Genets: The Honorary Cats

Genetta genetta, Genet, captivity Netherlands genet catThe common genet, also called a genet cat or European genet, are nocturnal mammals that originate in northern Africa and Europe. It belongs to a family of mammals that is widely considered to be closest to the common ancestor for all modern carnivorous mammals.

Although these feliforms aren’t that closely related to common domestic cats, they do share a lot of similar traits and features. For instance, like cats, genets are carnivorous, and they like to eat insects, small rodents and reptiles, and even birds — pretty much whatever they can get their paws on. They are agile climbers, and spend a lot of their time in trees. Their long tail gives them some extra balance and guidance when jumping from limb to limb.

Unlike cats, however, genets maintain a strong connection to its instinctual lifestyle in the wilderness. That doesn’t mean that genets don’t play well with humans — they are often living on the fringes of anthropic communities, and some have even been domesticated. Generally, though, even domesticated genets tend to be loners, and don’t take well to being held. They develop an emotional dependence on their owners, and may revert to a feral state if they are relocated to a new home — but who would want to get rid of something so cute anyway?

 

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