FELIS SILVESTRIS LIBYCA
All of the world’s approximate 600 million domesticated cats belonging to approximately 40 different breeds are descendants of the Near Eastern Wildcat, also known as the African Wildcat or Felis Silvestris Libyca.
The 37 species of cats living today belong to the family Felidae and are divided into three main subfamilies: Panthera, Acinonychinae and Felinae. The cat subfamily Panthera originated around 5 million years ago and includes cats that roar: lions, tigers, leopards and jaguars; while the subfamily Acinonychinae only includes cheetahs. The final subfamily, Felinae, comprises the majority of cats, including the domestic, and appeared about 1 million years ago. Each cat has two names: the first for the genus and the second its own. For example, in the name Felis Catus, Felis is for the group genus and Catus is the individual’s name, meaning Domestic.
† See Appendices for Cat Family Genealogy