Istanbul Feral Cats or Wild Cat Hybrids?
Near Istanbul Feral Cats - Photo Bart Cotton
Hi, I received an email from Bart Cotton the founder of Data Power Monitoring Corp (see link below) about some feral cats he noticed when he was visiting the Istanbul area. He took some photographs. He made this remark about them:
There may be nothing here, but the ears on the attached were a little unusual, and no one there seemed to know about these. The two shown were in a group of about a half dozen, and I was only able to get pics of these two. They were definitely wild, but may be normal kittens with large ears. Some of the others I recall had larger ears. Anything unusual to you? Location is on the Marmot sea just prior to the Bosporus Strait entrance through Istanbul in the rocks in the pic. This is about 5 mi. from the Istanbul airport in the Atakoy Marina area behind a Sheraton hotel where pic was taken from.
This is a thumbnail picture.
I thought that there just might be something in this. They are almost certainly “ordinary” feral cats. I am sure that there are millions of them in Turkey and around Istanbul in particular. But we know that wild cat hybrids are created when feral cats or domestic cats mate with small wild cats. This can happen in the wild (see for example American Bobcat Hybrids – new window) although it also happens in the cat fancy when breeders create wild cat hybrids.
The thing about these two little cats is that have characteristics that are not that common in feral cats as far as I am aware and I could be wrong, namely:
- they have over sized ears. This might just be a developmental thing and the ears might become more in proportion with the rest of the body when more adult
- they have dark nose leathers
- they have white eye markings
Sure, they are classic tabby cats too. If, unlikely though it is, they are wild cat hybrids it would have to be through a mating with a wild cat hybrid such a Bengal cat (abandoned perhaps) because I know of no large eared small wild cats roaming around the Istanbul area! Although the Bengal cat does not have oversized ears. Of course Servals have huge ears. And Savannah cats have slightly oversized ears too as a consequence.
I am just “chewing the cud”….Any ideas?
Photos by Bart Cotton, Founder, DATA POWER MONITORING CORP (new window)