Not to be confused with "wild cat" as a general term for non-domesticated felines, or the occasional American use of "wildcat" to mean a lynx, cougar, or bobcat -- this "wildcat" is Felis silvestris (or sylvestris) and is the wild species from which the Sylvestris lybica cattus (common domesticated cat) descends. They are found throughout much of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and there are at least twenty subspecies which inhabit specific locations and have different coat colors and other small differences. Many of the subspecies have interbred with escaped domestic cats, which are most likely the direct descendants of the African wild cat (Felis silvestris libyca), obscuring the original relationships between subspecies. Wildcats are generally slightly bigger than domestic cats, but they are similar enough that wildcat embryos can be implanted in the uterus of a domestic cat and be born normally.

A few subspecies:

Felis silvestris silvestris
A scientific name given to European wildcats in general, which vary widely in chosen habitat. Scottish wildcats like the heath and the rocky outcroppings; German wildcats like coniferous forests while those in the Caucasus Mountains prefer broadleaf forests. Their tails are bushier and more blunt-ended than those of domestic cats.
Felis silvestris ornata
The Indian desert cat, which lives in the semi-deserts and steppes of southwestern Asia into India. Asian breeds of domestic cat are thought to have some of this strain in them too. These cats are usually a blotchy light brown to blend in with their surroundings, and have slight ear tufts of hair.
Felis silvestris gordoni
The Arabian desert cat is nearly extinct in the wild due to interbreeding with domestic cats. In 1986, a breeding program was started with a captive-raised male and a wild-caught female in Abu Dhabi and four cats each were sent to programs in Germany and California.
Felis silvestris libyca
The African wild cat, probably first domesticated by Egyptians more than 4000 years ago, still survives in the remoter sub-Saharan parts of Africa, living on small mammals and insects. It usually looks like a pale striped tabby, and villagers still adopt wild kittens to control pests.

A Canadian beer that is very popular among snowboarders due to its low price, high alcohol content (6.1%) and macho image. Tough guys drink Wildcat. The taste is unique, it's good to drink cold, warm it's disgusting.

Another good Canadian beer is Bull Max.

A super-hero created by Bill Finger and Irwin Hasen for DC Comics. Wildcat first appeared in Sensation Comics #1 in January 1942.

Wildcat was the costumed identity of Ted Grant. Grant was a college student until the death of his father left him with no means of finishing his education. Out of school and with no job, Grant happened one night upon a mugging and fought off the muggers. The victim was a boxer named "Socker" Smith who in gratitude offered to teach Grant to Box. Under Smith's tutelage, Grant began a boxing career, being managed by two men named Flint and Skinner. Grant eventually rose to the title of heavyweight champion without ever having lost a fight.

Grant soon found that his managers were on the take and set up a title fight against Grant's former teacher Smith. To ensure that Grant won the fight, the two put a needle in Grant's glove which would inject Smith with a sedative and help Grant win the fight. Unfortunately, though decent boxing managers, Flint and Skinner knew nothing of drug doses and caused Smith to be injected with too much of the sedative killing him. Grant was charged with murder in the case. Flint and Skinner attempted to silence Grant and ran the police car transporting Grant off the road, killing the two policemen and framing Grant for the crime.

Grant wandered the streets for a time, until he was told of the adventures of the Green Lantern by a young boy and how he fought crime. Grant was inspired to create for himself a costumed identity and called himself Wildcat. Creating a costume, he tracked down Flint and Skinner and forced them to confess, clearing his name. He then continued fighting crime as Wildcat. He became a member of the All-Star Squadron for a time and continued adventuring for many years. During the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Grant was struck by a stray bolt of lightning shattering his legs. He was believed to be crippled for life, but eventually recovered.

For a time, a super-powered woman named Yolanda Montez fought under the name Wildcat. She had feline-like powers including claws and heightened agility. She was killed by the villain Eclipso after a short career.

In the oil industry, "wildcat" is a jargon word for an exploratory oil rig that works far ahead of the main fleet. They're the mobile frontier units, which scout into unproven territory looking for new hydrocarbon deposits to tap. It's somewhat of a blanket term, including everything from offshore semi-submersible platforms to desert drilling rigs.

Supposedly, the name itself originated from West Texas drill teams in the 1920s. American wildcats (cougars, that is) happened to be prevalent in the area where they were putting in exploratory wells, and some of the mean kitties that ventured too close to the camp were plugged and hung from the oil derricks.

Even today, some wildcat rigs have actual wild cats (cougars, tigers, etc) painted on their hulls for identification.

