In the Scottish Highlands, where conservationists have been scrambling to save the remaining cats, six priority areas have been established. That's where groups like Scottish Wildcat Action and Wildcat Haven are focusing their efforts to save the "living embodiment of the wild, untameable Highland."
The difficulty in distinguishing between Scottish wildcats - entire research papers have been dedicated to the task - and their more common cousins may be part of the problem. Scotland's priority areas also happen to be home to cats who have long ago turned their back on civilization (or, more likely, have been shut out from civilization) and embraced the wild side.
Living alongside feral cats and barn cats has had a devastating impact on wildcats. The cats have been breeding and producing increasingly fewer Scottish offspring.
Ultimately, conservationists say, all that breeding could spell the end of the Scottish wildcat as a distinct subspecies of cat.
Then there's the modern plague they share, in part, with humans. Feline immunodeficiency virus, like HIV in humans, is a slow-acting virus that severely compromises a cat's immune system. It's common in feral cats, and has been found recently in hybrid cats in one of Scotland's wildcat priority areas.
There is no vaccine.
Save the Scottish Wildcat