7 Dec 2005
This is Smudge, born 98% African Wild Cat , in Maasailand, Southern Kenya. Her parents belonged to a wonderful old Maasai katmeister called “Ole Simba” which, appropriately enough, means “Mr. Lion.” Her scientific race is Felis Lybrica Sylvestris: there are a few dozen sub-species of these cats in Africa. Closely related to Kenya’s Sokoke Cat breed. Smudge probably has a few domestic genes from the spread of feral cats into Maasai territory.
I have owned cats all my life. This is the most amazing cat I have ever known. She is exceptionally clever, with an almost simian intelligence. Her only modes are “asleep” and “alert”. Felis Lybrica eat large amounts of insects in the wild. She hunts every sort in my garden, from extraordinary distances like 25 yards away. Her eyesight is amazing. She also kills lizards, snakes, rats and loves corn. Smudge climbs trees at night and hauls birds out of their nests, and can catch flying ones by leaping like a Caracal. During the rainly season, she catches winged termites.
Exceptionally social ( was brought up surrounded by Maasai tribesmen) and loving, she nonetheless has wild cat attitude. You will get a playful nip and a swipe for various “offences”. Delights in attacking long hair, dangling feet and much else. Explores all boxes, burrows, tunnels and the like a weasel. Climbs trees like a python. Plays like lion cubs do, lots of fake gentle bites and claw extensions. I love her.