The life cycle of African Wildcats (Felis lybica) has the following phases:
- Gestation: 56 - 68 days
- Kitten: birth to 2 months
- Litter Size: 2 - 4 kittens (max 8)
- Sub-Adult: 2 - 10 months
- Adult: 9 - 12 months (male and female)
- Lifespan: 11 years in the wild - 19 years in captivity
The three main stages of development are kitten, sub-adult or juvenile and adult. Generally young of the smaller wild cats are called 'kittens' and young of the big cats are called 'cubs'; so Lion, Leopard and Cheetah 'cubs' but African Wildcat 'kittens'.
African Wildcat Reproduction
Until recently African Wildcats were grouped with the widespread Wildcat species that occurs across Africa, Asia and Europe. So most of the information pertains to all Wildcat species and not just the African Wildcat, although likely very similar.
Wildcats reproduce seasonally in areas of distinct seasons or throughout the year in mild climates.
Gestation (pregnancy) is around two months and on average two to four kittens are born per litter. In some regions females produce more than one litter in a year.
Wildcat kittens are weaned at two to four months and become independent between two and ten months.
African Wildcat Adults
Both male and female African Wildcat sub-adults become sexually mature between nine and twelve months.
Mortality in the wild is primarily by larger mammalian carnivores and raptors.
Near human occupation wildcats are killed by shooting, snaring, roadkill and domestic dogs.
The lifespan of African Wildcats in the wild has been recorded up to eleven years and up to nineteen years in captivity.