Asian Leopard Cat

Asian Leopard Cat
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Asian leopard cat – Photo copyright F. Spangenberg

This article is split into several sections for technical reasons with links at the base of each section to the next.

Overview

The “leopard cat” as it is more commonly called is one of the most commonly found wild cat species. It is an Asian wild cat that lives across a wide range of Southeast Asia. It lives habitat from scrublands to semi-deserts. Its range extends from the far east of Russian and North Korea in the north to Java in the south. It weighs about 6 to 8 pounds (2.7-3.6 kgs) and feeds on small mammals, reptiles, insects, birds, fish, deer fawns and grass. It is itself prey to the much larger common leopard. The Chinese call this wild cat species the “money cat” because the spots look like coins.

The leopard cat is possibly the best known small wild cat because it is the wild cat half of the domestic cat hybrid, the very popular Bengal cat. This puts this cat in a rare position in respect of peoples’ attitude towards wild cats. This though is not the only wild cat to parent a domestic cat. You can see the other wild cat hybrids on this page: Wild Cat Hybrids.

In general the Asian leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) is not that dissimilar to the domestic Bengal which is to be expected of course and it is certainly what the breeders aim for! However, the Asian leopard cat is somewhat longer in body and leg length. This makes it an excellent and natural climber and very athletic. Length is 25″ to 32″ and weight 5.5 to 22 lbs max. (see below). The head is quite small in comparison to the rest of the body, with large eyes and a longish muzzle it seems to me.

See more at leopard cat description and leopard cat picture

Asian leopard cat

The size of the Asian leopard cat, though, depends on its location:

LocationSize
Southeast Asia2.5 kg (5.5 lbs)
Russia (two record heavy weight cats, however)8.2 and 9.9 kg – this is good Maine Coon cat size – see Largest Domestic Cat Breed


 
Cats that live in the north, although larger put on weight before the onset of winter and then lose it over the course of the winter. Leopard cats can overeat and become fat.

The coat texture is soft and coat colour also depends on the location:

LocationCoat Colour
NorthPale silvery grey, long full coats
SouthOchre-yellow, brownish and darker


 
The coat markings vary considerably (the same can be said for the domestic Bengal cat). Usually, the ground colour or background colour is tawny and the underside of the cat is white. Essentially the cat is a spotted tabbycat with very impressive, high contrast, facial markings. These are the kind of markings that cat breeders aim for in the domestic Bengal cat.

Part of the bodyPattern
BackSometimes 2-4 rows of long spots
TailSpotted and rings near the tip
HeadSee kitten below: 2 distinct dark lines that extend from the inner corner of each eye backwards, with less distinct markings in between. Striking white areas add contrast.
EarsBacks of ears are black with a white ocelli spot.
asian leopard cat

The above photograph published under an Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. The original has been cropped. Photo by Viper76

The Asian leopard cat likes water and swims well and accordingly has webbed feet. They have a liking for water that has been passed down to the domestic Bengal cat. Many Bengal cat owners speak of their cat jumping into the bath or shower and there are many videos of Bengal cats in water! The book The Wild Cats of the World recites the story of an Asian leopard cat that swam out to a boat in the Bay of Bengal, where it was captured!

8 thoughts on “Asian Leopard Cat”

  1. All that I want, is a purebred Asian Leopard Cat ,….in the 9 1/2, 10 to pound range, for a ((pet))! I already have a Bangel and he has been a pet for about (14) years, so I know a ‘Bangle’, being called an Asian Leopard Cat, in my sleep, lol, lol. Both of my Cousins have Female Mountain Lions, as pets and one frequently lets his kids play around them, etc. No, I don’t want the ‘lecture’ about it,my mom also has a Tabby/Bobcat, from Tucson and I’m not going to tell you where the ornery brat’s at! All that I want is a ((purebred Asian Leopard Cat Cub or young Male)). any volunteers???????????????????????

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