Here are some weight spreads and average weights of sand cats living in Russia, Pakistan, Egypt, Algeria. A nice range of countries.
All weights are in kilograms. To convert to pounds multiply by 2.205.
- Of the 12 male sand cats in Russia the weight range was 2.1-3.4.
- Five females in Russia weighed 2.2 with a weight spread of 1.35-3.1.
- Four males in Pakistan averaged 2.78 with spread of 2.0-3.2.
- Two males in Egypt weighed 2.1 and 2.7.
- One female in Algeria weighed 2.06.
For comparison the average domestic cat weighs around 4.5. The sand cat is often around half the weight of a domestic cat. They are also smaller than the African wildcat and the jungle cat. There are five wild cats smaller than the sand cat: oncilla, kodkod, flat-headed cat, rusty-spotted cat. The last listed is the world’s smallest.
They have a stocky build with short legs, large ears and a relatively long tail. The ears are set low on the side of the head to help avoid detection by prey animals and predators. The pinnae (ear flaps) are large as they rely heavily on detecting the sound of prey animals.
It has long dense fur between its toes to protect from the hot sand and to act as a cushion as the fur covers the paw pads. The claws are attached to a retractile mechanism like all cats (the cheetah’s are partly sheathed) but the mechanism is relatively poor due to a life on sand.
The tracks of a sand cat are hard to follow because the fur obscures the paw pads. The tracks look similar to those of a fennec fox due to the partially protruding claws.
They are adapted to desert life and the only true desert cat. Click the image below for an article on sand cat facts for kids.
References: W.G. Heptner and A.A. Sludskii in Mammals of the Soviet Union 1992 (Russian sand cats), T.J Roberts in The Mammals of Pakistan 1977 (Pakistan sand cats), P. Schauenberg in Donnees novelles sur chat des sables Felis margarita 1858 (Pakistan and Algeria sand cats), S.M Goodman and I Helmy in The sand cat Felis margarita 1986 (Egypt).
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