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.
|European wildcat |
Felis silvestris silvestris
The wildcat shows geographic variation. All subspecies are larger than house cats, with longer legs and more robust bodies. There are about 22 subspecies, or (according to some) only four, including the Chinese mountain cat, which was previously considered a species in its own right.
The name 'wildcat' is sometimes used as a term for domestic cats which have gone wild in the sense of living rough, without owners.
- Driscoll C. & Nowell K. (2010). "Felis silvestris". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature.
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- Driscoll C.A. et al 2007. The near eastern origin of cat domestication. Science 317, 519–523.