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Big Cats - European Wild Cat

( Originally Published 1936 )

This animal is slightly larger than the domestic cat and differs from it in having a thicker, shorter, and more bushy tail. The colour, in general, is much the same as that of the common tabby cat—a mixture of stripes and spots on a greyish or brownish ground. See Plate 13, Fig. 59.

Not many years ago the Wild Cat was found throughout the British Isles, but it is to-day confined to Scotland and to the wilder parts of Europe and Asia, where it still has rather an extended range. It should not be confounded, as it frequently is, with the so-called Wild Cat, or Bob Cat, of this country, which, as has been said, is simply the red, or bay, lynx, and differs from the true Wild Cat in many characteristics.

The Wild Cat is, without exception, the most savage in captivity of all cats, large or small. Several specimens that are now in the Philadelphia Zoological Garden look at first sight like large and ferocious tom-cats of the domestic species, but are a thousand times more surly and vicious. They sit quietly in the cage until someone comes near, when they suddenly fly at the bars, spitting and snarling as if possessed. This is not at all due to fear, as they have been a long time in confinement and are accustomed to the presence of people, but seems due simply to inherent ferocity, which, so far as I have observed, remains unchanged throughout life.

The Wild Cat is a great foe to birds, and also to rabbits and poultry, among which it creates great havoc.

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