The African wild cat resembles a tabby except for its larger size, longer legs, shorter tail and a distinct gait, as well as a characteristic rufous colouring on the backs of the ears. They are shy and mostly nocturnal. They are adept tree-climbers, and mice and small birds are their favoured prey.
They stalk their prey before pouncing, lick their fur into shape, wash their face with their forepaws and sharpen their claws on tree trunks. They also have similar vocalizations to a domestic cat: they mew, purr, hiss and spit, but with greater noise.
Litters of two to five, averaging three, are born during summer from September to March, in the disused burrows of other animals.
The African Wild Cat is almost certainly an ancestor of the European domestic cat: it is larger than the household cat, with longer legs. It interbreeds with the domestic cat when near human settlements, with the result that pure-bred African wild cats are no longer very easy to find in these areas.