There have been reports of an unidentified species of wildcat from Pennsylvania. It has been described as having a long tail, but is otherwise rather like a European wildcat, with stripes on its body and a thick, striped tail. Reports were made from Bucks County, Snyder County and Fayette County. There is a possibility that the species has existed in New York and Illinois. It is sometimes called the Tinicum cat, as a specimen was shot near Tinicum. In Illinois cats of a similar nature are called timber cats or wood cats.
A report of the killing of a specimen in 1862 denies strongly that the cat was a feral domestic. Kills were reported in 1920 and 1922. One was trapped and kept in captivity near Wharton (Potter County) in 1951. The last killing was recorded in 1955. Does this mean they are extinct?
While the species would seem to be undoubtedly native to America, the suggestion has been bruited that they are descendants of European wildcats brought over by immigrants. However, the European wildcat is a decidedly intractable animal and I would consider this possibility unlikely.
Above you see a picture of the Scottish wildcat, a subspecies of the European wildcat.
Sunday, 11 October 2015
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