African Wildcats?

I took these 3 photos on a recent trip to Ethiopia (trip report nearly finished). They look like African Wildcats but can anyone tell me why they are or why they are not! What features have they got that would indicate a domestic x or otherwise. The thing is they were taken during the day – the first cat (2 photos) at Lake Awassa in the grounds of a lakeside hotel and the other cat was photographed at Ankobar in the grounds of a lodge. Although a bit aloof neither cat acted particularly ‘wild’ so I’m rather sceptical about them. Mind you at night in a spotlight out in the bush how could you tell! Any comments on the pro’s & con’s of them being ‘pure blood’ African Wildcats would be appreciated.




Thank you, John Wright, UK.


  • vdinets

    There is no simple answer. Domestic and wild cats in rural Africa interbreed a lot, and telling them apart just by phenotype is often impossible. Most “pure” wildcats would have slightly less pointed tails and be a bit more spotted rather than striped, but there is a lot of individual and geographical variation. Behavior isn’t a 100% certain clue, either, as feral cats can be rather skittish and true wild ones can become relatively tame (although rarely). So the only question that can be answered is: are you willing to count them? 😉

    • johnpw2

      Thank you for your useful comment Vladimir, to be honest I didn’t think they were ‘pure’ wildcats but thought it wise to check other opinions. Consequently I didn’t/haven’t counted them on the trip list – but that wasn’t too difficult a decision as fortunately I’ve seen ‘pure’ wildcats in South Africa. Thanks again, John.

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