What do all cats have in common?
What do wild cats look like?
Wildcats look very similar to our gray-brown tabby domestic cats. However, they are slightly larger: from head to bottom they measure 50 to 80 centimeters, the tail can be 28 to 35 centimeters long. From the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail, large wild cats can be up to 115 centimeters long. They weigh four to five kilograms.
You can distinguish it from the house cat by its bushy tail: it is much more densely hairy, its end is blunt, not pointed and, moreover, is always black at the end. Their fur is also thicker; after all, they have to endure outside when it gets colder.
The color of their fur is creamy-yellow to ocher and it is finely striped. Wildcats have a white spot on their throats. Like all cats, they can retract their claws.
Since wild cats can mate with our house cats and have young, there are many who look very similar to house cats and can therefore hardly be distinguished from them.
Where do wild cats live?
Wildcats live from Europe to Africa to Southwest Asia. Only in Iceland, Ireland and Scandinavia there are no wildcats.
Wildcats love large deciduous and mixed forests and live mainly in areas where the winter is mild.
They need a habitat with lots of bushes and rocks, where they can find good hiding places and plenty of food.
What kinds of wild cats are there?
Wildcats are divided into three groups that live in different regions and differ somewhat in appearance from one another.
In Europe and Turkey the forest cat type lives, in Asia the steppe cat and in Africa the somewhat lighter black cat, from which our house cats are descended.
How old do wild cats get?
Wildcats can live to be ten to 16 years old.
How do wild cats live?
Wildcats are very shy. They live as loners or in mother families, that is, the mother lives with her young. Sometimes, however, wildcat pairs also live together. They are mostly active at dusk and at night, sometimes when they don't feel disturbed, but also during the day.
They mark their 60 to 70 hectare territory with urine; this scent brand is supposed to keep other wild cats away. As a camp they look for a rock or earth cave, or they hide under large roots.
Wildcats move mostly on the ground, but they can also climb trees well.
They like to lie in wait on rocks or trees or take a sunbath. Although they can fish well and like to eat fish, like all cats they are afraid of water.
Wildcats are most likely to be seen here in autumn, when they hunt and eat a lot more than usual in order to eat the winter fat they need.
At dusk and at night, wildcats can see very well with their large pupils; they also have excellent hearing.
Like all cats, they are very clean animals: they like to groom themselves and take good care of their fur.
Friends and enemies of the wild cats
Wherever they still exist, the lynx, wolf, badger and fox can be dangerous to the wild cat. It was hunted by humans for a long time because it was considered a harmful predator.
How do wild cats reproduce?
The wildcats mating season in February or March. After eight to nine weeks, the mother cat gives birth to two to five kittens in a sheltered place. They weigh only 135 grams and only open your eyes after ten days. They are suckled by the mother for a month.
After three to four months they are self-employed. But since hunting is not easy, they hunt together with their mother for quite a while until they have learned all the tricks, jumps and bites that are necessary for a successful hunt. When they are one year old, they are adults and can have young ones of their own.
How do wild cats hunt?
Like our house cats, wild cats lurk in front of mouse holes or silently sneak up on other small animals.
With one leap they pounce on the prey, grab it with their claws and then kill it with a bite on the neck.
How do wild cats communicate?
Wildcats meow like our domestic cats, but their voices sound a little deeper.
They also growl and hiss when they're angry - and purr when they're comfortable.
When they argue, they utter terrible screams.
Like our house cats, wildcat tomcats also let out their screeching, howling song during the mating season.
What do wild cats eat?
Mice are the wildcat's main food.
They also hunt rabbits, hares and small birds. But also voles, cockchafer and grasshoppers. A sick, weak deer seldom becomes their prey.
Wildcats mainly eat meat - only very rarely do they nibble on fruit.
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