About Small Wild Cats

about small wild cats“Most of these cats are endangered and many are at the point of near extinction. These little guys are in need of first, recognition, and on a larger scale, funding to provide research and breeding facilities.”

Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull)
Small Wild Cat Advocate

 

Small wild cats can be found all over the world. They include the African golden cat, Andean mountain cat, Asian golden cat, Bornean bay cat, black-footed cat, bobcat, Canada lynx, caracal, Eurasion lynx, fishing cat, flat-headed cat, Geoffroy’s cat, Iberian lynx, jaguarondi, jungle cat, kodkod (guigna), leopard cat, marbled cat, margay, ocelot, oncilla (little spotted cat), Pallas’ cat, Pampas cat, rusty-spotted cat, sand cat and serval.

There are also small wild cat subspecies, such as the Chinese desert cat, Iriomote cat and Scottish wild cat.

Small wild cats can be found all over the world, including the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.

More About Small Wild Cats

Three small wild cats are currently listed as ENDANGERED on the IUCN List of Threatened Species – the fishing cat, flat-headed cat and Scottish wild cat.

Small wild cats also include the “wildcats” (felis silvestris) from Asia, Africa and Europe. Approximately 22 subspecies of wildcats that have been grouped either as forest wildcats, steppe wildcats or bay (bush) wildcats.  Wildcats are extremely small compared to the big cats, but larger than housecats.

These wildcats can be traced back to Martelli’s wildcat (Felis lunensis), which was first described by naturalist Ugolino Martelli in 1906.  Martelli’s wildcat lived in Europe during the Pilocene period approximately 2.5 million years ago.  Felis lunensis fossils have been found in Italy and Hungary.

African wildcats are generally considered to be the ancestors of the domestic cat.  It is believed that the housecat became domesticated approximately 10,000 years ago to prevent rats from eating harvested food, especially grain.

 

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