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The Leopard Cat

The Leopard Cat, Prionailurus Bengalensis, is a small cat native to many areas in Asia.  It is about the size of a large domestic cat. They weigh up to about 8 Kg, which is the size of our largest pussy cat, Little Milo.  Little Milo’s mother, Liberty, weighs about 3 Kg which is around the weight of a small Leopard Cat.  None of our cats are overweight.  Liberty was abandoned when we got her.  We can only speculate about the size of Little Milo’s father.

Range and Habitat

The Leopard Cat is the most widely distributed of all the Asian wild cats, being found in most of the countries from Pakistan in the West to the Philippines in the East.

They will live in most natural Habitats in this area, and are starting to adapt to living with Humans.

Not surprisingly this species has split into several subspecies.  According to one classification there are 11 different subspecies.

Diet

This cat eats a large range of small animals including small mammals like Rats, Mice and small Rabbits, small birds, frogs, insects and fish.  Much of their hunting is on the ground, but they will also catch things in trees.

Fur Coats

The coat of the Leopard Cat is a bit like that of the Leopard, but, as with the Leopard, it is quite variable.

Least Concern

Officially this beautiful little cat is listed as being a species of least concern, but many people are alarmed at the way its numbers are decreasing.  In some areas, it is locally extinct or critically endangered.

Hunting

Leopard skin coats are now illegal, but people have found that very nice looking furs can be made from the Leopard Cat.  Huge numbers are being killed.  Although it is not in immediate danger of extinction, there is considerable worry about the rapidly diminishing numbers.

Hybrids

This little wild cat will cross with the domestic cat;Felis catus.  The female Kittens are fertile.  This is a way of getting the beautiful colouring of the Leopard Cat into house cats.  It has been found desirable to back cross to domestic cats, with selection of the Kittens, for four generations before keeping them in normal households. 

The breed formed this way is called the Bengal Cat.

This ability to breed outside its apparent species is typical of the cat family.  In fact it actually makes the cat family difficult to fit into the traditional definition of a species.

Although nice looking Pussy Cats have been produced this way, the demand for Leopard Cats for breeding is added to other problems this species has.  Responsible breeders do not take Leopard Cats from the Wild.

 


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