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The domestic cat was first classified as Felis catus by Carl Linnaeus in the 10th edition of his Systema Naturae published in 1758.

Because of modern phylogenetics, domestic cats are usually regarded as another subspecies of the wildcat, F. silvestris.

This has resulted in mixed usage of the terms, as the domestic cat can be called by its subspecies name, Felis silvestris catus.

Wildcats have also been referred to as various subspecies of F. catus, but in 2003, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature fixed the name for wildcats as F. silvestris.

The most common name in use for the domestic cat remains F. catus, following a convention for domesticated animals of using the earliest (the senior) synonym proposed.

Sometimes, the domestic cat has been called Felis domesticus or Felis domestica, as proposed by German naturalist J. C. P. Erxleben in 1777, but these are not valid taxonomic names and have been used only rarely in scientific literature, because Linnaeus's binomial takes precedence.

A population of Transcaucasian black feral cats was once classified as Felis daemon (Satunin 1904) but now this population is considered to be a part of domestic cat.

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