Rusty Spotted Cat

The rusty-spotted cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus) is one of the cat family’s smallest members, of which historical records are known only from India and Sri Lanka

The rusty-spotted cat is the smallest wild cat in Asia and rivals the black-footed cat as the world’s smallest wild cat.

The distribution of the rusty-spotted cat is relatively restricted. It occurs mainly in moist and dry deciduous forests as well as scrub and grassland, but is likely absent from evergreen forest. It prefers dense vegetation and rocky areas.

The primary habitat of this world’s smallest cat, found only in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka are moist and dry deciduous forest types as well as in scrub and grassland. Rusty-spotted cats prefer dense vegetation and rocky areas but have been found amidst agricultural areas and human settlements. It is 35 to 48 cm (14 to 19 in) in length, with a 15 to 30 cm (5.9 to 11.8 in) tail, and weighs only 0.9 to 1.6 kg (2.0 to 3.5 lb). The short fur is grey over most of the body, with rusty spots over the back and flanks, while the underbelly is white with large dark spots. The darker colored tail is thick and about half the length of the body, and the spots are less distinct. There are six dark streaks on each side of the head, extending over the cheeks and forehead. The Rusty-spotted Cat is listed as a Schedule I species under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 of India and is classified as ‘Near Threatened’ under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Past studies and historic records have shown that the Rusty-spotted Cat ranges from Tamil Nadu in the south to Jammu & Kashmir in north, through Madhya Pradesh in central India to Gujarat in the west and Odisha in the east.