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Black-footed Cat — 24 Comments

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  3. I recently found a Domesticated Black-Footed Adult Female with four kittens in tow living in my neighbor’s abandoned shed. I was wondering if these ‘cross-breeds’ are a rarity, or just your run-of-the-mill domestic feline–only because they all will be in need of adoption just as soon as the kittens are old enough. Thanks,

    • Hi Vincent. The domesticated cats you refer to are semi-domesticated random bred cats with black paw pads and fur around the pads, I guess, just like the wild cat species the black-footed cat but they are not wild cat hybrids in my opinion. There are no known examples of black-footed wild cat hybrids and they only live in Africa. I guess someone could have imported one or two and tried to mate them with a domestic cat. That is a possibility but it is far more likely that the cat in the photo is a handsome tabby cat with black feet. Thanks for sharing.

    • Well all wild cats can become pets to lesser and greater extents. Some are more accepting of domestication (serval, margay) others are not (leopard cat) but no wild cat should be a “pet”. You won’t like it. They always retain their wild nature and you have to put in a lot more effort to care for a “domesticated” wild cat. There are lots of great unwanted domestic cats.

      As far as I know the black-footed cat is rarely if ever a pet cat. It can be very fierce even if he/she looks like a domestic tabby cat.

      • This is an old post, but in case you get a reply – not all small wildcats can be domesticated. Scottish wild cat is completely un-tameable and so is European wildcat in spite of their being much closer genetically to our cats and their tabby looks than these guys. The BBC documentary “Tiger of the Higlands” says Scottish wildcat is the only mammal on earth that cannot be tamed, but I read European wildcat is just as fierce. Even bred in captivity for generations they still remain wild even if they interbreed with domestic ferals and produce fertile offspring.

        But their close relative African wildcat is easily tamed. Our domestic cats by the way descended from Near Eastern wildcats, I am not sure how tameable they are.

        These are our cat’s closest relatives – subspecies of Felis Silvestris:

        • Even the most domesticated wild cat of any species is not truly a domestic cat. The domesticating is a veneer. You can feel it. I have been with domesticated servals and they are domestic cats.

          • True. Our cats are just tame wildcats. If they aren’t socialized as kittens, they just stay wild. One reason I like to watch small wildcat videos especially our cat’s closest relatives like various wildcats is because they are so similar in looks and genetically. With wildcats, most of us wouldn’t even be able to see the difference.

            I saw a Serval at a cat show, they did a presentation on Savannahs when it was still a very new breed and also brought a Serval on a leash. I thought a Serval was much better behaved than my very domestic cat would’ve been in similar circumstances.

            I find it fascinating actually that Servals that are bigger than domestics are so easily domesticated whereas Scottish wildcats that look so similar to our cats and are so close genetically remain wild even if bred in captivity for generations.

            • Yes, that is an interesting point that the Scottish wildcat is meant to be totally untameable and fierce while a serval and indeed the cheatah are quite easily tamed. The truth is, though, that I’m not sure the Scottish wildcat is as fierce as they say the cat is. After all, the African wildcat is the ancestor of the domestic cat. The African wildcat and the Scottish wildcat are subspecies of the same cat. Why should the Scottish version of this species of cat be wilder than the North African version? I wonder if the experts have talked up the wild nature of the Scottish wildcat? I have held and played with a tame serval and been in close contact with them in enclosures. They are not as tame as the domestic cat and have a very different character but nonetheless they do have many characteristics of the domestic cat.

              • Our cats came from “felis silvestris lybica”. Some place call this cat African wildcat, others call it Near Eastern wildcat and call identify African wildcat as Felis Silvestris Cafra. Interestingly, the African wildcat is very tameable. The same articles that say that Scottish wildcat remains wild say that African wildcats are easily tameable. One article I read said that they are tameable if raised from kittenhood, but another one said they are tameable even as adults.

                I trust the information about Scottish wildcats “remaining resolutely wild” because the information about them being wild came from the same article that said that African wildcats are tameable. The Scottish wildcat is studied very well by the Scottish wildcat preservation society, they have places where they try to breed them, and they all agree that this cat just doesn’t care for humans. They say it’s the only animal that cannot be tamed so they clearly agree that Servals, ALC and even bigger cats can be.

                Some place say that all of them as well as our cats are subspecies of Felis Silvestris and call our cat Felis Silvestris Catus while others tell our cat is considered a separate species – Felis Catus. But regardless of how they call it, the fact that all sub-species of Felis Silvestris interbreed freely with domestic cats and produce fertile offspring shows how close they are genetically.

    • A couple of things I read about these guys – a) they are fierce, maybe not as fierce as European and Scottish wildcats, but still fierce b) they need low humidity or they can’t breathe and need temperatures above 40 degrees Farenheit. c) in captivity they often die early from kidney failure, nobody knows why d) they eat a lot. e) they spray…

  4. I have 6 cats and a yellow lab, believe it or not! The 2 youngest cats appeared from under our concrete front porch the week of easter 2 years ago. Scooter and Chester(sister and brother, respectively) are extremely rambuncious and Chester has some behavioral issues- apparently the little box is acceptable only half the time, and noses and blankets must be delicious- and some weight issues. Scooter, and to a lesser extent, Chester, are also extremely affectionate. For example, when they aren’t bringing Christmas trees and decorations down to the beautiful, scuffed up, scratched hardwood floors, Chester becomes my mom’s cat shaped shadow. If I leave for even just a week,upon returning, I am greeted by Scooter ignoring me-but, within the hour, there she is, ramming her head into me, bitting my chin, licking my ears, sticking razor sharp claws into my neck, and climbing under my blanket! They are extremely similar in color to the pictures above, and have similar patterns, though they are more striped than the black footed cats above. I can’t help but wonder if one of their parents had a slight trace of a wild cat in them, they are so crazy!

    • Nice story. I sense a lot of love in your house. The Black-footed cat is a tabby cat and you have tabby cats, which originated in the African wildcat. The tabby coat is present throughout the entire cat world, wild and domestic. You have a nice cat/dog household. I like the little vignette of cat life when you return after a week away. Scooter fist ignores you and then adores you. She does adore you. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

  5. I have a black footed cat, with long hair & bushy tail -found in the Wild Frontier in Mpumalanga south africa – it looks very like your pictures.

    • Wow, I would love to hear more. Is your Black-footed cat domesticated? They are said to be quite fierce when wild. What is it like living with a Black-footed cat? Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  6. Hi Jason, I found your comment very interesting. Please tell us more! I would love to know more. I guess you live in South Africa. Your story tells us that the Black-footed cat can be domesticated. What has happened to you is a bit like what happened when the wild cat was first domesticated about 9,500 years ago or less (we are not sure when exactly). I guess the fact that Theo was socialised as a kitten means he is somewhat domesticated. And he is attached to you. He likes you. The small wild cats can be domesticated but some are more suitable for domestication that others. The leopard cat (Asian leopard cat) is said to be too independently minded but the Margay (South America) is friendly.

  7. At the start of 2011 my mother brought home this amazing kitten, since then I have learned that this kitten is in fact a Black Footed Cat. I have called him Theo. The only person who he has not attacked is me, rather he jumps into my lap and sleeps, or when I am reading a book, he jumps up and says “hello”. When I say “attacked” I mean play with. He always waits until I come home from work or if I am out with friends and then he is docile as a typical cat but when I away he raises hell so to speak. I am glad that you have contributed this information about the range, location, prey and conservation.

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