New Word #72: I Love Cats

Image by Bessi from Pixabay


I had thought lions only exist in Africa until I watched a video showing that lions also exist around Gir Forest National Park in India. This is life. Whenever we think something is set in stone, an exception comes in to surprise us.


I heard of Siberian tiger, Bengal tiger, Sumatran tiger. I think it is safe to say that tigers are indigenous to Asia. They look magnificent even in the depressing environment of a zoo or a circus. The vivid yellow and black stripes can make them look even more fierce than they really are.

It is said there are around 5000 tigers in captivity in the U.S., more than the 3500 wild tigers in the world. A lot of these tigers are said to be in private hands. I really didn’t know this until I read an article about people in the state of Ohio having private zoos with all kinds of exotic animals. Needless to say, some of the zoos might not be managed well, especially when the owner gets into a bad financial streak. These owners are not those princes from Middle East who have unlimited resources to indulge their whims. These are regular people who are middle class farmers or mechanics. Their finances go up and down–an affordable whim can easily become unaffordable when the economy turns sour.


I think these are the smallest among the big cats in Africa. They have two vertical lines on their face, which give them a perpetual sad look, as if crying for their existential crisis–hustling for a living is not easy under the tyranny of those lions who function like mob families. Leopards, who have bigger body mass, bully them while hyena packs rob them.

A Cheetah’s paws are the real “cats paw”. Being the fastest animal on earth, a cheetah can hunt a small antelope with relative ease, but it doesn’t have the strength to guard its spoils. When other big cats or hyena packs smell fresh blood, they come running and drive the poor cheetah away. There’s no justice in the animal world.


Leopards fare better than than cheetahs by being a tree climber, and one or two sizes bigger. This is probably why it can live in all the continents except Australia and Antarctica. I don’t know if Australia is called a continent–I certainly hope so. It is very adaptable. There are even snow leopards above 18,000 feet (about 5500 meters) in Himalayas. That’s more than 3000 feet higher than the Mount Everest base camp, for which a normal human being needs years of strenuous training in order to live there to prepare for their real dangerous ascent to the top.


Even though the image of a jaguar is often used as a mascot for a college sports team, Jaguar is very rare in the U.S., but one can see them if one watches an animal program about predators in South America. For the longest time, I thought they are just leopards who migrated from Asia long time ago. Then I was told they are of different species and their spots look different.

Cougar (also called puma)

Cougars are just jaguars wearing a light colored coat. They mainly live in California and Colorado. And people don’t call them cougar or puma, but rather the native speakers call them “mountain lion”. I learned “puma” when I studied English in school, and just like many other words, the native speakers almost never use what I learned.

Caracal, Serval, Lynx, Bobcat

These are midsized cats about 40 pounds, much smaller than the big cats above. Servals live in Africa while caracals live in Africa, Middle East, and India.

Lynxes and bobcats live in North America.

Domestic Cat

There are more than 40 breeds of domestic cats. And there are about 30 cat breeders in Edison, New Jersey. These breeders also breed dogs. So they can also be called dog breeders. However I am astonished at the number of it. I mean Edison is a city of only 100,000 people. I guess there’s a need for many breeders. Since I’ve never had pets myself, I don’t really understand people’s interest in different breeds–why one breed is more suitable than another. One cat is similar to another cat to me.

Savannah cat: A Savannah cat is a cross between a domestic cat and a serval, a medium-sized, large-eared wild African cat. It looks quite distinct and it is said it costs tens of thousand dollars to buy one.

Persian cat: I get to know this breed because it regularly shows up in movies, being held by a mass murderer or an evil mastermind. I don’t understand the rationale behind it–why the Persian cat is always connected with sinister characters? Is that a reflection of real life? I hope not. The poor breed suffers so much from inbred that the face is abnormally sulky and the hair is so long that it obscures all facial and bodily features.

Maine Coon: This can be the biggest domestic cat. A big Maine coon can be 40 inches long (about 1 meter). They only live in the state of Maine, which is close to Canada. I guess they have to live in a place that’s relatively cold because they have thick furs.

30 thoughts on “New Word #72: I Love Cats

    1. Wow, I wish I was with you when you tour those places with big cats. I dream of that day but of course I know that will never happen. Cheetahs are so squeezed between other competing powers that I have my best sympathy for them.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I hope you can visit someday because seeing those animals in their natural habitat is a whole different experience. Yeah cheetahs are sometimes forgotten about but they’re so powerful. I’ve seen them jump and stalk their prey up close and it’s so cool to watch.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s so true. It is rumored that carrying a long stick will help and pretend you are taller or larger with the waving of the stick. You probably are going to laugh at this. LOL.

          Liked by 2 people

  1. Cats don’t seem too friendly. They look like they’ll scratch you any minute. I didn’t know cheetahs are unable to defend themselves. They certainly are fast and agile. Thanks for sharing so much information, Haoyan. Great work! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cat needs a lot of socializing and cuddling and coddling in order to be cuddly. And even then, they might want to bite. yes, cat is not a sociable animal at all. Yes, poor cheetahs. I feel so bad for them. There’s no justice in the wildness.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Hyenas are lazy bullies but there are no rules in the jungle, too bad.
    I heard that there was a time the tigers’ population really surged in India and the government had to regulate it. That’s why most tigers are tamed. They are good looking though, one can easily ignore the danger😂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. ❤ puma is a word used in Latin American countries, Jaguar is also closely associated with a car name. By native speakers exactly who are you referring to ? Native Americans or Immigrant Americans for which this country is most!y made up of.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s true. Jaguar is a car I see at least once or twice a week, wheezing on the road as fast as it can. I am only trying to create a word that refers to people who are not non-native speakers. So I use native speakers to refer to people who grow up in English and whose first language is English. In contrast, I am a non-native speaker. Yeah, anybody whose mother tongue is English. Is that right? They never use puma. They always say “mountain lion”.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I had to laugh at the point of Persian Cat 😂 Mass murderers and criminals lol- I think it has to do with the fact that it has an EXTREMELY sulky face. To me, this is THE BEST post in this series so far because I found it to be very interesting and informative- especially with learning which cat is native to which continent. Somehow; the African continent seems to have them all. India too, to an extent. Tiger is our national animal. Sadly, they were hunted down too much in the past. There are measures in place to conserve them now, while they are at the brim of being endangered.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s soooo true. The sulkiest face in the world despite all the luxury. Thank you so much for your praise and I guess it is because I write a little bit about each entry. Due to your encouragement, I will continue to do this. Hahaha. That’s so true. Africa seems to be the cradle for humans and animals. Yes, tigers are so magnificent. Sadly, there are so few in the wild. Most tigers are in captivity.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Me tooo! Great post!!! Cats are wonderful creatures, independent, fascinating. I still love to listen to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “Cats” … having also read T.S. Eliot’s cat poems … whenever I hear “Rum Tum Tugger” I have to think of my tomcat, who also always wants the opposite of what’s offered 😹. And makes me laugh at least once a day …

        Liked by 2 people

        1. You pique my interest. Let me check out T. S. Eliot’s cat. I love tomcat too. My friend Ilin has a ginger cat, who is soooo clever. When I bring him food from Wegman (a very nice store), he immediately warms up to me. When the food is from Shoprite (an ok store), he looks at me with such mixture of contempt and resentment that I can’t help laughing.

          Liked by 2 people

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