Wildcats are typically run by a self-contained gang of workers-- by necessity, since their drilling domain is, by definition, way the hell out in the middle of BFE. Wildcat crews have a reputation for being incredibly tough nuts, working murderous shifts, 12-hours-on/12-hours-off, 7 days a week, often for months at a time. Offshore rigs usually house between 40 and 60 crewmembers. I've read that land-based wildcats have been known to operate with as few as 10 or 20.

(Just for point of reference, the sci-fi movie The Abyss takes place on a fictional wildcat submersible called the Deepcore II.)

The third oldest roller coaster at Cedar Point, built in 1970. It's tiny: less than 2,000 feet long, with lift hills less than 50 feet high. Nevertheless, it's a lot of fun, mostly because the "trains" are tiny, too (so small, in fact, that they cannot be considered trains; each car has space for only 4 riders, and is not linked to any other. Additionally, true to the 1970s, each car is painted as, well, a car. If I remember correctly, there's even a fake steering wheel in the front.)

In roller coasters with long trains, speed is picked up (and gotten rid of) gradually, because when the first car begins to slide down the slope the last car is still on the other side of this hill, chugging upwards. On the Wildcat, speed is gathered quickly, and this more makes up for the relative smallness of the hills.

(Of course, some people can't tolerate the intolerably jarring stop at the end; the excess 15 mph of speed is discarded in about a quarter of a second.)

Verbatim from the Cedar Point website:

Track Length: 1,837 feet
Lift Heights: 50 feet
Over-all Dimensions: 215 feet long, 72 feet wide
Time: Approximately 1 minutes, 25 seconds
Coaches: Seven four-passenger cars
Ride Capacity: Approximately 900 riders per hour

"Wildcat" is a term used by amateur ammunition reloaders to signify some sort of either experimental nature or enhancement that is the result of any number of ammunition manufacturing processes. Typically, wildcatting is only done with brass cartridges and this means it is done with pistol and rifle ammunition and not shotshells. That said, typically a wildcat cartridge is for a rifle and not a pistol. This is not to say that wildcat pistol rounds do not exist as they certainly do. One such example is the .38 Super, which was based on the .38 ACP.

Wildcatting of cartridges is done for any number of reasons. Some people, perhaps defective in character, like to have their name attached to a specific cartridge that is "faster, whiter and brighter"; some people wildcat a cartridge because they believe they can make a better ballistic device and some people like to tinker for its own sake. Whatever the reason, just such a cartridge and person are both called a wildcat or wildcatter, respectively.

At any rate, the reason shotgun shells are not typically developed into wildcats is because shotguns are not usually able to withstand pressures that a rifle or pistol can typically handle; they aren't subject to much room in experimentation as a result. This is not directly due to the materials used; rather, it is both because of the design of the modern day shotgun and the steel used to construct said. Since shotguns are not designed to withstand high chamber pressures, they can explode if the shell goes beyond the pressure (measured in PSI) that it was made to accept (say, 11,500 PSI), or the level of pressure to which the gun is "proofed." The modern rifle and pistol are manufactured to higher pressure tolerances because their ammunition requires higher working pressures (say, 30-50,000 PSI) and their internal designs and materials are selected accordingly.

Wildcat rounds are manufactured from brass that is already commercially available, however archaic the original cartridge may or may not be. Some of the processes used to create a new wildcat include, but are not limited to, flaring out the neck, reducing the angle on the shoulder, increasing the angle of the shoulder, trimming the cartridge to a new size and performing any of the above steps together. Then, there is the ballistic testing and questions to be answered — how accurate, how fast, what is happening to the brass during the firing sequence, are the primers popping out showing too much pressure, do the cases separate? Notes are taken. The whole process can take as long as years and as short as months. It just depends on the steps required to prepare the brass in addition to the field testing that must be performed to gauge success. In the end, a wildcat must change the cartridge in such a way as to give it unique properties unto itself.

Occasionally, the big ammunition manufacturers (Federal, Remington and Winchester) will take note of an excellent wildcat and begin to commercially produce it. One such case is the .22-250 Remington. When this occurs, the round is no longer considered a wildcat.

The wildcat is a formation in American football that has recently become extremely popular in both the college and NFL games. Essentially a variation of the single-wing formation utilizing a zone blocking scheme, it is designed to present the defense with a terrifying array of potential plays to defend against, as well as to equalize the normal 10-on-11 offense-to-defense disadvantage by removing the quarterback from the play and making it a straight up 11-on-11.

