NEWS AND COMMENT-CONWY, NORTH WALES: This is a bizarre story which makes me scratch my head in bemusement. Arguably, there are no Scottish wildcats left on the planet because the very rare ones that might look like Scottish wildcats are in fact hybrids having mated with local feral or stray cats. And the only Scottish wildcats that are left on the planet – if they do exist at all – are in Scotland, in remote areas.
Another point worth making is that the genuine Scottish wildcat is renowned for being aggressive and therefore unmanageable. And in this story, we have a pet tabby cat called Finlay who was seized by the police on the belief that he was a Scottish wildcat. How could that happen? On my interpretation of the story, Finlay did not demonstrate any wildcat characteristics. He is described as a tabby cat and a pet living in the home of his owner. This is something that could not and would not happen with a genuine wildcat.
So why did the police waste their time going to their home to seize this pet and frighten everybody when the police never find the time to catch burglars or arrest thieves? When they never find the time to get off their backsides and do genuine policing and stop crime? The police are simply not doing their job in the UK any more. About 5% of criminals are caught and prosecuted. Being a criminal is a safe and reliable job in the UK thanks to the desultory police force.
The tabby cat was examined by experts from Natural Resources Wales and NatureScot. They examined Finlay’s features and declared that he may have a low proportion of wildcat genes but not enough to consider him to be a Scottish wildcat. I find that statement in the Mirror newspaper website to be equally bizarre. Did they do a DNA test? No. And in any case, all domestic cats originate from the North Africa wildcat and therefore they’re going to have some wildcat genes in them.
And did they assess the character of the cat? That surely must be the best method to assess whether they were looking at a wildcat or a domestic cat. As Finlay was living with their owner his character must’ve been that of a standard pet domestic cat.
At one stage Finlay was kept in a specialist facility while the 43-year-old man who is Finlay’s owner was “helping them with enquiries”. That must’ve been traumatic for the both of them. The whole thing is bizarre and stupid and it was a complete waste of time causing upset to both cat and owner. The police would be far better employed dealing with true crime and not going on red herring missions like this.
My guess is that a neighbour reported him because there is a dispute between Finlay’s owner and one of his neighbours. The neighbour wanted to stir up some trouble and called the police. Of course, I am speculating wildly but I can’t see any other way the police got hold of information that Finlay might be a Scottish wildcat.
Postscript: if Finlay turned out to be a genuine wildcat, which is impossible to envisage, his owner would have to have a licence to possess him and it would be impossible to also envisage that a licence would be granted because this wild cat species is so incredibly rare. Actually, in my view, they are extinct in the wild because of, as mentioned, mass hybridisation over centuries. The battle to conserve this cat in the wild has been lost by the authorities years ago. I am being negative and pessimistic but also realistic.
Below are some pages on the Scottish wildcat.