African Wildcat Physical Characteristics

BODY The African Wildcat looks similar to a short-haired domestic tabby cat, but has relatively longer legs and a long thin, tapering tail. When sitting upright, their long legs cause the body to be in an almost vertical position. This cat is similar looking to the Jungle Cat but is much smaller.  

COAT Due to the diversity of habitats where this cat occurs, there is a wide variation in colour. In the drier habitats and in the grasslands the colouring is shades of light brown, whereas in the wetter, forested areas, the colouring is greyer and darker. The coat has faint vertical stripes on the body, with dark rings on the legs as well as on the black-tipped tail. The chin and throat are white and the chest is usually paler than rest of body. There is a distinctive reddish colouring on the belly, backs of the ears and hind legs. Hybrids from interbreeding with domestic cats can be a mixed colouring, confusing identification.

African Wildcat Physical Characteristics
African Wildcat Physical Characteristics
Image Credit: African wildcat stretching
© J & B Photographers / gettyimages.com
Image Source ARKive with permission
African Wildcat Facial Characteristics
African Wildcat Facial Characteristics
Image Credit: African wildcat sleeping
© Brigitte Marcon / Biosphoto
Image Source ARKive with permission

African Wildcat Facial Characteristics

HEAD The face looks like a typical domestic cat, with an angular shape, faint vertical stripes on the forehead and diagonal markings on the cheeks. The nose is pink and there are white markings around the eyes and mouth. The backs of the ears have a reddish tint, a feature which is often used to distinguish a pure bred African wild cat from hybrids.

 

AGE In the wild - unknown. In captivity - up to 15 years.