What do Pallas’s cats eat?

Their favorite food is pika. This small wild cat is also referred to as the manul (proper name) and the Pallas cat (incorrect). They feed largely on pikas (mouse hares), gerbils, voles, mouselike rodents and chukar partridge. They sometimes eat marmots and Tolai hares.

Pallas's Cat

Pallas’s Cat. Photo by Keven Law


Pikas weighing 100-400 grams appear to be their favourite food. In a survey a Pallas’s cat was found to have the remains of five Mongolian pikas in its stomach. This is not unusual.

A male Pallas’s cat had 16 Brandt’s voles in its stomach weighing a total of 410 grams. Another cat’s stomach contained the remains of 2 Daurian pikas, 1 Daurian hamster and 5 Brandt’s voles.


Pika. Image by Tim Ulama from Pixabay

In western Baikal (southern Siberia, Russia), an inspection of 502 scats (faeces) revealed the remains of pikas in 89 percent of them. In 44 percent there were the remains of small rodents, ground squirrels were in 3 percent and hares and birds in 2 percent each.

They also eat insects such as grasshoppers and lizards. Their prey is not dissimilar to that of the free-living domestic or feral cat cat. This is unsurprising as they are a similar size to the domestic cat.

Source: Wild Cats of the World and VG Heptner and AA Sludskii 1992 Mammals of the Soviet Union.

It is called Pallas’s cat because Peter Simon Pallas discovered the animal 1776. Its Latin name is Otocolobus manul.


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Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

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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