Wild About Cats
This special exhibit is open through March 20, 2021.
The relationship between people and cats has fluctuated between the extremes of fear and adoration. For thousands of years, humans have been prey for large wild cats. At the same time, we have domesticated smaller cats, encouraging them to share our homes and sometimes treating them as children.
Cats are the most highly evolved mammalian predator on earth today. They are native to every continent except Antarctica and Australia. All cats are well-equipped to stalk, catch and kill other animals, even animals larger than themselves.
Their coats are colored, spotted, and striped for camouflage. They have large eyes and binocular, color vision for seeing prey and judging distances. Their dagger-like canine teeth for stabbing and razor-sharp claws for catching and holding prey make them extremely effective predators. Even so, tigers actually fail about 90 percent of the time when attempting to catch prey and cheetahs fail about 60 percent of the time.
Unfortunately, cats pay a high price for their talents and beauty. Most wild cats are persecuted as predators, hunted as trophy kills, pursued for their exquisite coats, and threatened by loss of their prey and destruction and alteration of their habitat.
The museum's newest special exhibit, "Wild About Cats", highlights the wide diversity of cats living throughout the world today. The exhibit features taxidermy mounts of lions, tigers, leopards, cougars, and many more cats living throughout the continents of North America, South America, Africa and Asia. Museum visitors will learn about the prey these animals hunt, the science behind their extraordinary predatory abilities, how they adapt to their surroundings, and much more!