In 1901, people decided the red panda and the mottled bear were related, and that's when they came up with the name "giant panda" for the bigger, black-and-white animal. The Chinese have about 20 names for giant pandas, including "spotted bear," "bamboo bear," "large bear cat," or just "bear cat." The reason why people thought pandas looked like cats was probably because the pupils of pandas' eyes have a slit shape, like cats' pupils, instead of being round, like other bears' pupils.
Since pandas have lost so much of their habitat and also because they have a low birth rate, they are said to be ENDANGERED. In 1958, the Wolong National Nature Reserve was set up by the Chinese government, but people didn't really know much about how to help the pandas back in those days. Which meant that the pandas had to live in cages in kind of icky conditions, and they didn't have very many baby pandas.
Pandas are classified as carnivores, just like other bears, but 99% of their diet is bamboo. In the wild, pandas will sometimes eat other grasses, tubers, or even birds, rodents, or carrion. Pandas in zoos might be fed honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges, or bananas, plus bamboo, of course.