The African wild cat is sandy brown to yellow grey in colour, with black stripes on the tail. The fur is shorter than that of the European subspecies and it is also considerably smaller.

Today's domestic cats are generally believed to be descendants of the African Wild Cat, which were tamed by the Egyptians over 4000 years ago to control rats and mice raiding their granaries. Apart from the obvious difference in their ear coloration and the longer legs, the African Wild Cat is easily mistaken for a domestic cat. Interbreeding is possible as they are so closely related to domestic cats. Pure genetic African Wild Cats are quite rare and only found in remote areas as elsewhere interbreeding with domestic cats has taken place.

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