The Wildcat is a small cat that it native to Africa, Europe and Southwest Asia. There are many different types, all with different coloured fur and different patterns.
Wildcats were fist hunted for their fur around 2000 years ago, around the time that the United Kingdom was being invaded by the Romans. The Romans felt that Wildcat fur was highly valuable and around this time, animals such as Lynx were pushed to almost extinction. For some reason however, although the wildcats were hunted frequently and in large amounts, they managed to evade extinction.
During the Middle Ages, around 500 years ago, the population of Wildcats began to decline. This was partly because of the fact that they were still hunted for their fur, but many other factors as well. Because of the Agricultural and Industrial revolutions, the woodland and natural resources rapidly disappeared. Wildcats were persecuted because of the fact they ate valuable game and were apparently vicious. Killing Wildcats became a full time job for some people and the amount killed peaked in the Victorian Era. The skins were used frequently as a symbol of status and wealth.
By 1988, Wildcats were protected in the UK, making it illegal to hunt them. The population reached a steady number.
Properties of Wildcats
- Difficult to dye
- Unattractive fur
- Highly susceptible to singeing
- Sometimes made to imitate Sealskin
- Not very valuable
- Thick and Dense Fur
- Warm to wear
- Every hide is unique in colour and pattern
Uses of Wildcats in Fashion Past and Present
- Not very attractive so mainly used to make cheaper hats, scarves, mittens and muffs
- Imitation Sealskin
- Used in the Roman times for clothing
- Smaller pelts so used mainly for collars, trims and decorations
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