Lookout for 'wildcats' at Glen Tanar!

22nd January 2020

A Scottish ‘wildcat’ is now a regular visitor to The Lookout at Glen Tanar! But what defines a Scottish wildcat?...

Wildcat 1 Andy Hayes
Photograph - Andy S Hayes

Due to inter-breeding with domestic cats there are very few, if any, pure Scottish wildcats. The definition of a wildcat is quite complicated.

Some believe that a wildcat can be defined as much by where and how it lives over what it looks like. While others believe that a wildcat must conform to a prescribed pelage (fur pattern). Those who think this state that any cat that does not meet this standard is deemed a hybrid.

By this definition our cat is a hybrid as …

  • More than 25% of its stripes are broken.
  • It has spots on its flank.
  • It bears intermediate nape and shoulder stripes.
  • It has unclear tail bands.
  • Its tail tip is dissimilar to a ‘pure’ wildcat.
Wildcat 2 Andy Hayes
Photograph - Andy S Hayes

Having said this, there is no hard and fast comparison between these pelage scores and genetic scores so without a blood test - which we haven’t done - we cannot define this cat with 100% certainty.

However, one thing is for sure … based on this cat’s behaviour, and the fact no one has ever set eyes on it (except at The Lookout), it is absolutely wild! If we told it that it wasn’t wild, we are sure it would be rather insulted!

In any case it’s likely to be as wild a cat as you’ll get in Scotland nowadays. What’s your view?

Wildcat 3 Andy Hayes
Photograph - Andy S Hayes
The Lookout

Find out more about Glen Tanar's wildlife watching hide 'The Lookout'