Wildcats originated from the subtropical climates of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland. They adapted naturally to these cold climates and many of them are still found in areas where the temperatures remain cold year round. The arctic wildcat is gray or brown with a tufted back. The cat’s body shape is that of a small cat with a long tail and large paws. It has short hair and webbed feet.
A variety of subspecies exist in the wilds of North America and their conservation status varies among them. There are several subspecies: Kitavan, Mexican, Inuit, Polar, Russian, and Thuluthi. Among the arctic cats the most popular one is the arctic fallow (also known as the white cat). This cat has a thick coat, which is light colored and brownish gray with hints of white and gray in it. The head of this cat is wide and sweet with a broad whisker.
Arctic Cat Wildcat
The arctic mink is similar in looks to the wildcat in that it is also medium sized with a coarse coat which is glossy. The head and body are rounded with a long body and tail. Its ears are tipped by black ear tufts. Its forehead is a bit higher than its back.
The arctic fox is a small wildcat which is dark haired and light colored. It has dark eyes and an undercoated body – much like a bobcat – except that it lacks a tail. Fur is short and silky with silvery gray coloration. Head is triangular and oval in shape with a long pointed nose and dark colored ears.
The arctic foxes are the third largest subspecies in North America. They are nearly as small as the fox – which is their ancestor – and they are said to be in the same family. Though their name is somewhat misleading since these cats look more like bobcats than wildcats. The Bobcat is the only wildcat that is in the genus Thynbolius, the only one of the nine subspecies in the cat family that is not a true wildcat. Thysanura, a species of cat in this genus, is the ancestor of today’s domestic cat, the Bobcat.
Features Of Arctic Fox
Other features peculiarities of this breed are large paws – which are longer than wide – rounded tails, short foreheads, thick fur, short muzzles and tufts of hair around the ears. Its recent history is largely a matter of guesswork, since it is still poorly understood. One story suggests that it may have been introduced from a Russian shipwreck to the New World about fifty years ago.
The arctic fox has many natural habitats across three continents, but it is the only one of them with a permanent human population. In the southern hemisphere, it lives in the high arctic, where temperatures can remain extreme for long periods of time – up to about 40 days. It also lives in central Asia, central Africa, south America, the islands of the South Pacific and some parts of Australia.
Information on the elusive and largely unseeable wildcat is scarce. There is very little information available on its behavior, habitat, breeding and diet. It is thought to exist in a number of scattered territories across the range of thectic fox, in some isolated islands and in the tundra. Though few cats in this range have come in contact with humans, there is evidence of predation on seals, birds, fish and caribou.
More About Arctic Cat Wildcat
Though the arctic cat is considered a rare species, there are a few of them in existence. There is an arctic bobtail, which is the smallest wildcat of its kind, with a body length of just under two feet. A bright yellowish brown cat, it is blackened when fur is stripped off. Other lighter colored cats are white or silver with dark colored fur.
This cat is seldom seen in the wild, except in arctic parks where they tend to live in large colonies. They hunt using their excellent sense of smell – they can even follow scents of prey miles away. A male arctic cat will pursue a rabbit or any other small animal up to its death. The young will follow anywhere within a few miles, so they can quickly catch a glimpse of a potential predator. Once they are mature, they will move into their territory and establish a new home in a sheltered spot.
Their small size means that they must walk a great deal. But they have unusually good hearing and sight – enabling them to easily spot prey even in winter. Their coarse hair, a long body, and a bushy tail facilitate this job. Even after a year has passed, a cat of this breed will seldom be seen outside its arctic home. In fact, it may live up to ten years in captivity.