Wild Cat Names. If you are interested in helping a specific cat, click on the link at the end of that cat’s summary. If there is no place to make a donation, you can email the project coordinator and ask how you can help.   For more wild cat articles, click here.
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The Wildcat Sanctuary (TWS) is a 501c3 non-profit, no-kill rescue facility located in Sandstone, MN. TWS provides a natural sanctuary to wild cats in need and inspires change to end the captive wildlife crisis. As a true sanctuary, we do not buy, breed, sell or exhibit animals. The Sanctuary combines natural and spacious habitats with a life free of exhibition and exploitation, allowing all residents to live wild at heart. The Sanctuary is not open for public visitation. TWS advocates for No More Wild Pets in order to create a world where animal sanctuaries are no longer needed.
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Sometimes a popular cat name like Bella, Max, Tigger or Chloe just won’t do. Picking exotic cat names means it’s extremely unlikely that someone else will have the same name for their kitten, and it’s also a fun conversation starter to explain how you picked the name and what it means.
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Living cats belong to two subfamilies, the Pantherinae and Felinae. The former comprises the “big cats” (the tiger, lion, jaguar, leopard, snow leopard, clouded leopard and Sunda clouded leopard). Felinae comprises all the non-pantherine cats, which range in size from the small rusty-spotted cat to the big cat-sized puma and includes such diverse forms as the lynx, ocelot, serval and cheetah, as well as the domestic cat.
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Cats are obligate carnivores, requiring a diet of meat and organs to survive. Aside from the lion, wild felids are generally solitary; feral domestic cats do, however, form colonies. Cheetah males are also known to live and hunt in groups. Felids are generally secretive animals, often nocturnal, and live in relatively inaccessible habitats. Around three-quarters of cat species live in forested terrain, and they are generally agile climbers. However, felids may be found in almost any environment, with some species being native to mountainous terrain or deserts.
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Naming kittens is a highly personal matter between pets and their human companions. Kitten names ought to have some personal meaning, or relate in some way to the animal’s looks or personality. With that in mind, here are some suggested kitten names based on various factors. Even if you don’t find something you like, maybe you’ll find a bit of inspiration.
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We’ve created a collection of our favorite 60+ exotic cat names from around the globe along with their traditional means. This is by no means an exhaustive list, so if you have other ideas, please let us know.
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The downside is that the name may be difficult to pronounce and you’ll have to explain it to people who meet your cat. However, that’s a small price to pay for a rare, gorgeous cat name.
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Most felids seem to be able to purr, vibrating the muscles in their larynx to produce a distinctive buzzing sound. In the wild, purring is used while a mother is caring for kittens. Precisely which species of felids are able to purr is a matter of debate, but the sound has been recorded in most of the smaller species, as well as the cheetah and cougar, and may also be found in the big cats.
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Don’t see a favorite? You may still find some inspiration for a name that’s original and perfect for your little fur ball. Whether you go the more traditional route and choose a name like Muffin or you prefer more human-sounding names, don’t rush the decision if you don’t have to. After all, this is the moniker your kitty will have for life, so choose wisely, and she may come running when you call her name.
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The first cats emerged during the Oligocene, about 25 million years ago, with the appearance of Proailurus and Pseudaelurus. The latter species complex was ancestral to two main lines of felids, the cats in the extant subfamilies and a third major group of extinct cats, which are assigned to the subfamily Machairodontinae. The machairodonts included the saber-toothed cats such as the Smilodon. The “false sabre toothed cats”, the Barbourofelidae and Nimravidae, are not true cats, but are closely related and together with Felidae and other cat-like carnivores (hyaenas, viverrids and mongooses) make up the feliform carnivores.
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Other common felid vocalisations include the gurgle, wah-wah, prusten, and roar. The first two sounds are found only among the Felinae (small cats). Gurgling is a quiet sound used during meetings between friendly individuals, as well as during courtship and when nursing kittens. The wah-wah is a short, deep-sounding call used in close contact, and is not found in all species (it is, for example, absent in the domestic cat).
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Possibly the oldest known true felid (Proailurus) lived in the late Oligocene and early Miocene epochs. During the Miocene, it gave way to Pseudaelurus. Pseudaelurus is believed to be the latest common ancestor of the two extant subfamilies and the extinct subfamily, Machairodontinae. This group, better known as the saber-tooth cats, became extinct in the Late Pleistocene era. The group includes the genera Smilodon, Machairodus and Homotherium. The Metailurini were originally classified as a distinct tribe within Machairodontinae, though they count as members of the Felinae in recent times. Most extinct cat-like animals, once regarded as members of the Felidae, later turned out to be members of related, but distinct, families: the “false sabretooths” Nimravidae and Barbourofelidae. As a result, sabretooth “cats” seem to belong to four different lineages. The total number of fossil felids known to science is low compared to other carnivoran families, such as dogs and bears. Felidae radiated quite recently and most of the extant species are relatively young.

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