The Scottish wildcat has the appearance of a very muscular tabby cat with a thick coat of brown black fur with mild stripes. Although it resembles domesticated cats in the shape of its face it is typically twice as large as a domestic cat. The Scottish wildcat is a sub species of the European wildcat which is a cat is unique to Britain it is now only found in Scotland, as the name suggests.
Similar to most felines, the Scottish wildcat is a solitary and nocturnal animal and they are most active at dusk and dawn. Cats only come together to mate in the mid-winter but live the rest of their lives alone, communicating with others only through scent.
They live on a pure meat diet of rabbits, rodents, and small mammals. Their control of alien pests is a great help for farmers in Scotland but they can pick off lambs to the annoyance of local sheep herders. These cats only have a small fear of water and will occasionally fish from the edge of a river or pond by scooping up passing fish with their claws.
The gestation period for a female Scottish wildcat is 62 to 68 days and females can only have one litter per year. Snares and traps are estimated to account for up to 92% of deaths in the wild and Scottish Wildcats are illegally persecuted as pests. There are some measures in place to protect the species but their numbers are still decreasing. Domestic cats pose a great threat for Wildcats and hybridization is widespread as there are very few genetically pure populations left. They’ve evolved to combat heavy deforestation in Scotland but are now confined to the Scottish Highlands where they compete for food.
Scottish Wildcat Conservation Organizations
Cairngorms National Park
Conservation of wild animals in the park, including the Scottish wildcat.
"...The wildcat is one of the Cairngorms National Park's and Scotland's, most iconic and evocative mammals and yet it may be on the brink of extinction...the main threats to the future survival of the species in Scotland were: hybridisation with feral or domestic cats; being inadvertently killed during feral cat control operation; and disease. Consequently, the Cairngorms Wildcat Project was set up to try and tackle these challenges and ran from May 2009 until April 2012..." Highland Tiger
Dedicated to the protection and conservation of the Scottish wildcat.
IUCN/SSC: Cat Specialist Group
Advancing the understanding and conservation of the world’s 36 wild living cat species.
"...The IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group brings together more than 200 of the world’s leading cat experts, including scientists, wildlife managers and conservationists from 50 countries who are dedicated to advancing the understanding and conservation of the world’s 36 wild living cat species...The Cat Specialist Group is active in many of its own initiatives as well, focusing on the development of tools for the assessment of the species’ status, for the compilation and distribution of intelligence and for supporting the work of its members..." Scottish Natural Heritage
Conservation and protection of Scotland's nature, including the Scottish wildcat.
Scottish Wildcat Association
Dedicated to the protection and conservation of Britain's only remaining wild feline, the Scottish wildcat.
Small Cat Conservation Alliance
SWCCF has two parts: Small Cat Conservation Alliance (SCCA) that supports current conservation efforts and Small Wild Cat Conservation Endowment Fund, a permanent endowment fund.
"...The mission of the Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation is to ensure the survival of small wild cats and their natural habitats worldwide. This mission is achieved by working with local partners around the world to identify and mitigate threats to the world's small wild cats..." Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation
The mission of the Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation is to ensure the survival of small wild cats and their natural habitats worldwide.
The Mammal Society
The study and conservation of mammals in the British Isles, including the Scottish wildcat.