Caturday felids: Today’s politics in a catoon; rescued Scottish wildcat kittens; Simon’s Cat Logic on peripatetic cats;

First, a cartoon that perfectly reflects today’s politics, both Right and Left, as a zero sum game:

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Here’s a National Geographic video of Scottish wildcat kittens. The origin of this “species” is under dispute. It may be a relative subspecies (Felis silvestris grampia) of the European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris), but it isn’t clear whether the wildcats are largely feral cats or an admixture of the descendants of wildcats and feral cats that, having escaped from human captivity, bred with the wild ones. At any rate, they couldn’t have lived in the British isles until after the last glaciation—about 12,000 years ago. Here are the YouTube notes:

These two Scottish wildcat kittens are among the last of their kind. A type of European wildcat found only in the Scottish Highlands, around 35 individuals remain. The brother and sister were found alone in the wild, at seven weeks old. Conservation organization Wildcat Haven rescued the orphans. They are now at a rehabilitation center in a large enclosure, with minimal human contact. The two kittens will be released in the West Highlands in the spring, when they are old enough to survive in the wild.

Though they appear similar, wildcats can be as much as twice the size of domestic cats. They have mostly unbroken stripes, and thick, blunt tails with distinct bands and a black tip. Keen nocturnal hunters, they commonly hunt small mammals, like mice, voles, and hares. Hybridization, a result of interbreeding with feral and domestic cats, threatens the Scottish wildcats’ survival. Conservationists are working to protect the wildcats’ habitat, and to neuter domestic cats in targeted areas.

The kittens were photographed for the National Geographic Photo Ark, a project to document all species in the world’s zoos and wildlife sanctuaries — including those that are threatened. Photo Ark aims to use the power of photography to inspire people to help save species at risk.

They look just like tabbies to me! But let nobody pretend that these are representatives of a truly wild species, unmixed with genes from domestic cats.

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Here’s another episode of Simon’s Cat “Cat Logic,” which combines cartoons with solid cat information from the expert Nicky Trevarrow from Cats Protection.  This episode is about how to properly move a cat from one home to another.

h/t: Michael, Susan

7 Comments

  1. Posted October 13, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    It’s so sad that there are so few of these cats left. I saw some in the wildlife park at Kincraig this spring.
    They lived in England and Wales right up until Victorian times.

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 13, 2018 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Our first cat was the champ of moving. Butterbur was a Siamese cat and she experienced 5 moves, none of them small. She started out in Omaha, then Dallas, Alameda, Ca., Hawaii, Waco, Tx and back to Dallas. That covered 17 years of a cat’s life. The worst move was certainly to Hawaii, due to 4 months of quarantine.

  3. Neil
    Posted October 13, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    The fate of the Scottish Wildcat is sad, whilst there is habitat being conserved, I can’t see a way around the hybridization with domestics problem.
    Several years ago I found a set of tracks in the snow during the deep depths of winter on Ben Macdui, the second highest peak in Scotland. That’s one seriously harsh environment so that individual couldn’t have been too ‘diluted’ no tabby would last long up there, however despite spending a lot of time in the Western Highlands and Cairngorms that is the closest I have come to a sighting.

  4. Jenny Haniver
    Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    This popped up at the end a video I was watching this a.m. It affords many chuckles so I offer it as an addition to today’s Caturday Felids offering. “14 weird sounds cats make”

    Another amusing compilation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__RG1frFew0. There’s some overlap between the two, but not enough to make the second video redundant. Between the two there’s a Siamese who thinks it’s a lioness, a little kitten who sounds like a goat; another cat that apparently thinks it’s a frog. All quite amusing.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted October 13, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Did not know the video would embed. The black cat at the end of the video has apparently been hanging out with the mafia because his language is all mafioso.

  5. rickflick
    Posted October 13, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    It seems genetic testing could determine the full heritage of these remaining wild cats. “Results of a genetic study in 2007 showed that all domestic cats descended from the Near Eastern wildcat and diverged around 8000 BC in the Middle East.”
    So, I think these cats from northern Europe might be a distinct offshoot.

  6. Steve Pollard
    Posted October 13, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    One estimate is that fewer than 100 wildcats remain in the wild. Tragic. There are organisations trying to preserve the breed and increase numbers: one is the British Wildlife Centre http://www.britishwildlifecentre.co.uk , well worth a visit if you are near Lingfield in SE Surrey. We went with a couple of our grandchildren earlier this year, and watched the wildcats being fed: they looked and behaved very differently to domestic cats, at least so far as a non-expert like me could tell. Very interesting animals.


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