The wild cat was once common over most of the British Isles, but it is now only found in Scotland and is under threat with an estimated 400 individuals remaining.


Wild Cats and Humans

The wild cat once lived over all of Britain, except Ireland, as well as Europe. As forests were felled over the centuries it was forced to live in the more remote areas.

Thousands of wild cats were killed in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by gamekeepers protecting the high populations of grouse, partridges and pheasant that were bred on shooting estates.

Fortunately for the wild cat, attitudes to wildlife have changed and today it is looked upon as a useful and attractive animal rather than vermin, and it is protected in many areas.

Since the 1920s wild cats have been spreading slowly again, although interbreeding with feral cats has probably artificially increased their numbers. An extension in Scotland's coniferous forests may have helped the wild cat to recover.

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