Is Felis Catus un-domesticating itself?

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Whipstick_Phantom
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Is Felis Catus un-domesticating itself?

Unread post by Whipstick_Phantom » Tue Mar 02, 2021 10:57 pm

Clunky title, but it about sums up my thoughts. A lot of people assume (for some good reasons) that the big cats here in the bush are a true big cat of some sort.

But the cat Kurt Engel (I hope I spelt that correctly) shot, which was clearly very large, with a tail approx 79cm long. It was DNA tested and the results came back as Felis Catus, the domestic cat. So a regular old house cat genetically, but pretty well on par with a medium puma for size. Now F. Catus is not supposed to have the genetic ability to get much larger than what we see in species such as maine coons.

Yet clearly they do. Much larger.

Domestic cats have, I assume, been here since the first fleet came over. Considering a healthy female housecat can have up to 5 litters per year, that is approximately 1165 generations of F. Catus breeding in the Aussie bush, adapting to better suit our conditions as opposed to the conditions they were used to in England and much of Europe.

Now we know cats as a general group can evolve quite large to fill certain ecological niches. Here in Australia, by the time domestic cats arrived, there were no land predators (read: competition) bigger and more of a threat to a cats survival than the dingo. At least that we conclusively know of. So would it not make sense for these cats, over a thousand generations or more, to start growing large enough to out compete their biggest rival?

The need is there for them to grow larger, and so, I believe, is the precedent.
Early Asian cats migrating to North America grew larger than their ancestors to compete with huge bears and other megafauna millions of years ago. And I'm not talking about pumas. The evolutionary product I speak of is the now extinct North American cave lion.

It would make the sheer amount of large 'Jet black' cats seen make a lot more sense. Only one in 300 mountain lions is melanistic, on average. On the other hand, black is THE single most common coat colour for a domestic cat.

I myself tend to lean towards the opinion of most (probably not all) big cat sightings being exactly what most critics and skeptics say they are. Overgrown feral cats.

Except much, much larger than what is currently understood to be possible for F. Catus.

Just my 2 cents and a theory that I've been mulling over for a while.

What do you all think?

Whipstick_Phantom
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Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2021 4:27 pm

Re: Is Felis Catus un-domesticating itself?

Unread post by Whipstick_Phantom » Tue Mar 02, 2021 10:58 pm

*70cm sorry, not 79cm. I should really proofread before posting things but I get too excited to share my ideas :lol:

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