The Chinese man, Mr Huang, is seen holding what appears to be a cat with very strong markings and weighing about 15-20 pounds, on my estimate. This is a big pet cat it seems to me.
He says he bought the cat at a market in Binyang county in Guangxi province, as a pet. This indicates to me that the cat was stolen in the wild perhaps as a kitten (a cub) for sale in the market. This is not uncommon (trading in small wild cat species as pets). He also says that he killed the cat after a while because it was stealing the family food – charming.
The big discussion in China is what sort of cat is it? Some Chinese people say the cat is the endangered (in China) Asiatic leopard cat but Huang says he/she was a domestic cat. That may be the case, but how domesticated? Living in the home does not mean domesticated. A motivation for saying the cat was a domestic cat is that there may be a penalty for killing an endangered wild cat in China (unlikely but possible).
The coat pattern and markings are not those of a domestic cat. However, the size of this cat (on the face of it) is too large for a leopard cat. The leopard cat’s average weight it about 8 pounds. The heaviest listed of this species in Wild Cats of the World (the best book on the wild cat species) is about 17 pounds.
However, despite the size, my bet is that this is a leopard cat or possibly a hybrid leopard cat and domestic cat (in other words an F1 Bengal cat) based on the very strong markings – we don’t see the facial markings which would have helped a lot.
Although the leopard cat is fiercely independent and completely untameable and impossible to domesticate. Some Americans do keep them in enclosures and a woman in America, Keira Nguyen, kept, as a pet, a first filial leopard cat. She says it was very difficult looking after the cat, which was illegal in the state in which she lived (I have forgotten the state).
I am guessing that by the description (stealing food) that the cat was probably barely living with the family but in and around the family home. I would expect the cat to have been captive actually because if left to roam he/she would probably not have come back.
The fact that Huang appeared to have killed the cat without much compunction also indicates that he was not that close to the cat. This supports the idea that the cat was not domesticated in the conventional sense.
There are other small wild cat species in China which could fit this description: Asiatic golden cat (but too big to be this cat) and the Marbled cat (too small).
I have made a guesstimate. I could well be wrong.
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