Wildcat: the Wild Cousin of Your Furry Companion

Wildcat: the Wild Cousin of Your Furry Companion


The wildcat (Felis silvestris) is a rather small cat that is pretty widespread in the world. Due to its wide range, it is listed as least concern on the IUCN Red List. Let us take a look at some characteristics of the wildcat.

Physical Characteristics

The wildcat is larger than the housecat you have there next to you. However, it is a small cat compared to the other cousins. It actually looks a lot like a striped tabby but with longer legs and a more robust build.

The skull is of greater volume and is more rounded than that of the leopard cat. Eyes are large with vertical green irises. Males are 17 to 36 inches in body length and females are 40 to 77 cm. Males weigh 5 to 8kg and females weigh 3 to 5 kg. In general, this cat is rather small. The distribution of this cat’s fur is pretty uniform. The tail looks furry and thick due to its length and density.

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The wildcat is usually a solitary animal, except during mating season. They travel long distances in search of food. Females tend to be more sedentary than males since they need a smaller hunting area to take care of the kittens.

They mark their territory through urinating on trees, rocks, and defecating on highly visible areas. They may also scratch trees, leaving its scent and some visual markers around.

Geographic Distribution

The wildcat is distributed along many places. They are found in most of Africa, Europe, southwest and central Asia south into India, China, and Mongolia.


The wildcat’s primary prey are small rodents such as mice, rats, and voles. Their diet also includes birds, hares, dormice, and some other insectivores. He does hunt some of these insectivores but he rarely eats them due to the pungent odor in some of them.

Wildcats have few natural predators thanks to their burrows and their tendency of hiding in areas with rocks and tall trees.

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