The jungle cat is a small species of wild cat. “Species” means a certain type or sort of wild cat that is different from the others. Although, it looks like a domestic cat, it is a bit larger than a domestic cat and it has longer legs. It lives across a wide part of the world as you can see from the map on this page, going from Egypt in the west to Vietnam in the east.
The ancient Egyptians may have tamed this cat thousands of years ago. We know they tamed the African wild cat. Both were useful in catching rats and snakes. It is sometimes called “swamp cat” or “reed cat”.
What It Looks Like
The coat is plain and not spotted. The color is a sandy brown to tawny grey. “Tawny” is a sort of brown color. The coat has a salt and pepper look. The fur on the underside of the body is lighter. There is a slightly lighter band of fur going from the nose up over the forehead and on either side of this band is a faint dark line. There is white fur above the mouth. The back of the ears are reddish-brown.
Where It lives
Although the places where it lives are getting smaller, the cat can be found over a wide area as shown on the map. It can be found in all of India. In other countries it is found in parts of those countries. It lives in many countries some of which are: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Iran, Egypt, Myanmar (Burma), Turkey and Vietnam.
It likes to live in swampy areas and areas where there are reeds. “Reeds” are a tall grass-like plant in wet places. Swampy areas are also wet places. Although, in fact, they can live in quite high places in the Himalayas (large range of mountains) and in drier areas.
This cat has been seen hunting in daytime, mainly at dusk and dawn. They also hunt at night when they can cover about 6 kilometers looking for prey (almost 4 miles). Prey is the animals that it hunts, catches, kills and eats. In the middle of the day they rest in the reeds or other safe place.
This cat catches its prey by stalking it just like your domestic cat. They can run faster than a domestic cat though at around 32 kilometers per hour. It also leaps up into air to catch birds like the caracal. And like the serval it makes bold leaps over the ground onto prey.
It prefers to feed on rodents (mice, rats and gerbils) but also hunts snakes, hares, lizards, frogs and even insects. Sometimes it will attack and kill a young deer.
We are not sure of the sounds it makes. We believe that it lives alone but joins with a female to mate and produce kittens.
It mates with a female in the same way as a domestic cat. The mother cat is pregnant for 63-66 days. The month when mating is likely to take place depends on where the cats lives and climate (the weather and seasons of a part of the world).
There are normally 3 kittens but sometimes as many as 6. At about nine months of age the young jungle cats are on their own.
Unlike most small wild cats the jungle cat does breed well in zoos. They live to about 10 years of age.
What is a Danger to the Jungle Cat?
People destroy the wetlands where this cat likes to live. This prevents the cat from living. People also kill animals in areas where the jungle cat lives and it gets killed as well. People kill animals by poisoning and trapping them. Lots were killed for their skins. They are now protected but some people in India and Egypt still kill this cat for its fur. Finally farmers sometimes kill the jungle cat because it attacks their chickens. There are less and less jungle cats in the world every year.