ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Scottish Wildcat -- Britain's Most Endangered Mammal

Updated on September 10, 2014
Source

The Scottish Wild Cat -- Not Your Average Tabby

The Scottish wildcat (felis silvestris) was once a symbol of the Highlands and wild places of Scotland. Sadly, this beautiful animal is now critically endangered.

The last of the Scottish wildcats today remain in northern Scotland, where numbers may have dropped to as few as 400 animals.

Learn about this fascinating cat, a true symbol of Scotland that deserves and desperately needs our protection.

For Those of You Wondering... Is This a Joke?

No, no joke. The Scottish Wildcat exists and has different ancestry from domestic cats in the UK, something which is reflected in its Latin name felis silvestris. Don't be deceived by the fact that it's not much bigger than an ordinary pet cat, or doesn't look all that different at first glance from some feral cats.

Unfortunately, after so many centuries of survival, this native British animal might not be around for much longer now that its numbers are at such a low.

Born Wild...

Source

Wild cat? Isn't it just a regular tabby?

Compare with the domestic cat

Source

What's wild about the Scottish wildcat?

The Scottish wildcat is quite a different beast from your tabby cat, or even from feral cats, though some feral cats in rural parts of Scotland may have a Scottish wildcat for a parent.

Scottish wildcats are a native British species. On the other hand, the domesticated cat (felis catus) was introduced to the UK by the Romans.

The Scottish wildcat is a larger, stockier animal than an ordinary cat. It has a striped coat in the familiar tabby markings and has green eyes. Apart from the muzzle, chin and neck area, here won't be any white fur on a full-breed wildcat, and its coat will look less sleek than that of your pet. The face of a Scottish wildcat is broad and it can look rather angry. It also has a much broader tail than a domesticated cat.

The wildcat hunts at night and is rarely seen by people. While you can tame a feral cat with time and patience, it is said that you will never tame a Scottish wildcat!

What Happens When You Catch a Wildcat?

You can see a wildcat caught in a feral cat trap (used to catch feral cats so they can be neutered) below. The cat was fine and was released back into the wild, but as you can see its reaction is very much that of a wild animal.

Why is the Scottish wild cat endangered?

Source

There have been many factors contributing to the threat to the Scottish wildcat. Historically, these have included: the fur trade, destruction of habitat, and being killed for their threat to farm animals.

Although there is greater respect for the preservation of this rare animal today, their ultimate downfall may come from an unexpected source: the humble pussycat.

The breeding of Scottish wildcats with unneutered domestic cats has led to a drop in the numbers of true Scottish wildcats being born. At the same time, these wild animals are being exposed to domestic cat diseases.

Help the Scottish Wildcat

If you live in northern Scotland, please have your cat neutered and ensure it has up to date vaccinations against viruses.

Where can I see a Scottish Wildcat?

Source

Even if you live in Scotland, it's unlikely that you will see a Scottish Wildcat in the wild unless you live in a very remote area and have keen eyes.

Sadly, I have only ever seen these beautiful cats in caged enclosures. Although they live well in captivity and it is currently possibly the only way to ensure their survival, there is something sad about seeing such a wild and free-spirited creature in a cage, no matter how large.

This is not to say that the efforts of conversation workers and wildlife trusts are not valued. Without them, the fate of the Scottish Wildcat would be even more of a concern. If the only way children and adults can see a Scottish Wildcat is in an animal park, perhaps some good may still come of it if it makes them care about this precious species on the brink of extinction.

However, how much better if Scottish wildcats can be protected and helped to thrive in the wild. This is the aim of the Cairngorms Wildcat Project.

You can read more about this wonderful and very important project on the Highland Tiger website. This is a beautiful and interesting site full of images and information on the Scottish Wildcat - and was the inspiration for this Squidoo lens.

One of the things that Highland Tiger say you can do to help is to spread the word. I hope I have done that here.

Highland Tiger also offer a free DVD and free postcards with some stunning Scottish wildcat images (they welcome donations to cover their costs) so that you can help them get the word out about the Scottish Wildcat's plight.

Scottish Wildcat Up Close

Source

A Captive Wildcat with Her Kittens

Please help to save me

Source

Highland Tiger is a beautifully created website dedicated to the conservation of the Scottish Wildcat. Please pay it a visit to learn more and to support their cause.

I am not affiliated with Highland Tiger in any way but urge you to visit their site if you wish to learn more about helping to save the Scottish Wildcat.

If we wait to act... the sad reality is that it could soon be too late.

You can donate directly to the cause of the Scottish Wildcat via Highland Tiger.

© 2009 Indigo Janson

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://corp.maven.io/privacy-policy

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)