The wildcat is particularly exciting for fans because it is so unpredictable, and also because often features odd alignments such as a running back or receiver lining up behind center with the team's usual quarterback split out as a wide receiver or sometimes off of the field entirely.


How it works

The standard wildcat formation looks like this:



      WR1        LT  LG  C  RG  RT  TE        WR2      WR3
                                  WB


                         HB

As you can see, it is an unbalanced single-wing formation featuring a blocking wingback lined up behind a single tight end with an empty backfield other than a halfback who receives the snap out of the shotgun. The signature feature of the wildcat that makes it the wildcat and not some other type of play is that wide receiver 1 goes in motion before the play, running what appears to be a jet sweep, so when the ball is snapped, the offense looks something like this...

                                              WR2      WR3
                                               |        |
                                               |        |
                                               |        |
                       LG  C  RG  RT TE        |        |
                    LT /  /   /   /  /   WB    |        |
        \           /                ----/
         \
          -------------WR1
                          HB

In a standard jet sweep, the halfback would simply hand the ball off to the sweeper and watch the play unfold, acting like a normal quarterback. But what makes the wildcat different is that the player inserted at halfback is a legitimate threat to run the ball himself, typically a running back or a speedy receiver. Thus he has the option to hand the ball off to the sweeper, but he may also opt to fake the handoff and run the ball himself. He could either run to the right, following the blockers to the strong side, or he could run the ball left, attempting to catch the defense off guard by running to a place where nobody is. Lastly, the halfback can also simply pass the ball to wide receivers 2 or 3, who will necessarily be in single man-to-man coverage or possibly even uncovered if the defense bites on the run fake.

The wildcat can be devastating because the the halfback can literally do anything he wants. He can hand it off, run in any direction, or pass the ball. The only reason the wildcat is not run all the time is that to be most successful, it requires the halfback to be an extremely rare double threat player who can both run well and pass well. If the halfback is not a true passing threat, the defense can simply key in on stopping the run and the wildcat will not work out too well.


History

Although the formation has any number of possible antecedents dating back to the earliest days of football, the wildcat as we know it today first began to appear in high school games in the 1990s. The name "wildcat" comes from an article by longtime high school football coach Hugh Wyatt, published in Scholastic Coach and Athletic Director magazine in 1998, in which he described a version of this formation he used while coaching the La Center (WA) High School Wildcats. Following the publication of this article, the formation was widely adopted by high school coaches across the nation.

The wildcat was first popularized at the collegiate level in the mid-2000s by the Arkansas Razorbacks, particularly under offensive coordinator David Lee, who used it extensively in 2006 and 2007 to take advantage of the varied talents of running back Darren McFadden. Other schools quickly began featuring the formation in their own offenses thereafter.

Meanwhile, in a December 24, 2006 NFL game between the Carolina Panthers and the Atlanta Falcons the Panthers, due to injuries to their quarterbacks, used a wildcat formation for the entire game, playing without a quarterback and snapping the ball directly to running back DeAngelo Williams. This scheme was devised by the Panther's offensive coordinator Dan Henning.

As chance would have it, the 2008 Miami Dolphins' coaching staff brought together both quarterbacks coach David Lee, who had run the wildcat scheme at Arkansas, and Dan Henning, who had used it with the Panthers. In the third game of the season, on September 21, 2008, the Dolphins stunned the mighty New England Patriots by suddenly unveiling the wildcat and using it to score 5 touchdowns, producing a shocking 38-13 upset victory that ended the Patriots' 21-game regular season winning streak and demonstrated that the wildcat is virtually impossible to stop if a defense has not prepared extensively beforehand on how to beat it.

For the next season and a half, wildcat plays ran roughshod over NFL defenses, becoming a wildly popular set across the league, and even producing a rule change in Canadian football to allow the play starting in 2009. However, defenses soon caught on, incorporating anti-wildcat drills into their practices, and by the 2010-11 NFL season the wildcat had become markedly less effective in NFL games.

The main problem was that true double threat players are just as rare in the NFL as they are in college or high school, and defenses quickly learned to bite hard on the run and dare the ball handler to pass. While the wildcat is definitely here to stay, it is increasingly reserved for unusual players such as Tim Tebow who can both run and throw.


Video of the wildcat:
A video game afficcionado demonstrates wildcat variations on Madden '10
The Miami Dolphins first unveil the wildcat against the Patriots in 2008
A more detailed breakdown of the plays in the 2008 Dolphins-Patriots game

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