Origins Of The Domestic Cats
There is a close relationship between the wild and the domestic cat, but it is uncertain which wild sub species of the small cats’ genus actually
made the leap into domesticity.
Wild cats are widely distributed and vary considerably in appearance and habits. Northern cats, for example, developed dense, almost wooly
coats, while in warmer, southern climes, a fine, body hugging fur was the norm.
Experts ended up with three major contenders for the ancestor of the domestic cat, the European wild cat and its Asian and African
For many years, the Europeans believed that it was their wild cat, which is still found in localized parts of the Scottish Highlands and
northern Continental Europe. Their assumption was based in the cat’s coloring and tabby markings that are common in non pedigreed cats of
However, even if the young offspring are reared by humans, they remain very wary, and do not abandon their wild behavior patterns. This
inherent anti social streak makes them unlikely to have been inclined towards domestication.
On the other hand, the African wild cat, which still survives in Africa, western Asia and southern Europe, not only has the same number of
chromosomes as the domestic cat but is relatively sociable.
Both this sub species and the Asian desert car often live on the outskirts of human settlement and are fairly easily tames. Significantly,
remains of the African wild cat have been found in caves lived in ancient man, and it is generally accepted as the ancestors of most of today’s
Silvertips Libya is, in fact, very similar to the Abyssinian breed of today, lithe, long faces with large ears, and with a ticked, or agouti
dark tipped tan cat.
The European wild cat was thought to be the ancestor of today’s domestic cat because of its tabby markings, but this is now considered
unlikely because of its instinctive wariness of people. The more likely contender is the African wild cat.