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Which species of cat is the ancestor of the domestic cat?

Near Eastern Wildcat


The domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) is a descendant of the Near Eastern Wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica). Recent genetic studies indicate that there are five subspecies of Wildcat:

- European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris)
- Near Eastern Wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica)
- Southern African Wildcat (Felis silvestris cafra)
- Central Asian Wildcat (Felis silvestris ornata)
- Chinese Mountain/Desert Cat (Felis silvestris bieti)

The Chinese Desert Cat is also known as Felis bieti and was previously thought to be a separate species. This new classification hasn't yet taken hold and may still be the subject of some debate.

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