|European Wildcat, Felis silvestris|
|Genus:|| Felis |
| Felis catus |
|Native Felis range|
Felis is a genus of small and medium-sized cat species native to most of Africa and south of 60° latitude in Europe and Asia to Indochina. The genus includes the domestic cat. The smallest Felis species is the black-footed cat with a head and body length from 38 to 42 cm (15 to 17 in). The largest is the jungle cat with a head and body length from 62 to 76 cm (24 to 30 in).
Genetic studies indicate that the Felinae genera Felis, Otocolobus and Prionailurus diverged from a Eurasian progenitor of the Felidae about 6.2 million years ago, and that Felis species split off 3.04 to 0.99 million years ago.
The generic name Felis is derived from Classical Latin fēlis meaning "cat, ferret".
Carl Linnaeus considered Felis to comprise all cat species known until 1758.Later taxonomists split the cat family into different genera. In 1917, the British zoologist Reginald Innes Pocock revised the genus Felis as comprising only the ones listed in the following table. Estimated genetic divergence times of the listed species are indicated in million years ago (Mya), based on analysis of autosomal, xDNA, yDNA and mtDNA gene segments.
|Species||Image||IUCN Red List status and distribution|
|Domestic cat (F. catus) Linnaeus, 1758|
| European wildcat (F. silvestris) Schreber, 1777 |
diverged 1.62 to 0.59 Mya
| Jungle cat (F. chaus) Schreber, 1777 |
diverged 4.88 to 2.41 Mya
| African wildcat (F. lybica) Forster, 1780 |
diverged 1.86 to 0.72 Mya
| Black-footed cat (F. nigripes) Burchell, 1824 |
diverged 4.44 to 2.16 Mya
| Sand cat (F. margarita) Loche, 1858 |
diverged 3.67 to 1.72 Mya
| Chinese mountain cat (F. bieti) Milne-Edwards, 1892 |
diverged 1.86 to 0.72 Mya
Pocock accepted the Pallas's cat as the only member of the genus Otocolobus.Other scientists consider it also a Felis species.
Several scientists consider the Chinese mountain cat a subspecies of F. silvestris.
A black cat from Transcaucasia described in 1904 as F. daemon by Satuninturned out to be a feral cat, probably a hybrid of wildcat and domestic cat. The Kellas cat is a hybrid between domestic cat and European wildcat occurring in Scotland.
The Corsican wildcat is considered to have been introduced to Corsica before the beginning of the 1st millennium.A genetic study of a dozen individuals showed that they are closely related to the African wildcat originating in the Middle East.
The phylogenetic relationships of living Felis species are shown in the following cladogram:
Fossil Felis species include:
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(December 2015)
Felis species have high and wide skulls, short jaws and narrow ears with short tufts, but without any white spots on the back of the ears. Their pupils contract to a vertical slit.
Felidae is a family of mammals in the order Carnivora, colloquially referred to as cats, and constitutes a clade. A member of this family is also called a felid. The term "cat" refers both to felids in general and specifically to the domestic cat.
Panthera is a genus within the family Felidae that was named and described by Lorenz Oken in 1816 who placed all the spotted cats in this group. Reginald Innes Pocock revised the classification of this genus in 1916 as comprising the species tiger, lion, jaguar, and leopard on the basis of common cranial features. Results of genetic analysis indicate that the snow leopard also belongs to the Panthera, a classification that was accepted by IUCN Red List assessors in 2008.
The wildcat is a species complex comprising two small wild cat species, the European wildcat and the African wildcat. The European wildcat inhabits forests in Europe and the Caucasus, while the African wildcat inhabits semi-arid landscapes and steppes in Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Central Asia, into western India and western China. The wildcat species differ in fur pattern, tail, and size: the European wildcat has long fur and a bushy tail with a rounded tip; the smaller African wildcat is more faintly striped, has short sandy-gray fur and a tapering tail; the Asiatic wildcat is spotted.
