European wildcat

species of mammal
(Redirected from Felis silvestris)

The wildcat is Felis silvestris, a member of the small cat sub-family Felinae. It is native to Eurasia. It is so-called because it is almost impossible to tame. However, crossbreeding with domestic cats has occurred throughout almost the whole of the species' range.[1]

Felis silvestris
European wildcat
Felis silvestris silvestris
Scientific classification
Felis silvestris

The wildcat shows geographic variation. All subspecies are larger than house cats, with longer legs and more robust bodies.[2] There are about 22 subspecies,[3] or (according to some) only four, including the Chinese mountain cat, which was previously considered a species in its own right.[1]

Our domestic cat originated from the subspecies known as the African wildcat.[4]

The name 'wildcat' is sometimes used as a term for domestic cats which have gone wild in the sense of living rough, without owners.



  1. 1.0 1.1 Driscoll C. & Nowell K. (2010). "Felis silvestris". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature.
  2. Hunter, Luke & Barrett, Priscilla 2011. A Field guide to the carnivores of the world. New Holland, p16. ISBN 9781847733467
  3. Wozencraft W.C. 2005. Order Carnivora. In Wilson D.E. & Reeder D.M. Mammal species of the World. 3rd ed, Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 536–537. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0
  4. Driscoll C.A. et al 2007. The near eastern origin of cat domestication. Science 317, 519–523. [1]