either a mutualistic or commensal relationship with humans.

Cat senses fit a crepuscular and predatory ecological niche.

Under controlled breeding, they can be bred and shown as registered pedigree pets, a hobby known as cat fancy.

Failure to control the breeding of pet cats by neutering, as well as the abandonment of former household pets, has resulted in large numbers of feral cats worldwide, requiring population control.

The origin of the English word cat (Old English catt) and its counterparts in other Germanic languages (such as German Katze), descended from Proto-Germanic *kattōn-, is controversial.

It has traditionally thought to be a borrowing from Late Latin cattus "domestic cat", from catta (used around 75 AD by Martial), The Late Latin word is generally thought to originate from an Afro-Asiatic language, but every proposed source word has presented problems.

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