Feline (more accurately, Felidae) is the biological family of cats. A member of this family is also called a felid.
Extant felids belong to the subfamilies:
- Pantherinae – including tiger, lion, jaguar and leopard
- Felinae – including all the non-pantherine cats
The first felids emerged during Terra's Oligocene, about 25 million years ago. In later prehistoric times, a third subfamily, the Machairodontinae, included the "saber-toothed cats", such as the Smilodon. Other superficially cat-like mammals, such as Thylacosmilus, Thylacoleo or the Nimravidae, are not included in Felidae despite superficial similarities.
Felids are the strictest carnivores of the 13 terrestrial families in the order Carnivora, although the three families of marine mammals comprising the superfamily Pinnipedia are as carnivorous as the felids. Felids are obligate carnivores - they must consume meat to survive - and are sometimes referred to as hypercarnivores because of the much higher proportion of protein they require in their diet, much more than most other mammals.
Properly, the term Feline or Felid applies only to Terra originating species. Non-Terran species such as the Togar are not truly feline, although the term is applied to them due to their appearance and behavior.