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Published by jack elliot





Claws and Teeth


Cats differ from the ungulates.

The ungulates are the animals with hooves.


Cats belong to the large family of mammals known as the carnivores.


Carnivores are known as this because they live mainly on meat.


Those carnivores are hunters, and their weapons are their claws and teeth.


The Cat family is an important branch of the carnivores, and this includes, with others, the lion, tiger, leopard, jaguar, puma, lynx and both the wild Scottish cat and the domestic cat.


These have a special kind of claw, called retractile, which can be withdrawn or put out at will.


Watch your cat at home and see how it can sheath or unsheath those sharp curved claws.


All the cats, large and small, catch their prey by springing on them, holding them with their claws and killing them.


Whether it is a cat with a mouse or a lion with an antelope, the method is the same.


To do this they must have sharp claws,  and if these were not retractile they would soon be blunted.


Sharp claws  are important for the cats for another reason, they help them to climb trees.


The only  member of the cat family without retractile claws is the cheetah, but as it is the fastest animal on earth it does not need sharp claws.


A cheetah can run at sixty miles an hour.


Instead of pouncing on its prey it chases it until it is exhausted and can be killed easily.


Carnivores all have very good teeth, with a pair of long sharp ones on each jaw called canines, specially designed for biting and tearing meat.



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I have a cat named Bud. He's 16 years old.