The sand cat, also known as the sand dune cat, is a small wild cat living in sandy and stony deserts far from water sources. With its sandy to light grey fur, it is well camouflaged in a desert environment. Its head-and-body length ranges from 39–52 cm (15–20 in) with a 23–31 cm (9.1–12.2 in) long tail. Its 5–7 cm (2.0–2.8 in) long ears are set low on the sides of the head, aiding detection of prey moving underground. The long hair covering the soles of its feet insulate its foot pads against the extremely hot and cold temperatures in deserts.
The jungle cat, also called reed cat and swamp cat, is a medium-sized cat native to the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia and southern China. It inhabits foremost wetlands like swamps, littoral and riparian areas with dense vegetation. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, and is mainly threatened by destruction of wetlands, trapping and poisoning.
The black-footed cat, also called the small-spotted cat, is the smallest wild cat in Africa, having a head-and-body length of 35–52 cm (14–20 in). Despite its name, only the soles of its feet are black or dark brown. With its bold small spots and stripes on the tawny fur, it is well camouflaged, especially on moonlit nights. It bears black streaks running from the corners of the eyes along the cheeks, and its banded tail has a black tip.
Pallas's cat, also called the manul, is a small wild cat with a broad, but fragmented distribution in the grasslands and montane steppes of Central Asia. It is negatively affected by habitat degradation, prey base decline and hunting. It has been classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 2020.
Catopuma is a genus containing two Asian small wild cat species, the Asian golden cat and the bay cat . Both are typically reddish brown in colour, with darker markings on the head.
Prionailurus is a genus of spotted, small wild cats native to Asia. Forests are their preferred habitat; they feed on small mammals, reptiles and birds, and occasionally aquatic wildlife.
Pardofelis is a genus of the cat family Felidae. This genus is defined as including one species native to Southeast Asia: the marbled cat. Two other species, formerly classified to this genus, now belong to the genus Catopuma.
The Felinae are a subfamily of the family Felidae. This subfamily comprises the small cats having a bony hyoid, because of which they are able to purr but not roar.
Leopardus is a genus of spotted small cats mostly native to Middle and South America, with a very small range extending into the southern United States. The genus is considered the oldest branch of a lineage of small cats that crossed into the Americas, with the genera Lynx and Puma being later branches of the same group. The largest species in Leopardus is the ocelot ; most of the other species resemble domestic cats in size, with the kodkod being the smallest cat in the Americas. The margay is more highly adapted to arboreal life than any other cat in the Americas.
Pantherinae is a subfamily within the family Felidae, which was named and first described by Reginald Innes Pocock in 1917. The Pantherinae and the Felinae diverged from a common ancestor between 10.8 and 11.5 million years ago.
The European wildcat is a wildcat species native to continental Europe, Scotland, Turkey and the Caucasus. It inhabits forests from the Iberian Peninsula, Italy, Central and Eastern Europe to the Caucasus. It has been extirpated in England and Wales.
The African wildcat is a wildcat species native to Africa, West and Central Asia up to Rajasthan in India and Xinjiang in China. The IUCN Red List status Least Concern is attributed to the species Felis silvestris, which at the time of assessment also included the African wildcat as a subspecies.
The Corsican wildcat used to be considered a subspecies of the African wildcat, but is now regarded to have been introduced to Corsica around the beginning of the 1st millennium.
Felis chaus chaus is the nominate subspecies of the jungle cat.
Felis margarita thinobia, known as the Turkestan sand cat, Arabian sand cat, and Pakistan sand cat, is a sand cat subspecies native to deserts in the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Pakistan and Central Asia.
The Southern African wildcat is an African wildcat subspecies native to Southern and Eastern Africa. In 2007, it was tentatively recognised as a distinct subspecies on the basis of genetic analysis. Morphological evidence indicates that the split between the African wildcat subspecies in Africa occurred in the area of Tanzania and Mozambique.
The feline tribe Acinonychini contains three genera, each with one extant species: the cougar in Puma, the jaguarundi in Herpailurus, and the cheetah in Acinonyx.