Wildcats in the TIERART Wild Animal Sanctuary

Wildcats Emma & Paul

Wild kittens become wild cats


Emma and Paul arrived at TIERART Wild Animal Sanctuary in November 2014. Both had previously been intensively cared for over a period of several months by a veterinarian who is an expert on European wild cats.

The two wildcats are not siblings, they were each independently found severely injured and more dead than alive when they were very small. Fortunately, they both recovered very well and were able to move into a large outdoor enclosure together at TIERART.

European wild cats Emma & Paul at TIERART

The untamable

As a rule, wildcats will never be able to become tame. Even as young kittens, they hiss, scratch, spit and bite if you try to touch them.

With Emma and Paul, however, the long and intensive care had led to them becoming very people-oriented. For a long time they even came and tried to cuddle and play with the keepers when they entered the enclosure. A reintroduction seemed to us therefore at first not possible, because we had to fear that the two would seek the proximity to humans. We thought that they might end up being brought to the animal shelter as supposedly 'stray domestic cats'. We wanted to protect the wildcats from this stress.

Back into the wild

Over time, however, they increasingly weaned themselves from us and hid during the day. In the summer of 2016, Emma and Paul could finally be released back into the wild.

Facts about wildcats

  • We come from: About half of the German wild cat population lives in the forests of Rhineland-Palatinate
  • Our favorite food: mice
  • We are: untamable. Even when we grow up in human care, we never completely lose our shyness.
  • This is what the keepers say about us: Raising wildcats is very costly and difficult. The animals are extremely sensitive to stress, susceptible to diseases, and absolutely must be fed a species-appropriate diet. They get about 80% mice and 20% high-quality meat.