Wild cats are the species from which our domestic housecat stems, specifically from the subspecies of the African wild cat. However, the original wild cat still exists in Africa, Arabia, Europe and Asia. The subspecies African wild cat lives throughout Africa and Southwest Asia and can be identified by its tabby markings, which it passed on to the domestic cat. The African wild cat looks similar to the domestic cat and it can be difficult to distinguish them from each other in the wild. Rodents, birds and reptiles are their main prey.
The subspecies European wild cat is larger than its African relative and has adapted to the colder environment. The European wild cat exists in Scotland, Russia, Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Switzerland and Italy, as well as other countries in Eastern Europe. The main threats to the wild cat are interbreeding with domestic cats, habitat loss and hunting.
Click here to learn more about wild cats and how you can help in their conservation.