Carnivores (Order Carnivora) are flesh-eating mammals highly adapted for catching prey or scavenging, although some are omnivorous (varied diet). As a group they date back to the middle Cretaceous, emerging approximately 95 million years ago. Carnivores are defined by their teeth; their canines form long pointed fangs to deliver a fatal bite and the carnassial teeth, (the last upper premolar and the first lower molar) shear through flesh like scissors. Surprisingly, carnivores are closely related to the toothless ant-eating pangolins (Order Pholidonta) to form the Superorder Ferae.

Depending on their lifestyle and need for speed, carnivores either walk on the whole foot, plantigrade (e.g. bears, badgers), or on their toes, digitgrade (e.g.cats and dogs). Carnivore hind limbs tend to have only four toes. As a group the Ferae are armed with multifunctional sharp and powerful claws which can be used for  digging,  providing purchase when running, or to hold onto struggling prey. Carnivores are split into two clades: Feliforms (cats) and caniforms (dogs).