Caucasian Black

Mystery c at of West Asia.

Scientific name: Felis daemon, given by K. A. Satunin in 1904.

Physical description: Length, 22—30 inches. Black with a reddish tinge to reddish-brown. Thin scattering of white hairs all over. Lighter below. Black stripes on the flanks. Tail, 13-15 inches long.

Distribution: Armenia and Azerbaijan, south of the Caucasus Mountains.

Significant sighting: Described by K. A. Satunin on the basis of two mounted specimens, skins, and skulls in the Leningrad Academy of Sciences.

Present status: No recent reports. Possible explanations:

(1) Melanistic morph of the Caucasian wildcat (Felis silvestris caucasica).

(2) Feral Domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus), according to S. I. Ognev and Reginald Pocock.

(3) Feral cat x Caucasian wildcat hybrid, suggested by Karl Shuker. Possibly similar to the Kellas Cat of Scotland.

Sources: Konstantin A. Satunin, "The Black Wild Cat of Transcaucasia," Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 1904, pp. 163-164; F. B. Aliev, "The Caucasian Black Cat, Felis silvestris caucasica Satunin 1905," Säugetierkundliche Mitteilungen 22 (1973): 142-145; Karl Shuker, Mystery Cats ofthe World (London: Robert Hale, 1989), pp. 80-82.

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