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Wildkatze MGH.jpg
Wildcat, Felis silvestris
Scientific classification

Linnaeus, 1758
Felis range.png
Felis range

Felis is a genus of small cats in the family Felidae. They include the familiar domestic cat and its closest wild relatives. The wild species are found in Europe, southern and central Asia, and Africa. The domestic cat, which may have its origin in North Africa, is now worldwide.

Members of the genus Felis are all small felines, rather similar to the domestic cat. The smallest species is the sand cat, which may be less than 40 centimetres (16 in) in length, while the largest is the jungle cat, which can reach 94 centimetres (37 in). They live in many habitats: forests, grassland, swampland and deserts. They mostly feed on small rodents, supplementing their diet with birds and other small animals, depending on their local environment.

Genetic studies indicate that the genus Felis first evolved around eight to ten million years ago, probably in the Mediterranean region.[1]

Species[change | change source]

The genus Felis is currently considered to consist of six living species, although the domestic cat and Chinese mountain cat are sometimes considered subspecies of F. silvestris.

Other small cats[change | change source]

Small cats are those smaller than the cheetah. These are small cats classified under other genera than Felis:

References[change | change source]

  1. Pecon-Slattery, J. and O'Brien, S.J. (1998). "Patterns of Y and X chromosome DNA sequence divergence during the Felidae radiation". Genetics. 148 (3): 1245–1255. PMC 1460026. PMID 9539439.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-08-10. Retrieved 2012-07-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)