This is a page on leopard cat facts written for children and people who like straightforward English.
The leopard cat is a species of wild cat. “Species” means a sort or type of wild cat that is different enough from the other 35 wild cats to make it a separate species. This cat is not related to the much larger leopard. It does, though, look a bit like a miniature leopard. It is about the same size as a domestic cat. The name given to it by people who know the cat well (scientists) is Prionailurus bengalensis. This is written in the ancient language of Latin. Scientists like to do that as it makes them look clever.
Where It Lives
The leopard cat can be found over the largest part of Asia of all the small wild cats. It is one of the most common small wild cats. It lives from Afghanistan all the way up to the east coastal area of Russia in the north, which is where the Siberian tiger and Amur leopard lives too. The map in the picture shows you this large area.
The sort of places that this cat likes to live in varies a lot depending on where it is. It can live in tropical forests, dry coniferous forest, on farms and islands. They do well living on farmed land where there are rubber plantations, for example. In Russia it is colder and there is snow. It finds it difficult to walk on snow that is more than 10 centimeters deep (about 4 inches deep). “Dry coniferous forest” is a dry forest of trees that lose their leaves in the autumn (fall). This cat likes dense forest.
What It Looks Like
The photographs show you a lot. This is a spotted cat. The background color is “tawny” on the top and sides, and white on the underneath. “Tawny” is a yellowish brown color. The markings on the face are high contrast between black and white. The Chinese people call this cat the “money cat” because the spots look like Chinese coins.
How It Behaves
The leopard cat is active during the day and night. They are not just nocturnal like some cats. They are excellent tree climbers and spend time in trees. They can hunt for rodents in trees. The tree shrew in the picture is an example. It will avoid the much larger leopard as this cat will try and catch and eat the leopard cat.
I have mentioned the tree shrew. In the Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary in Thailand they mainly eat mice. This cat eats a large number of different animals such as rodents, lizards, frogs and other amphibians, birds and insects. They will also eat eggs and grass. As they can live on farms sometimes they will hunt farm animals such as chickens. This makes the farmers angry and they kill the cat if they can.
What Are The Dangers to The Leopard Cat?
I have already said that the leopard hunts the leopard cat. Also people in China and other countries have killed this cat for its pretty fur or for food. Also some people catch this cat and tame it to make it a domestic cat. The places where it lives, forests, are cut down. Also sometimes this cat mates with domestic cats. This means that the kittens are not pure leopard cats but “hybrids” (half wild cat and half domestic cat).
Although thousands are lost in these ways, the total number of leopard cats in the world is staying the same at the moment.
The well known domestic cat called the “Bengal Cat” is a wild cat hybrid. It is a mixture of domestic cat and leopard cat. You can read about the Bengal cat for kids by clicking on this link.