European Wildcat - Felis Lineage
Felis silvestris grampia at the British Wildlife Centre by Peter Trimming [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Recently the Wildcat (Felis silvestris) has been reclassified into two species - the forest wildcats of Europe (Felis silvestris), known as the European Wildcat, and the bush and steppe wildcats of Africa and Asia (Felis lybica), known as the African Wildcat and Asian Wildcat.

As the Wildcat species/subspecies are genetically very similar to domestic cats, they can easily interbreed and unfortunately hybridization is becoming a serious threat to purebred Wildcat populations.

Felis Lineage

1. Jungle Cat (Felis chaus)

2. Chinese Mountain Cat (Felis bieti)

3. European Wildcat (Felis silvestris)

4. Afro-Asiatic Wildcat (Felis lybica)

5. Sand Cat (Felis margarita)

6. Black-footed Cat (Felis nigripes)

Key Facts about European Wildcats

~ Forest habitat ~

~ Breeds with domestic cats ~

~ Only wild cat in Britain ~

European Wildcat (Felis silvestris) Classification

European Wildcats belong to the genus Felis and the full taxonomy or scientific classification of the European Wildcat species is:

Kingdom: Animalia (animals)

Phylum: Chordata (vertebrates)

Class: Mammalia (mammals)

Order: Carnivora (carnivores)

Suborder: Feliformia (cat-like)

Family: Felidae (cats)

Subfamily: Felinae (small cats)

Genus: Felis

Species: Felis silvestris (European Wildcat)


F.s. silvestris

F.s. caucasica

The scientific name for the European Wildcat is Felis silvestris which is also known as the binomial name, species name, latin name, biological name or zoological name. Some use the term 'botanical name' however that term is only applicable to the plant kingdom (botany) and not the animal kingdom (zoology).

European Wildcat (Felis silvestris) Classification Chart
Click chart to download.
Permission to use for personal or educational use.

European Wildcat (Felis silvestris) Subspecies

Many subspecies of the European Wildcat have been recognized in the past, however the last Felidae taxonomy revision in 2017 proposed two subspecies:

1. Felis silvestris silvestris - Europe, including Scotland, Sicily and Crete

2. Felis silvestris caucasica - Caucasus, Turkey

European Wildcat (Felis silvestris) Research

Here is a list of papers published on European Wildcats. Click on the title bar to view the abstract and the link to the article.

View more articles on Felis silvestris in the IUCN Cat Specialist Group database (scroll down once the library page is loaded to see the list).

Consider joining the Friends of the Cat Specialist Group to access the full articles and receive their journal Cat News covering the latest wild cat research.

European Wildcat Conservation

The global conservation status for the European Wildcat is Least Concern (LC) due to the wide range and estimated numbers. However it is extremely difficult to estimate numbers due to interbreeding with domestic and feral cats.

The following organizations are involved with European Wildcat conservation and research:

Save the Scottish Wildcat - Scotland, UK

European Wildcat survey - Switzerland

Please support these organizations with their important work if you can. No matter the size of your contribution, every bit helps!

European Wildcat Facts and Information

The following organizations have well researched and authoritative information on European Wildcats.

Some websites may still group all three of the Wildcats together - African, Asiatic and European.

If you find this website useful, please consider a small contribution of $5 so I can continue to keep it updated. Thank you, Mandy 🙂