28. Disease: African wildcat
In the wild, they have little contact with other African wildcats so there is a reduced opportunity for infectious disease to spread. However some infectious organisms have evolved to be able to have an asymptomatic carrier status in cats. This is where the cat doesn’t necessarily show any outward signs of illness, but carries the organisms and can pass it on to other cats, making transmission to another cat possible even if they do not meet for long periods of time.
Lack of shelter, no guaranteed food resource, no veterinary treatment and predation all increase risk of mortality.
It is a case of ‘survival of the fittest’.
An African wildcat in its natural environmentOriginal image URL - http://www.flickr.com/photos/scorbs/4284079366/ Image author - Karen Corby, licence - CC BY-ND 2.0
Did you know that there are several potentially fatal viruses which infect cats, but tend not to kill all cats quickly? This enables a virus to survive longer because the surviving cat will carry it and pass it on to other cats that it encounters.