(redirected from civet cats)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.


(sĭv`ət) or

civet cat,

any of a large group of mostly nocturnal mammals of the Old World family Viverridae (civet family), which also includes the mongoosemongoose,
name for a large number of small, carnivorous, terrestrial Old World mammals of the civet family. They are found in S Asia and in Africa, with one species extending into S Spain.
..... Click the link for more information.
. Civets are not true cats, but the civet family is related to the cat family (Felidae). Most civets have catlike bodies, long tails, and weasellike faces. Their fur may be gray or brown, and may be marked in various patterns. All civets have scent-producing glands, located in a double pouch near the genitals. The fatty yellow secretion of these glands has a distinctive musky odor used for territorial marking. Commercially, this substance is known as civet and is used as a perfume fixative. Civet can be removed from captive animals every 14 to 20 days. Some civet species are hunted for their fur. The ground-living, or true, civets form a distinctive group within the family; these animals have a highly carnivorous diet. Most have dark spots and ringed tails. They include several Asian species (genus Viverra) and one African species (Civettictis civetta). Best known is the Indian civet, V. zibetha, of S Asia, from which most of the civet for perfume is derived. It has tawny fur with black spots and black bands on the tail. It is about 30 in. (76 cm) long, excluding the 20-in. (42-cm) tail, and about 15 in. (38 cm) high at the shoulder; it weighs up to 25 lb (11 kg). Its musk glands are greatly enlarged. Some of the ground-living civets are called linsangs and genets. The palm civets form another distinct group within the civet family. These are arboreal, largely fruit-eating animals of Africa and Asia; they are classified in several genera. The North American spotted skunk is sometimes popularly called civet but is not closely related to civets. Civets are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
..... Click the link for more information.
, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, family Viverridae.



(Viverra), a genus of carnivorous mammals of the family Viverridae. Body length, 60-85 cm; tail length, 31-48 cm. The civets have glands which secrete a substance called civet.

There are three species: the Indian civet (V. zibetha), V. megaspila, and V. tangalunga. Civets are found in Southeast Asia. The Indian civet is encountered in Nepal, South China, and Assam as far as the Malay Peninsula. Civets live in the forests and dense brush, rarely climbing trees. They are nocturnal animals and often live close to settlements. Civets feed on small animals (birds and rodents), insects, and sometimes fruits and nuts. Civets breed once a year and sometimes twice; there are two to five kittens per litter. Civets are hunted for their musk and sometimes are bred in captivity. The name civet has also been applied to the representatives of certain other genera of the Viverridae family such as Vi~ verricula and Civettictis.



A fatty substance secreted by the civet gland; used as a fixative in perfumes.
(vertebrate zoology)
Any of 18 species of catlike, nocturnal carnivores assigned to the family Viverridae, having a long head, pointed muzzle, and short limbs with nonretractile claws.


1. any catlike viverrine mammal of the genus Viverra and related genera, of Africa and S Asia, typically having blotched or spotted fur and secreting a powerfully smelling fluid from anal glands
2. the yellowish fatty secretion of such an animal, used as a fixative in the manufacture of perfumes
3. the fur of such an animal
4. short for palm civet
References in periodicals archive ?
And, the article continues, "Justifying the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams' case for permission to possess the civet cats as part of the temple paraphernalia such as elephants, horses, oxen etc, and [sic] the representation cited the practice of using fallen peacock feathers in temples for rituals.
Locals pick the 'coffee beans' from the faeces of Asian civet cats, which eat the ripe coffee berries as part of their diet.
Christmas cakes are very popular in the Philippines, of all places, and are often traditionally flavoured with ambergris, the scented excretion of sperm whales, commonly used in perfume-making, or perhaps more remarkably, the musk of civet cats.
Only later, between 3000 and 4000 years ago, did domestic pigs arrive with a range of other wild species including porcupines, civet cats and long-tailed macaques--a process of real-world terra-forming if you like.
Civet is a secretion from civet cats and there are allegations they are tormented to increase the secretions they produce.
Said to be the world's rarest coffee, it's brewed from beans handpicked from the droppings of civet cats, small.
The recent emergence and transmission to humans of SARS CoV from civet cats and deadly avian influenza clearly demonstrate that emerging zoonotic viral diseases are a serious public health problem that needs to be understood fully.
3) Showing that severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was caused by a coronavirus that is normally found in civet cats and other carnivorous animals.
4THE brew comes from the seed of a cherry which grows on the coffee tree and is popular with civet cats.
Dr Kathryn Holmes, from the University of Colorado, said strains of the virus recently isolated from civet cats were different from the one responsible for the epidemic.
A ban on the sale of civet cats will be permanent, according to a senior health official.
Chinese scientists have discovered that the coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is also carried by foxes and cats in addition to civet cats, Chinese media reported Saturday.