Do Asian leopard cats purr?

Asiatic leopard cat

Asiatic leopard cat camera-trapped in Tangkulap Forest Reserve, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Photo: A. Mohamed & A. Wilting/IZW, SFD, SWD.

Yes, the leopard cat or Asiatic leopard cat purrs. The vocal repertoire of this small wild cat includes the typical growl, hiss, spit, meow, purr and gurgle. However the leopard cat’s versions of these typical (except for the gurgle) domestic cat sounds are different to the ones with which we are familiar. They always are for the small wild cat species. They are certainly sharper and more violent except for the purr which is universally soft and melodious.

All these vocalisation are used at close range and are associated with friendly or aggressive encounters.

Leopard cats also communicate through urine and faeces marking, scrapes (visual marks) and depositing scent from their heads. In captivity both male and female spray urine. Faeces are scattered or buried.

As you can see the leopard cat makes sounds which care similar to those of the domestic cat. But don’t think that this means that thy behave like domestic cats (unless they are throughly socialised). Even if socialised I’d expect the independent-minded leopard cat to be a poor cat companion.

I know that F1 Bengal cat wild cat hybrids make poor pets (leopard cat x domestic cat). If you are considering getting one as a pet, please don’t. They don’t make good pets and it is bad for conservation. These cats are in decline in the wild in my opinion although the IUCN Red List states at the last time of their assessment on 20 May 2014 that their population was stable. I argue that the IUCN Red List are poor in assessing the survivability of the wild species.


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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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