Have you ever stopped to wonder where modern domesticated cats came from? Surely there was once a wild variety that was something smaller than a lynx or bobcat? The Scottish Wildcat is one remaining species of the wildcats that used to roam the world before they became domesticated and joined us on our journey. Scottish Wildcat Day celebrates this species and raises awareness about the dangers facing the remaining populations in the wild.
History of Scottish Wildcat Day
The Highland Tiger has been roaming those lands since time immemorial, in fact, when it first appeared on Scotland it was clear that it had crossed the land bridge from Europe to the British Isles. As the lands became more civilized and man began competing for the wild game birds that live there, they also began killing off the native population of the Scottish Wildcat. They’re a beautiful and iconic part of Scotland, but they’re slowly disappearing. Every year they face threats that dwindle their numbers, from predation to being bred out by domesticated species.
In 1981 Scotland recognized the dangers its native wildcat was in and took strides to help protect it under the United Kingdom’s Wildlife and Countryside Act. In spite of their efforts, it’s unlikely that truly pure wildcats remain thanks to hybridization. Unfortunately, that’s not the only threat that domesticated cats pose to wildcats, their intermingling also brings disease to them, including feline calicivirus and the fatal feline leukemia virus. Scottish Wildcat Day reminds us of the importance of protecting species like this, that have a long and august history but are slowly dwindling from the world.
How to Celebrate Scottish Wildcat Day
Work continues every day to help protect the Scottish Wildcat, and donations are of course always welcome at those organizations that fight the good fight. If you happen to live in Scotland, or even if you don’t, you may consider turning your cat into a “Supercat”! Supercats are vaccinated, neutered, and micro-chipped. This helps to protect the Scottish Wildcat from disease and hybridization, and in those countries that don’t have Scottish Wildcats, it ensures that there is a reduction in feral cats overall, and that’s good for everyone! Scottish Wildcat Day is your opportunity to help protect this important creature, as well as reduce feral kittens everywhere!