13. Avoiding stress and conflict: African wildcat

African wildcats lack complex social signals that help them to avoid conflict, such as visual and auditory communication, to avoid conflict. Instead they rely on the use of scent profiles.

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As solitary animals, cats are self-reliant and therefore need to avoid injury in order to survive. They would much rather avoid conflict by running, climbing or hiding than staying to fight when confronted. This includes being confronted by humans.

Stressed or fearful cats generally only show aggressive behaviour if they have no other option.

On the next page we will compare the African wildcat's natural habitat, which can be seen in the video and the photo below, with the habitat of today's domestic cat.

African wildcat hiding in a tree

They are a small predator so they run, hide, climb – they tend to use flight rather than fight

Original image URL - http://www.flickr.com/photos/geckozo/1252834070/ Image author - geckozo (no real name given) , licence - CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Video: African wildcats in their natural habitat (this video has not been created by Cats Protection). Video author - Katja Soehngen, licence granted by the author to Cats Protection

The African Savannah

African wildcats use long-lasting scent messages to communicate with other cats remotely, which helps them to avoid contact and therefore potential conflict.

Original image URL - http://www.flickr.com/photos/onlyinsouthafrica/3034423424/ Image author - Pascal Parent (no real name given), licence - CC BY-NC-ND 2.0