The cat , also known as the domestic cat or housecat to distinguish it from other felines and felids, is a small furry domesticated carnivorous mammal that is valued by humans for its companionship and for its ability to hunt vermin and household pests. Cats have been associated with humans for at least 9,500 years, and are currently the most popular pet in the world. Owing to their close association with humans, cats are now found almost everywhere on Earth. Cats are similar in anatomy to the other felids, with strong, flexible bodies, quick reflexes, sharp retractable claws, and teeth adapted to killing small prey. As nocturnal predators, cats use their acute hearing and ability to see in near darkness to locate prey. Not only can cats hear sounds too faint for human ears, they can also hear sounds higher in frequency than humans can perceive. This is because cats’ usual prey (particularly rodents such as mice) make high frequency noises, so cats’ hearing has evolved to pinpoint these faint high-pitched sounds. Cats rely more on smell than taste, and have a vastly better sense of smell than humans.