Wild Cats Geoffroy's Mini Sov. Sheet MNH
The wildcat is a species complex of small cats, comprising the European wildcat (Felis silvestris) and the African wildcat (F. lybica). The former is native to Europe and the Caucasus. The latter – the ancestor of the domestic cat (F. catus) – ranges through much of Africa; Southwest and Central Asia into India; and western China.
Because of the species' wide range the wildcat is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 2002. However, crossbreeding of wildcats and domestic cat (Felis catus) occurs in particular in Europe and is considered a potential threat for the preservation of the wild species.
The wildcat shows a high degree of geographic variation. Whereas the Asiatic wildcat is spotted, the African wildcat is faintly striped, has short sandy-gray fur, banded legs, red-backed ears and a tapering tail. The European wildcat is striped, has long fur and a bushy tail with a rounded tip, and is larger than a domestic cat.
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