Cats are classified as chordate animals of the class Mammalia. They belong to the mammalian order Carnivora, along with dogs, hyenas, bears, weasels, civets and seals.
Cats have been labeled "Felis domesticus" and "Felis catus domesticus," but both classifications place them firmly in the Felidae family. This places them alongside the big cats, even though they are much smaller and less fierce. Linnaeus, the first man to classify species formally, named them "Felis catus." Some scientists consider them a subspecies of Felis catus and apply the subspecies label "domesticus" to the domestic cat. Some suspect that the European forest cat, Felis sylvestris, may simply be a wild form.