Fact Bites: Top 10 Searches About Wild Cats

As wildlife conservation efforts continue and more cat lovers turn their attention to their house cats’ bigger cousins, here are 10 quick answers to some of the top searches about wild cats.

10: What are wild cats?

To make things clearer, there are wild cats and wildcats. While used interchangeably, wildcats typically refer to the felidae species comprised of small wild felines; the European wildcat and the African wildcat are the most common ones. Meanwhile, the term “wild cats” are also used to refer to the big cats like the tiger, lion and jaguar due to the fact that these cats live and belong to the wild.

9: What are the different types of wild cats?

Purportedly, there are 36 known species of wild cats. To name a few, the African wildcat, Andean mountain cat and sand cat belong to the felinae subfamily which refer to small cats. tHE Panthera family comprised of the big cats like leopards and tigers are also included.

8: How do they live?

Cats in the wild live following their animal instincts for survival. They hunt for food, try to avoid predators and engage in territorial battles. As human civilization progressed, wild cats’ lives are affected both positively and negatively. Supposedly, their life expectancy is higher when living in captivity than left in the wild and humans play a major role in both ways.

7: What do they eat?

It is known that cats are obligate carnivores. Wild cats’ meals vary from small rodents, birds or even insects and reptiles. Most of these however are the small kinds like rats, sparrows and grasshoppers. However, they do eat larger preys but not as much.

6: Do they hibernate?

No, wild felines don’t hibernate. They have thick coats to protect them from the cold and let them go about their activities. But during extreme cold weather, like many animals these cats are capable of going into a torpor state; this reduces their bodily processes like metabolism, helping them survive periods of reduced food availability.

5: Do they purr?

Many of the felinae family like lynx and cerval can purr. Cheetahs, technically belonging to the small cats but still regarded as a big cat, can also purr. Meanwhile, snow leopards are the only ones belonging to big feline family that can only purr and can’t roar.

4: Are these cats nocturnal?

Wild felines are mostly nocturnal. However, during seasons with cold weather, some of them adapt a diurnal lifestyle which means being active at daytime or a crepuscular one, being active during twilight or dawn. This crepuscular body clock is even inherited by domesticated cats that wake their owners up at 3 am.

3: Are these dangerous felines?

Technically, cats in the wild are not dangerous when left alone. It’s hard to even spot wildcats as they avoid humans and human settlements. But those that live in enclosures can tolerate people that come close. Although of course, if they’re provoked or protecting their young, they can become more alert and thus become dangerous.

2: Why are wild cats endangered?

If people don’t know still, many of the felidae are endangered due to threats directly and indirectly caused by humans. Wildlife trading is among the biggest threat for these felines. Loss of prey and habitat is indirectly caused by the progress of human civilization.

1: Can wild cats be pets?

Wild felines are not good house pets. As the name implies, these cats belong to the wild. This is why some breeders opted to crossbreed domesticated cats with wildcats to create wild-looking cats like Bengals and Savannahs. This is to cater those eager to have exotic cats roaming the house.

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