This cat rivals the pike, which lives in southern Africa, as the smallest feline species in the world. Its wingspan ranges between 35 and 48 centimeters and it weighs just over 1 kg. It is found in the wild in the forests of Sri Lanka and southern India, where it is a species almost threatened by the destruction of its habitat.
Its mantle reminds, by its spots and stripes, that of the leopard. It is gray in color with rust-colored spots in adulthood. The abdomen is white with large, darker spots. At birth the spots on the loins and back are black. Do you want to know more about this curious feline species?
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Characteristics of the rusty cat
The Prionailurus rubiginosus or rusty cat is considered the smallest cat in the world, and is that its 48 centimeters in length and its 1.5 kg of weight show its miniscule size. In fact, it fits perfectly in the palm of any human’s hand. A characteristic that makes him very elusive and brave to survive.
|Origin Asia (Sri Lanka and India)|
|Weight from 1 to 1.5 kg males and 0.9 to 1.3 kg females|
|Short hair, very thick and soft. The body is gray with copper-colored stripes and spots reminiscent of a leopard’s mantle|
|Triangular head with 6 dark stripes on each side|
|Ears proportionate, well separated and pointed|
|Large, almond-shaped, blue, green, or amber eyes|
|Long and thin tail. It is usually about 15-30 centimeters, which is almost half its body length. It is of a darker hue|
|Estimated longevity of 8 to 12 years|
|Difficulty caring for it low|
Character and behavior of the rusty cat
These tiny cats are very elusive, hiding in caves or hollow tree trunks to avoid being preyed upon by larger predators, for example when they sleep. They like to stay in the trees and come down to the ground at night to hunt . They feed on small rodents and birds, as well as lizards, frogs, and insects.
During the day they sleep. They have a refined hunting technique and are very fast. They resort to urine marking and according to a recent study, carried out in the Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent (England) where they are bred in captivity, at birth they believe that they are tigers and they develop with great courage believing themselves larger than they are. What are they.
Care required by the rusty cat
There are barely 40 or 50 specimens of rusty cat in captivity. In the wild animal sanctuary of Porfell (United Kingdom), where abandoned animals go, they know it well. Although they are not actively involved in their breeding, as Kent’s Port Lympne Wild Park does , they have just seen two cubs born.
At the beginning of May of this 2020 the two pups of his pair of rusty cats were born. The reproductive cycle usually lasts about 5 days and gestation from 65 to 70 days. They usually give birth to 1 or 2 young. They reach sexual maturity at 68 weeks of age, when the spots on their body turn a rust color.
Rusty cat health
Life in nature can be tough. Rusty ones must stay hidden during sleeping hours and act quickly when hunting in order to feed. Therefore, they prefer to act at night when their main threats are sleeping.
Of the few specimens that exist in captivity, little is known about their pathologies, the most common causes of death or illness being injuries derived from their sets with other animals from the same habitat.
History of the breed and fun facts
The Prionailurus rubiginosus hails from southern India while the subspecies Prionailurus koladivinus and phillipsi inhabit the tropical forests of Sri Lanka. In India their distribution is not homogeneous and they are more present in grasslands, mountains and open forests. However, they have also been seen in Nepal.
They are close relatives of the leopard cat ( Prionailurus bengalensis ) in mainland India and the jungle cat ( Felis chaus ) in Sri Lanka. Since its continuity as a species is threatened, several British and Asian parks are carrying out their respective breeding programs to prevent its extinction with successful results.