The fishing cat is a small but powerful looking species of wild cat. “Species” means a certain type or sort of wild cat that is different from the others. Many wild cats catch and eat fish but the fishing cat does it more than others and is named after this skill. The toes of its front paws are webbed. It is one 10 wild cats that lives in a part of the world called “Southeast Asia”.
People who live in the same area as the fishing cat sometimes kill this cat because it looks strong and like a much bigger cat. In fact, it is about twice the size of a domestic cat. It weighs 11 – 26 pounds (5-12 kilograms). The face has black and white lines running from the eyes over the head. The black lines are in fact joined up spots. There are back lines on its cheeks either side of white fur. The fur is a mousy grey. On the body it is covered in dark spots. The tail is short and is used as a rudder when swimming.
The fishing cat lives near water where there are lots of places to hide such as mangrove swamps and marshes. These places are called “wetlands”. These places are in Southeast Asia. The countries where the cat lives are: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Island of Java, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. It may also be in Pakistan but we are not sure. The map shows a small area in Pakistan. You can see that it does not live throughout all these countries. It lives in quite small areas in some countries.
The fishing cat will dive into water and swim after fish. It grabs them in its mouth. The cat hunts mainly at night. Sometimes it will use a branch as a diving board to dive into the water to catch fish. Another way it catches fish is to tap the surface of the water which attracts them and it then scoops the fish out with its paw. This cat also eats frogs, snakes, crabs and shellfish. It will also swim under water to catch ducks. The fishing cat also hunts and kills quite large animals that live on the ground such as chital fawns (a young deer). The cat plucks the feathers from large birds it catches.
The male fishing cat needs an area of about 20 square kilometers (8 square miles) to live in.
Both males and females chuckle. This is a special type of call. Kittens sometimes make a chirrup-type calling sound. This sounds like a bird. Adults make a gurgling sound.
Cats mate in January and February. The mother fishing cat is pregnant for 63-70 days. Litter size is 2-3 kittens. They are adult in eight and a half months.
People are a danger to this cat.
People destroy the wetlands. This prevents the cat living there. They are destroyed because people drain the water out of them so they can live and farm there. Also people pollute the wetlands making impossible for this cat to live there. Also people fish too much in the ares where this cat fishes. This leaves no fish for the cat. People trap and poison animals which includes this cat. The number of fishing cats in the world is going down because of these things. We don’t know how many are left. The number if fishing cats in the wild could be much less than people think. The situation is not good for this cat.