Whether it’s a strike or an oil well, the word wildcat describes anything that is considered risky and has a good chance of failing.
It comes from a time before regulations when state banks like the Bank of Michigan issued their own money.
That bank’s notes had a panther on the face and were called “wildcats.”
When the bank went down, so did a lot of fortunes.
From then on, all high-risk ventures were described as wildcats.