The African Wildcat is sandy brown to yellow grey in colour, with black stripes on the tail. The fur is shorter than that of the European subspecies. It is also considerably smaller, being only slightly larger than a domestic cat.
Today’s domestic cats are generally believed to be descendants of the African Wildcat, which were tamed by the Egyptians over 4000 years ago to control rats and mice raiding their granaries. Apart from the obvious difference in their ear coloration and the longer legs, the African Wildcat is easily mistaken for a domestic cat. Interbreeding is possible as they are so closely related to domestic cats. Pure genetic African Wildcat are quite rare and only found in remote areas as elsewhere interbreeding with domestic cats has taken place.
Pure genetic stock of the African Wildcat is today only found in the remote savannahs and Bushlands of Africa (and the Middle East). Elsewhere interbreeding with domestic cats has taken place. The African Wildcat is generally solitary except when mating, or when the female is raising kittens. Both males and females establish territories which
they mark and defend.
African Wildcat are nocturnal in the warm weather and diurnal during very cold weather. Wild cats are preyed upon as young cats by larger predators, such as foxes, wolves, other cats, and large birds of prey, such as owls, eagles and hawks. African Wildcat are fierce when threatened and can protect themselves from animals larger than themselves.