While some cat breeds, such as the Abyssinian, Bengal, and Cornish rex, are notoriously quiet, other frisky felines are much more vocal. Domestic cats meow to communicate with their pet parents. A meow can be a greeting, a request for food, or a way of letting us know something has upset them. But talkative behavior isn’t limited to domestic house cats.
When the Northumberland Zoo uploaded the cutest video we’ve seen in ages of a cat chatting at mealtime, the internet went wild. Originally posted to the zoo’s TikTok page (@northumberlandzoo), Reddit user u/RightSaidJames shared it to the subreddit r/Catswhoyell, where the video of Cromarty the Scottish wildcat quickly garnered 9,000 upvotes. Let’s learn a little about Scottish wildcats before we delve into this precious video.
At first glance, the Scottish wildcat (Felis silvestris) resembles a domestic tabby cat twice the size of an ordinary house cat. In fact, many of these wildcats are actually the product of cross-mating with domestic breeds and feral cats. Scottish wildcats with spots, white fur, and broken stripes have domestic cat DNA in their lineage. The only native member of the cat family still found in Britain’s wilderness, Scottish wildcats are the modern-day descendants of European wildcats who migrated to the British Isles over 9000 years ago. Unfortunately, the Scottish wildcat is an endangered species. Estimates claim there are only between a few dozen to a few hundred of these “Highland tigers” remaining in the wild. Protecting these majestic creatures is more important now than ever.
Hunting, the loss of territory, and hybridization — cross-mating between wildcats and domestic cats — have all led to a steep decline in the Scottish wildcat population. But we also have some good news to share. Several organizations, like Wildcat Haven, have stepped up to capture, neuter, and vaccinate domestic and feral cats in order to prevent hybridization and the spread of infectious diseases. According to Paul O’Donoghue, Wildcat Haven’s chief scientific advisor, the organization has neutered close to 300 domestic and feral cats over the course of the past three to four years. Additionally, the organization is fighting to put an end to logging in Scotland’s Clashindarroch Forest, home to a group of Scottish wildcats. Thus far, over 980,000 people have signed the petition to stop loggers from decimating the wildcats’ homes.
For one Scottish wildcat named Cromarty, a brown and black stunner with bottle-green eyes, the situation is far less dire. In this viral video, Cromarty impatiently awaits his dinner, and he has quite a lot to say. And so do commenters on the Reddit thread.
One Reddit user, u/Fomulouscrunch, states, “That cat would shank me for a takeout packet of mayo. I can feel it.”
User u/studentfrombelgium is quick to defend Cromarty, adding, “That cat is wholly innocent, you must have stolen the mayo packet from him beforehand.” [sic]
User u/Im-hiding-shhh attempts to transcribe Cromarty’s warbling cries: “MA MA MA MAA MLEM MLEM MLEE AHMLE MLE MAA Aka: Feed me.”
Another user, u/zerocoldx911, references another famous talking cat: “Oh long Johnson!”
We’re thrilled to see Cromarty thrive in his new home at the Northumberland Zoo, and we hope to see more of him in the future. For more Cromarty content, you can follow the Northumberland Zoo on TikTok.
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