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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Learn more about the domestic cat’s distant relative and visit their mountain home on a fundraising trip of a lifetime

With their patterned fur, long whiskers and padded paws, majestic lynx have a lot of similarities with the domestic cats that share our homes.

They are both members of the Felidae family, along with lions, tigers and jaguars, and share similar biology and behaviours, although our pet moggies are much smaller of course!

If you would like the chance to learn more about lynx in their natural mountain home, sign up for our exciting Transylvania trek and raise some money for cats in the UK too.

1. They live alone

brown lynx cat sitting on rock in forest

Lynx are solitary creatures and prefer to live alone in their forest home as this reduces competition for food. They will defend their territory from other lynx when necessary, but male and female territories can overlap for mating. Our pet cats are also solitary, usually preferring to live apart from other cats so they don’t have to share resources. If they are going to live alongside other cats, then a slow and careful introduction is necessary.

2. They scent-mark their territory

To let other lynx know which parts of the forest are their territory, lynx will scent-mark their home using their urine and pheromones excreted from their cheeks and paws. You may have noticed your pet cat rubbing their cheeks on you or other items in your home, or scratching items with their claws, and it’s for the same purpose. Making their home smell like them lets cats send a signal to other cats to keep away.

3. They have good eyesight and hearing

close up of lynx cat's face peering through foliage

To help them seek out their prey of deer and other small mammals, lynx have extremely good vision, especially at night, and good hearing that covers a wide frequency range. Pet cats have strong senses too, as they can see up to eight times better than we can in low light, and can turn their ears to locate even quiet sounds.

4. They’re usually quiet

Lynx rarely make a sound, helping them to hide from potential predators, but they do have a range of vocalisations to help them attract a mate during breeding season. Pet cats are also usually quiet and most of their vocalisations are directed towards people, for example chirruping to say hello or meowing in order to get their owner’s attention for food or a fuss.

5. They ambush their prey

lynx cat walking through long grass

When hunting, lynx will stalk their prey using the dense forest as cover, and then pounce on them before they have a chance to run away. When playing with your pet cat, it’s good to give them the opportunity to ‘ambush’ their toys too. Try slowing moving a fishing rod toy across the floor, giving your cat the chance to watch and follow it before they leap forwards to catch it.

6. They’re great climbers

In their forest home, lynx are able to climb up tall trees and rocks to get a better view of their surroundings and look out for prey. Our pet cats also like to climb up high to survey their territory, so it’s a good idea to provide them with clear shelves, windowsills or even a cat tower to perch on while they watch the world go by.

A key difference

One big difference between lynx and pet cats is population size. There are lots of pet cats in the UK, so much so that we encourage neutering to help keep the numbers under control and ensure every cat has a suitable home. Sadly, lynx populations have drastically declined in the last few centuries, and they are now in danger of extinction.

Visit lynx in their natural habitat

Line of walkers walking across grassy field towards mountains

If you would like to learn more about lynx and visit their natural home, you can sign up for our exciting Transylvania trek! This 60km six-day trip through Romania takes in huge mountains, rugged wilderness and Dracula’s Castle as well as King’s Rock National Park, home to the Carpathian Large Carnivore Project which shelters wolves, bears and lynx!

There’s also the chance to take a one-day extension to visit the Putna-Vrancea Natural Park where you will meet representatives of the Biodiversity Conservation Association who are seeking to protect the ecology of the lynx species.

By taking part you’ll also be raising vital funds for smaller cats in the UK, helping to provide them with all the care they need until they can find loving new homes.

To find out more and book your place on this once-in-a-lifetime fundraising trek, visit www.cats.org.uk/transylvania

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