Cretan wildcat

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Cretan wildcat
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Felidae
Subfamily: Felinae
Genus: Felis
F. s. silvestris or Felis catus
Trinomial name
Felis silvestris silvestris or Felis catus

The Cretan wildcat is a member of the genus Felis that inhabits the Greek island of Crete. Its taxonomic status is unclear at present, as some biologists consider it probably introduced, or a European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris), or a hybrid between European wildcat and domestic cat (F. catus).[1] Felis silvestris cretensis was proposed as scientific name for the Cretan wildcat in 1953 by Theodor Haltenorth. He described two cat skins that were purchased in a bazaar in Chania and resembled a skin of an African wildcat (Felis lybica lybica), but with a bushy tail like a European wildcat.[2] In the 1980s, Colin Groves measured and assessed zoological specimens of cats that originated in the Mediterranean islands. He concluded that the two cat skins from Crete differed from true wildcat specimens and therefore considered them feral cats.[3]

Crete has been isolated from the continent for about 6 million years. Palaeontological data indicate that the island was colonised during the Pleistocene by those mammalian taxa that were able to swim across the sea. Crete’s Pleistocene endemic mammalian fauna comprised rodents and herbivores, but remains of predators were not found. Pleistocene mammals died out before the Holocene.[4] More than 9,000 animal bones were excavated at the archaeological site Kavousi Kastro in eastern Crete in the late 1980s that date to the Late Geometric period at about 8th century BC. These faunal remains also included one cat that was identified as domestic cat.[5] Fragments of a domestic cat were also found at the archaeological site Gortyn dating to the 6th to 7th century AD.[6]

In October 2017, Greek news sites circulated reports that a sheep farmer captured a wild cat after laying traps for a predator that attacked young sheep of his herd. The reports were accompanied by photographs and video footage of the captured animal.[7][8][9][10]


  1. ^ Kitchener, A. C.; Breitenmoser-Würsten, C.; Eizirik, E.; Gentry, A.; Werdelin, L.; Wilting, A.; Yamaguchi, N.; Abramov, A. V.; Christiansen, P.; Driscoll, C.; Duckworth, J. W.; Johnson, W.; Luo, S.-J.; Meijaard, E.; O’Donoghue, P.; Sanderson, J.; Seymour, K.; Bruford, M.; Groves, C.; Hoffmann, M.; Nowell, K.; Timmons, Z.; Tobe, S. (2017). "A revised taxonomy of the Felidae: The final report of the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group" (PDF). Cat News (Special Issue 11): 17−20.
  2. ^ Haltenorth, T. (1953). "Felis silvestris cretensis nom. nov.". Die Wildkatzen der Alten Welt: Eine Übersicht über die Gattung Felis [The wildcats of the Old World: An overview of the genus Felis]. Leipzig: Geest und Portig. pp. 29−31.
  3. ^ Groves, C.P. (1989). "Feral mammals of the Mediterranean islands: documents of early domestication". In Clutton-Brock, J. (ed.). The Walking Larder: Patterns of Domestication, Pastoralism, and Predation (2015 ed.). London and New York: Routledge. pp. 46–58. ISBN 9781317598381.
  4. ^ Isaakidou, V. (2005). Bones from the Labyrinth: Faunal evidence for management and consumption of animals at Neolithic and Bronze Age Knossos, Crete. Doctoral dissertation. London: University of London.
  5. ^ Klippel, W. E.; Snyder, L. M. (1991). "Dark-Age Fauna from Kavousi, Crete: The Vertebrates from the 1987 and 1988 Excavations". Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. 60 (2): 179–186. doi:10.2307/148086.
  6. ^ Wilkens, B. (2003). "Hunting and breeding in ancient Crete". Zooarchaeology In Greece: Recent Advances. 9: 85–90. JSTOR 40960335.
  7. ^ "Πιάστηκε Φουρόγατος στον Ομαλό; - Συναγερμός στους επιστήμονες (φωτο)".
  8. ^ "Αυτός είναι ο 'μυθικός' φουρόγατος που εντοπίστηκε στα Λευκά Όρη".
  9. ^ Χανιώτικα Νέα (18 October 2017). "Φουρόγατος στα Λευκά Όρη;" – via YouTube.
  10. ^ Sarantos Nikos (18 October 2017). "Δείτε τον εξαφανισμένο Αγριόγατο - Φουρόγατο της Κρήτης, που προσπαθεί να δραπετεύσει." – via YouTube.